If you’re thirsty for craft drafts and hungry for upscale pub grub, Street Side Ale House fits the bill.
Located on El Camino Real in Atascadero, the restaurant opened in January after an extensive 10-month long remodel of two existing businesses: a wine bar and a day spa. The new setup features a bar area on one side and dining room on the other, with an overall look that’s open and cohesive. Weather permitting, you can also relax on the outdoor patio in back.
A polished concrete bar and corrugated tin siding give Street Side an industrial feel that’s tempered by warm wooden flooring and reclaimed wood walls. Ten flat-screen televisions throughout the restaurant assure that you’ll never miss the big game, though this isn’t a sports bar per se; you’ll hear music and conviviality rather than the play-by-play.
Street Side Ale House is a collaboration between longtime friends Eric Petersen, Trevor LaSalle, Chris Durkin and Taylor Rees. The four met in the early 2000s while working at A.J. Spurs restaurant in Templeton and stayed in touch throughout the ensuing years.
In 2008, Petersen and LaSalle opened Guest House Grill in Atascadero, which they still own. They wanted to add to the city’s dining scene further with Street Side.
“We think it’s a good step in the right direction towards helping to revitalize downtown,” LaSalle said.
Street Side has been well received by locals, especially those appreciative of craft beers and cocktails.
The bar boasts an impressive lineup of 25 taps. Fifteen are dedicated full-time to such beers as St. Archer Pale Ale, Hangar 24 Orange Wheat and Stone Delicious IPA. The remaining 10 are rotated on a regular basis, and “we always have two sours and two (beers) on nitro,” Rees said.
Specialty drinks include several versions of the Moscow Mule and the Old Fashioned, plus beer cocktails and flights of premium liquors. You can taste how Buffalo Trace bourbon matches up to Maker’s Mark, or compare Bombay Sapphire gin to Hendrick’s.
As for the food at Street Side Ale House, it’s a worthy match for the beverages. Often, the two go hand-in-hand, whether in the beer-battered fish and chips or desserts such as a freshly baked brownie topped with Belching Beaver Stout reduction sauce and an All Grown Up ice cream float made with Coney Island hard root beer.
Appetizers include chicken wings with housemade sauce and fresh cilantro, loaded mac ‘n’ cheese with jalapeños and bacon, and the popular Street Fries heaped with pepperoncini, smoked bacon, pepper jack cream, gorgonzola crumbles and rosemary.
Beef or pork sliders are three to an order, so they’re easy to share ... or not. The Street Side beef sliders come with grilled onions and balsamic reduction; the pulled pork is cooked down for about six hours before it gets a nice crisp on the flattop stove with some rendered bacon fat.
Entrées range from a burger with smoked Gouda cheese to a lamb burger with feta and arugula, from a Cubano sandwich to a Reuben, from an all-beef hot dog with chipotle Thousand Island dressing to slow-roasted herbed chicken.
Recent menu additions include a fried snapper sandwich and a picante raspberry burger; the latter features an inventive, tasty combo of goat cheese, arugula and jalapeño/raspberry jam.
On the lighter side of the Street Side menu are curry lettuce wraps with tofu and pickled vegetables, housemade ceviche and tacos with carnitas, carne asada or snapper. Or go for salads featuring pulled chicken on chopped romaine lettuce or chimichurri flank steak atop mixed greens and bell pepper.
“We’re making everything we can from scratch — salad dressings, sauces, slaws,” Durkin said.
What the kitchen staff doesn’t make is sourced from high quality purveyors such as Edna’s Bakery in San Luis Obispo; sandwich breads and brioche burger buns are delivered daily.
With such a focus on craft beverages, Durkin said, “We knew we had to have elevated pub food to match up to it.”
Katy Budge is a freelance writer from Atascadero. Contact her at email@example.com.
Street Side Ale House
Hours: Kitchen open daily 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; bar 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday. (Street Side will be opening earlier on Sundays for football season.)
The scene: Bring the family or enjoy low-key sports watching at this lively neighborhood ale house.
The cuisine: The upscale pub grub more than holds its own against craft cocktails and 25 draft beers, 10 of which rotate on a regular basis.
Expect to spend: Appetizers $6 to 11, entrées and salads $10 to 20; draft beer pints start at $5. The weekday happy hour, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., offers $2 off appetizers and all bar drinks, except beer tasters.