One of San Luis Obispo County's oldest watering holes is back in business.
Sweet Springs Saloon in Los Osos re-opened its doors March 13 after an extensive remodel that included new bathrooms, new wood flooring, exposed ceiling beams and a more open-feeling bar area. Starting Friday, the bar is throwing a grand opening bash that includes free concerts, a food truck and karaoke.
Locals are already starting to rediscover Sweet Springs Saloon, general manager Mark Harding said. "Now it's time to let the rest of the county know."
A popular spot for cocktails and live music, Sweet Springs Saloon has sat at the corner of Los Osos Valley Road and Ninth Street in Los Osos for nearly 40 years.
ASH Management announced in July 2017 that it was purchasing the property. (With the sale, the company operates 11 bars and restaurants in the county, including Shell Beach Brewhouse, Mason Bar & Kitchen in Arroyo Grande and Bull's Tavern, Creeky Tiki and Frog & Peach Pub in San Luis Obispo.)
“We take pride in bringing some new character to these old places,” ASH Management president Bill Hales told The Tribune last summer.
Although regulars will recognize some changes at the newly renovated Sweet Springs Saloon — a mural has moved, the stage area is fully refurbished and "The bad smell is gone," Harding said — the spirit of the place remains the same.
"We didn't want to take away the charm that Sweet Springs had," Harding explained. "We basically cleaned it up and brought it back to where it should be — a local spot to hang out (that's) clean, comfortable, safe and ready to have fun."
Harding said the bar has also renewed its focus on its drinks menu. Current offerings include three wines, 10 beers on tap and 10 cocktails, including bloody marys, mules and mojitos.
Harding said Sweet Springs Saloon isn't serving food at this point, but added, "That's on the books."
"We're looking to have barbecues and live music most weekends," he said, in addition to karaoke on Tuesdays, pool tournaments on Wednesdays and open mic events on Sundays. (Shuffleboard is also back.)
The bar's grand opening celebration kicks off Friday night with a concert by local reggae band Resination.
Father-daughter duo Bobby and Rachel Santa Cruz will take the stage Saturday, followed by a solo show by Jason Cavallaro. Rachel Santa Cruz will also lead a special karaoke event on Sunday; participants can sing their favorite songs backed by a live band.
Los Osos' Grilled Cheese Incident food truck will be on site all weekend, Harding said.
Sweet Springs Saloon isn't the only San Luis Obispo County bar to undergo a major facelift in recent months. The historic Pozo Saloon will reopen May 5 after an extensive renovation.
Sweet Springs Saloon "was known for being one of the best bars in the county, and we want to re-establish that," Harding said.