NORTH COUNTY — Dunbar Brewing owner Chris Chambers is getting into a routine of moving operations a little further up El Camino Real every few years.
Specializing in Irish, English and Scottish ales — served cold, thank you — the brewmaster gave fans in Santa Margarita notice about three months ago that the public house was headed north to Atascadero.
“It’s only eight miles. Really we’re closer to some of our regulars here,” he said, just before unloading a pick-up bed full of the bar’s stools and chairs.
An Army veteran with some practiced stoicism to spare, he said he was keeping a few secrets ahead of a planned unveiling of the new venue at 5855 El Camino Real in Atascadero on July 1, with the same hours as in Santa Margarita. That date was later pushed to mid-July, after the midweek holiday.
He may not have been particularly emotive during the move but on social media, he did tell all of his former locals that, “while it is sad for me that I will no longer be in Santa Margarita, I am excited for this new venture in Atascadero. Santa Margarita has been great to me and it has been a pleasure serving our community for the last 11 years.”
It was time, he added, after the last six years of changes in operations and investment in the old watering hole.
“This space,” Chambers said while standing in the former home of Camozzi’s Saloon, “came to me as an empty box. It's about 200 sq. ft. smaller than [the space in Santa Margarita] but feels larger. A lot more efficient.”
Behind the tartan flag masking the front window, bearing the old Dunbar seal with Santa Margarita printed at the bottom, a new platform is having the finishing touches put on it for the brewery’s fermenter tanks to be installed.
“There’s a lot to finish and only a week from yesterday to get it done in,” he adds, noting that after the last day’s party June 23 at Santa Margarita they moved the wood that serves as the bar itself.
Aside from the change in scenery, the business has also had a new logo for the last few months, a knight’s helmet on a black background inside a white circle. There’s also a social media changeover to @Dunbar Brewing Atascadero on Facebook and Instagram.
“The move to Atascadero has been a long time coming,” Chambers added, noting that talks with City Planning had taken their share of his time and energy.
With production suspended through the change over in equipment and licensing locations, he plans to be open with a selection of special guest beers.
Normal hours are 3 to 10 p.m. weekdays and 1 p.m. To midnight weekends.