Discover the Funk Zone

with fine art photographer Lindsey Ross
Photos and story by Amelia Fleetwood

Today, Santa Barbara’s eclectic Funk Zone neighborhood is a big draw for all those with a discerning palate and an eye for happenings. The 16-block radius — roughly between the beach and Highway 101 — is home to tasting rooms, restaurants, galleries, coffee shops, breweries, and boutiques. Once a busy industrial zone, the area consists of many old buildings and reclaimed warehouses that have been transformed.

Alchemistress-22 Lindsey standing outside Dart Coffee

When Lindsey Ross moved her photography studio to the Funk Zone in 2012, it was a quiet neighborhood, she recalls. “When I moved to the Funk Zone, it was a moment of Bohemian innocence. My artist friends lived across the train tracks. I would invite them over to take a portrait — this was while I was still refining my craft. Sometimes it would work out and sometimes it would not. The only people there most days were upholsterers, contractors, framers, woodworkers, landscapers, arborists, artists, and the fish market guys across the street. And there were my next-door neighbors who dried sea cucumbers.”

Lindsey’s best-loved Funk Zone stops:

1. Dart Coffee (above) The all-time best way to start my mornings before a long day in my studio is with a June Bug (lavender) Latte at Dart Coffee.”
Dart Coffee, 121 E Yanonali St.

2. Loquita Santa Barbara “My favorite sandwich is a jamón serrano con tomato with ‘crystal bread’ at Loquita, which serves farm-fresh Spanish tapas and craft cocktails.”
Loquita Santa Barbara, 202 State St.

Alchemistress-37The Lucky Penny is a great place for pizzas and pastries.

3. Lucky Penny (right top) “I love to walk from my place to meet a friend at the Lucky Penny, which is a cute combo pizzeria and coffeehouse that serves wood-oven pies & pastries. I always order The O.G. Pizza.”Lucky Penny, 127 Anacapa St.

4. McConnell’s Ice Cream “I love to stop off at McConnell’s Ice Cream on State Street before I head to the beach.”
McConnell’s Ice Cream, 728 State St.(805) 324-4402

5. Catherine Gee Designs (right) “Catherine Gee Designs is just heaven. Their showroom is open by appointment at The Mill. Her designs are a timeless yet contemporary collection of strong pieces with elegant, modern lines. Everything there is so beautiful.”
Catherine Gee designs, 414 E Haley St.

6. Melville Wine Tasting Room “Melville Wine Tasting Room is located in the Hotel Californian at the edge of the Funk Zone. (It) offers a chic environment to enjoy small bites, a glass of sparkling wine or full tasting flight.”
Melville Wine Tasting Room, 120 State St. Suite C

7. Third Window Brewing Co. (right top) “I love the Third Window Brewery at The Mill. They have a great selection of beers and the food is really good!”
Third Window Brewery, 406 E Haley St. #3

8. SBCAST “SBCAST is a collective of artist studios and galleries on Garden Street, near Haley. I love the variety of artists who show in this space, and they also have great parties there!”
SBCAST, 513 Garden St.


9. The Arts Fund “I love to check out The Arts Fund, which is another great exhibition space in the Funk Zone. They always have a new exhibition each month, and support and organize the murals that I love, which are exhibited throughout the Funk Zone.”
The Arts Fund, 205-C Santa Barbara St.

10. Music: The Bowl, Lobero, and SOhO “For music, I am spoiled for choice; my favorite concerts all happen at the Santa Barbara Bowl, Lobero Theater, and SOHO. The Santa Barbara Bowl is a beautiful, classic venue that has attracted top musicians for decades. It has beautiful views of Santa Barbara, the Mesa, and the ocean from the top. The Lobero is a quaint theater on Canon Perdido, and always hosts a diverse selection of acts. SOHO is near State Street and Victoria and has live music every night of the week.”

“Over the last 10 years, I have seen it change and grow into a vibrant community full of things that I get to enjoy daily.”

Lindsey Ross