SLO Brew, the iconic downtown San Luis Obispo bar and music venue, is scheduled to shift locations in mid-2015, but on a smaller scale than originally planned. The business owners are also in the process of dissolving their partnership.
After a contentious approval process in 2012—when members of the public-advocacy group Save Our Downtown protested SLO Brew’s new, expanded location—SLO planning commissioners unanimously approved new plans, which were upheld on appeal by the SLO City Council on Nov. 20 of that year.
- RENDERING COURTESY OF SLO BREW AND BRACKET ARCHITECTURE OFFICE
- OFF LIMITS: A previously planned rooftop dining area has been scrapped from plans for the new SLO Brew due to cost overruns from the building’s retrofit.
The approved plans called for a two-story bar, restaurant, and music venue, with an additional rooftop patio dining area, with the business relocating from its existing location on Garden Street in downtown SLO to Higuera Street. But after a long-stalled retrofit of the new location and cost overruns, the new location will be confined to one floor with front- and rear-facing patios.
According to co-owner Hamish Marshall, the new SLO Brew will continue to offer music, but the second floor will be used for residential and office facilities, and the rooftop has been scrapped. He told New Times that the cost of retrofitting the new location was 40 to 50 percent more than anticipated.
“We will not have the roof deck, and we won’t have the second floor,” Marshall said. “I think we’ve been stalled out there for a while but it’s not closing and it’s not dead. … We had to revamp. We’re still excited about it, it’s going to be a great facility; it will still offer as much if not more than we already have.”
However, that new facility will go on without co-owner Todd Newman, who confirmed that he and Marshall are in the process of dissolving their partnership. Newman said he will no longer have a stake in SLO Brew after the move, and he’s in the process of creating a new business venture to bring music acts to SLO.
Marshall said Newman will continue with the business until June 2015.
Though the project scope will change, Marshall said the existing plans still stand for the first floor, rear patio and beer garden, and front patio. He added that the second floor plans were changed because the retrofits required to accommodate as many as 650 people were too cost prohibitive.
SLO Community Development Deputy Director Doug Davidson told New Times that the city hadn’t seen any new plans, and he couldn’t comment on the project.