On Monday, we will reopen our four tasting rooms in San Diego and Santa Barbara Counties-- counties which began allowing onsite eating & drinking last week. To some, it feels like an appropriate time to do so. Others still need more time—and that’s OK. Fundamentally, we appreciate that facets of this situation can be intensely personal in nature, and responses can understandably run in different directions right now.

So first, to address why. We were an early recipient of the Payroll Protection Program, working with our lender to be nearly first in line for approval. This program genuinely made all the difference here in April and May. Combined with what I can only describe as an exceptional response to our online sales of beer and coffee for pickup by appointment, shipping, and delivery, we’ve made it through an unreal moment in time without laying off a single individual from Modern Times. However, as an early recipient, we’re also dropping out of the 8-week payroll protection at the beginning of June. Simply put, without reopening, we cannot support the half of our company that works in our tasting rooms and restaurants, not to mention the production and administrative staff who support their efforts. If we did not reopen, we would need to undergo a significant reduction in our workforce, sending about 100 co-owners of this employee-owned business out into the worst job market in modern history.

For our tasting rooms and restaurants in counties that have not reopened yet for on-premise consumption, we will continue to offer beer and coffee for pickup by reservation, as well as whatever shipping/delivery privileges you’ve seen us employ through the last few months.

But for those able to reopen, we’ve spent the better part of two months preparing to do so as safely and as thoughtfully as possible. We’ve crafted and refined an 11-page internal guidance for our servers, bartenders, merch mongers, and host staff. We’ve adopted a whole host of new practices, including temperature checks, PPE, and—of course—obsessive hand washing. We’ve re-arranged our physical settings, we will temporarily move to a cashless environment, and we will encourage guests to use digital menus to minimize physical contact.

On your end, should you decide that now’s a good time for you to join us again as a guest on-site, we’ve boiled down the STATE rules you need to know and follow to three primary considerations:

  1. Social distancing, please. Six feet apart from other groups. Group size is limited to six people.
  2. You must order a meal to enjoy alongside your beverages. State rules, for now.
  3. Guests must be in a seat while onsite, the state is not allowing guests to stand. If you're not in a seat, you must have your mask on. That goes for ordering, waiting, and bathroom breaks. Again, those are the rules, and they are non-negotiable.

We’ll be strictly enforcing these rules, for your benefit as a guest as much as ours as your hosts. Rest assured, our co-owners have been empowered to kindly ask guests not in compliance with the rules to leave.

If you choose to join us, you will see a group of people taking the rules seriously – likely more seriously than some other places you’ve visited after reopening. Doing so is a reflection of the seriousness with which we take your decision to venture out and join us for a meal and a beer or two during this strange moment in time, as well as how much we value the safety of our staff. We appreciate it, as much as we appreciate that not everyone’s ready to make a public appearance just yet.

Should you find our efforts to maintain safety protocols and enforce the rules handed down by the state lacking or if you have any other feedback, here’s how you can reach our tasting room managers:

San Diego Area: Sarah Devine (General Manager) sarahdevine @ moderntimesbeer.com
Santa Barbara: Julia Macadams (General Manager) juliamcadams @ moderntimesbeer.com

So, whether we see you again Monday, a month from Monday, or after that – we’ll look forward to it. As always, please be excellent (and patient) with our staff while we all get our legs under us in this new normal, and be excellent to each other as well. Extraordinary kindness goes a long way in extraordinary times.

Thank you.

Chris Sarette
Modern Times Drinks Inc.


Reopening Hours for Point Loma, North Park, Encinitas, and Santa Barbara as of 6/1:

Lomaland Fermentorium & North Park Flavordome:
Mon-Sun: 12pm-10pm

Lomaland Cafe:
Wed-Sun: 12pm-6pm

Encinitas Far West Lounge:
Mon-Sun: 11am-10pm

Santa Barbara Academy of Recreational Science:
Sun-Thurs: 12pm-8pm
Fri-Sat: 12pm-10pm