Restaurant News & Reviews

SLO pub Spike’s is closing after 38 years — giving way to wood-fired pizza

‘End of an era’: Hear a regular talk about the closing of Spike’s Pub in SLO

Spike’s Pub in San Luis Obispo, California, is closing on Higuera Street in May 2019. SLO catering company Bear and The Wren will open a new restaurant in the former beer bar location in the Creamery.
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Spike’s Pub in San Luis Obispo, California, is closing on Higuera Street in May 2019. SLO catering company Bear and The Wren will open a new restaurant in the former beer bar location in the Creamery.

A San Luis Obispo beer pub is closing after 38 years in business — giving way to a restaurant that started life as a food truck.

Spike’s Pub will be replaced by Bear and the Wren at 570 Higuera St. on June 3.

“I’m excited to move on, but I’m sad because it’s been such a big part of my life,” Spike’s Pub owner Andrea Miller told The Tribune in a phone interview on Friday.

The pub’s final day of operations is slated for May 31.

On May 19, Miller said Spike’s will open early to customers who want to reminisce about their experiences at the pub. Miller said she is planning a “Kill the Cellar Day” on June 1 to sell the remainder of her inventory.

Spike’s Pub opened in 1981 in the Creamery Marketplace and has stayed in that location ever since. The American-style pub has a large selection of ciders and beer, with 35 beers on tap.

Miller has owned Spike’s since 2006, and became the bar’s sole owner in 2009.

After she gave birth to her daughter almost eight years ago, Miller said, the pair stopped at Spike’s before going home from the hospital. She and her daughter now joke that the pub was the girl’s first home.

After 13 years in the business, however, Miller said she is ready to have a job where she has time to tuck her daughter in at night.

Miller, who has taught at Cal Poly in the Natural Resources, Management & Environmental Sciences department since 2005, has been looking to retire from Spike’s Pub for the past two years and had two offers from businesses who fell through. She added that she’s happy to move on.

Before she does, however, there’s the matter of Spike’s Beers Around the World challenge. Customers are given a card with 40 selections of beer and once they have checked each beer off the list they sign the card or receive a plaque with their name on it to hang on the wall.

When she took over the business, Miller said, she received books worth of cards from people who had completed the challenge. Now, Miller said she is giving the cards and plaques back to those who were victorious.

“I feel like those aren’t Spike’s to keep,” Miller said. “ It’s the property of those who earned them.”

She said anyone who has recently completed a card will receive a T-shirt, even after Spike’s closes.

Meanwhile, Bear and the Wren will be taking Spike’s place in the Creamery Marketplace.

The catering company, owned and operated by Jason Barringer, is mostly known for its wood-fired, Neapolitan-style pizzas.

Up until now, Bear and the Wren has been an entirely mobile business, serving food out of a customized 1952 Cheverolet COE.

Reached by The Tribune on Friday, Barringer declined to comment on the new location.

Debbie Thomas of Thomas Hill Organics discusses the challenges of doing business in in downtown San Luis Obispo. She closed her restaurant after a year.

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