What it is: Ancient Owl is a clever, low-profile, outdoor-focused beer garden and bar (with a small bottle shop) smack dab in downtown Atascadero, right next to the delicious Colony Deli. Using that chic shipping-container construction aesthetic and a design sensibility that blends interior and exterior spaces, Ancient Owl feels comfortable and modern at the same time. From a look at the menu, you can tell they know and love beer.
Why it’s great: There are plenty of places to get great beer on the Central Coast, but most of those places are breweries. Ancient Owl taps into the enthusiast’s need to explore close to home, with a rotating lineup of beers across styles—with an admitted bias toward hoppy beers; this is the West Coast, after all—all wrapped in a tightly curated tap and bottle list that prizes quality first. Their focus isn’t beer that’s the farthest afield, but breweries that are just far enough away that a quick trip isn’t possible, making this contemporary beer garden a great stop for locals and beer tourists alike.
Hours: 11 a.m.–8 p.m., Sunday; 11 a.m.–9 p.m., Monday–Thursday; 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Friday–Saturday
Address: 6090 El Camino Real, Suite C, Atascadero, California