Restaurant News & Reviews

SLO Brew served alcohol to a minor, state says. Now the bar is changing its name, look

SLO Brew is re-branding with a new name and a new look when it reopens following an alcohol license suspension.

The downtown San Luis Obispo bar and restaurant plans to re-open at 736 Higuera St. on Sept. 10 under the name The Carrisa by SLO Brew, company co-founder Hamish Marshall said. The business will also feature redesigned decor and new dining service hours.

An underage drinking incident led to the 20-day suspension of the business’ alcohol license this summer.

Marshall said SLO Brew challenged the violation with the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control for about two years after the incident took place.

“We were accused of serving to an underage person, but we didn’t,” Marshall told The Tribune. “We served alcohol to an individual of age, and that person handed a drink to the underage person. That’s what happened and that’s what was on camera. It’s a hard one and a gray area.”

Marshall said that, after significant discussion with the agency, SLO Brew agreed to accept the suspension, which began on July 18 and ended Aug. 6. The bar shut its doors July 18 and remained closed as of Wednesday.

SLO Brew002
SLO Brew rebranding as The Carissa at SLO Brew. Laura Dickinson

Whatever the situation, Marshall said the business is ultimately the business’ responsibility to make sure underage customers aren’t consuming alcohol.

But during its suspension, Marshall said the company used the closure to begin its re-branding work that has been planned for nearly a year.

The name change and re-brand pays homage to the Central Coast, Marshall said, as well as the name of the building SLO Brew inhabits, the Carrisa Building.

Marshall is also a partner in the new Hotel Cerro project coming in, which includes a distillery.

Marshall said the new look of The Carrisa by SLO Brew will include some new furniture arrangements, along with a recently completed outdoor deck that opened just before the suspension-related closure.

No structural changes to the building are taking place, he said.

Food service will be available seven days per week, Marshall said. Before, food service was six days per week, he said, with the kitchen closed on Mondays.

Dinner will be served until 11 p.m., as opposed to 9 p.m. previously, “taking advantage of the creekside location,” he said.

“The downtown is at the precipice of really, really positive change in the works,” Marshall said. “We’re lucky enough to be a part of it.

“SLO Brew is one of the longest standing businesses in the downtown core. We want to help grow the downtown and lead the way to do the best we can do to offer the SLO experience.”

The business posted on its Instagram page that it’s hiring. To apply, email your resume to

Related stories from San Luis Obispo Tribune

Nick Wilson covers the city of San Luis Obispo and has been a reporter at The Tribune in San Luis Obispo since 2004. He also writes regularly about K-12 education, Cal Poly, Morro Bay and Los Osos. He is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara and UC Berkeley and is originally from Ojai.