We may be biased, but we live in a fantastic state of beer—California. Sure, we all know that you can find amazing breweries around the Bay Area, in Los Angeles, or in San Diego. And, of course, top-notch wine in Napa. But what we love doing is getting out to those little-known places like Sacramento or Rancho Cordova, discovering the hidden drinking gems of California. Firestone Walker recently invited us down for their incredible Invitational, so Hop Culture Social Media Manager Magic Muncie, Next Glass CPO Kyle Roderick, and I thought we’d make a weekend of it, checking out all the best places to eat and drink in Paso Robles.

Set amongst rolling hills halfway between Southern and Northern California, Paso Robles made a name for itself with some of the most celebrated wineries in the state.

Yes, we said wineries. Sure, Napa Valley gets all the attention, but for those who don’t know, the Central Coast has some of its own top-rated fermented-grape producers. Nestled between coastal Highway 1 and Highway 101, Paso Robles is considered a wine country with a bit of Tex-Mex flair.

As Travel Paso writes on its website, Paso Robles is “a community of cowboys and innovators; it’s where world-class food, wine, and art meets small-town charm.”

From one of the most iconic breweries in the nation to some of the highest-rated wineries in the world, we discovered the rare finds in this rare wine and craft beer city.

Here’s what we drank and ate in our forty-eight(ish) hours in California’s wine country.

Friday: Late Morning / Early Afternoon: Fill Up at Institutions

After a three-and-a-half-hour drive, we arrived in Paso Robles, needing some serious sustenance. So we did what all good, hungry tourists do: We asked the person who checked us into the hotel, Jen, where we should go.

Joe’s Place

305 Spring St, Paso Robles, CA 93446 | (805) 238-5637

joe's place paso robles
Photography courtesy of Grace Lee-Weitz | Hop Culture

10:00 AM Fill up, Fuel up – Jen wasn’t the only one who recommended Joe’s Place. When asked about their favorite breakfast spot, almost every Uber driver we encountered answered the same: Joe’s Place.

Walking inside Joe’s Place, you immediately feel this is the town’s local diner. Sit anywhere, and you can see the kitchen pass behind a counter with several bar stools.

All along the walls, you’ll find Armed Forces memorabilia, a tribute to Joe’s son and father who joined the military—something we learned after chatting with our waitress, who also told us that the diner’s iconic gorilla mascot comes from Joe’s love of the animal.

joe's place paso robles
Photography courtesy of Grace Lee-Weitz | Hop Culture

Dishes like chicken fried steak, combo plates with french toast and pancakes, and egg dishes called “Scramblers” are sure to stick to your ribs.

As we left, a couple came in, known by name. They sat down, and immediately, plates of Caesar salad appeared before them. You could tell they were regulars, just like almost everyone else in the place.

Go to Joe’s Place for down-home cooking that feels like you’re in someone’s home.

Learn More

Firestone Walker Visitor Center, Brewery, and Tour

1400 Ramada Dr, Paso Robles, CA 93446 | (805) 296-7454

firestone walker brewing company beer before glory ipa mixed pack featuring luponic distortion, california ipa, union jack, and hopnosis west coast ipa
Photography courtesy of Firestone Walker Brewing Company

11:00 AM Take a Tour of an Icon – You can’t visit Paso Robles without going to the birthplace of Firestone Walker, one of the most iconic breweries in the country.

Like many of today’s best craft breweries, Firestone Walker had humble beginnings.

David Walker and his co-founder, Alex Firestone, started the brewery in 1996 with one goal. “Our expectations were simply to make beautiful beer for a small winemaking community we were part of,” says Walker in another piece for Hop Culture. “Our early days were spent brewing beer in a barrelhouse on a forty-acre Chardonnay vineyard; we cobbled together brewing equipment that wove wine tanks, dairy tanks, and used brewing equipment into a primitive brewing operation.”

In the beginning, Walker and Firestone wanted to make great barrel-fermented beer.

But as the early 2000s crested, consumer palates did, too. Firestone Walker had to expand into IPAs, lagers, stouts, and one-offs. Over the years, each time the brewery decided to dip its toe into non-barrel-fermented beer, it stayed at the vanguard of that style.

Like with Union Jack, Firestone Walker’s version of a West Coast-style IPA set the tone for the entire modern movement. Named after its two British co-founders, Firestone Walker’s Union Jack is a beer for any hophead. Packed with Cascade, Centennial, Simcoe, Citra, Amarillo, Chinook, and CTZ, Union Jack should please any IPA enthusiast with big pine, pineapple, grapefruit, and tangerine notes. All perfectly balanced by a hint of malt sweetness.

Or Pivo Pils, a trailblazer of the hoppy craft pilsner style. In 2012, the brewery launched Barrelworks, an entire facility dedicated just to sours.

Even more recently, the Cold IPA Hopnosis morphed into a pinnacle of the hot, new style, inspiring an amped-up version called Double Hopnosis. The brewery’s first foray into hazy IPA, Mind Haze, has become its second-best-selling beer.

“We had realistic dreams of being a local brewery able to support a passionate team and thirsty locals,” says Walker. “It got a little out of control … and today, [twenty-eight] years later, we have grown with our customers. We pinch ourselves every day!”

Needless to say, walking through the hallowed barrel halls of Firestone Walker is like taking a trip through the time of the craft beer revolution.

The brewery offers a Brewhouse Tour daily and unique Barrel Room Tours on the weekends. They recommend making a reservation.

After a long walk around, you’ll probably need to refuel. Snag a table in the taproom and enjoy pub food and the freshest beers Firestone has on tap.

At the moment, we highly recommend Firestone XPA, Firestone Walker Brewmaster Matt Brynildson’s version of the uber-hot Australian style, and Trailing West, a collab with Half Acre made for the recent Firestone Walker Invitational.

Learn More

Late Afternoon: From Grain to Grapes

Explore Paso Robles wine country.

Herman Story Wines

1227 Paso Robles St, Paso Robles, CA 93446 | (805) 237-2400

herman story wines paso robles
Photography courtesy of @hermanstorywines

1:00 PM Wine down – Before heading down for the Firestone Walker Invitational, I interviewed Brynildson for a separate story. I couldn’t resist asking him about his favorite places to eat and drink since he’s been a local in the area since joining Firestone around 2000.

“One of my favorite winemakers is Russell From of Herman Story Wines,” he told me. “Their winery downtown is super fun, and the wines are awesome.”

Brynildson graciously followed up our chat by sending me a Google Doc titled “Matty B’s Guide to Paso Robles Fun.”

He goes even further in it, calling From “a one-of-a-kind human and an amazing winemaker.”

Brynildson points out that the downtown tasting room location means you can walk there, try as much wine as you want, and “crawl back to your room!”

We didn’t have time to stop on our most recent visit, but with a ringing endorsement from Brynildson, we’d put Herman Story Wines at the top of your must-visit list.

Learn More

Evening: Crispy Skin, Cocktails, and Call It a Night

Where everybody knows your name.

The Hatch Rotisserie & Bar

835 13th St, Paso Robles, CA 93446 | (805) 221-5727

hatch paso robles
Photography courtesy of Travel Paso

5:00 PM Wood-fired fare – The Hatch seems to be a favorite amongst locals, with both Brynildson and the team from Travel Paso, the official marketing destination of Paso Robles, recommending the wood-fired restaurant with a focus on comfort food and cocktails.

In fact, Brynildson called The Hatch one of his favorite restaurants.

Started by Maggie Cameron and Eric Connolly in 2015, The Hatch fills that niche for a neighborhood spot. Former wine and restaurant workers Cameron and Connolly have fashioned a place that attracts a great mix of locals, wine and industry folks, and tourists.

You’ll find a cozy, comfortable interior anchored by the smell of wood meeting fire and charred meat. You’ll hear the clink of rocks glasses full of small-batch whiskey or seasonal cocktails. And you’ll dig into plates of hot skillet cornbread with browned butter and black pepper honey or the stunning rotisserie chicken with apple-fennel slaw, The Hatch hot sauce, and buttermilk dip.

Brynildson recommends making a reservation here as this little bustling place tends to fill up quickly, especially on the weekends.

Learn More


1242 Park St, Paso Robles, CA 93446

libretto paso robles
Photography courtesy of Travel Paso

6:30 PM Music to your ears – If we had free time in the evening, Travel Paso urged us to catch a jazz performance at LIBRETTO. The live performance venue in the heart of historic Paso Robles hosts world-class jazz, blues, and classical music shows.

Located in the Old Paso Robles Opera House, LIBRETTO carries on the legend of its hallowed halls, inviting sixty people to enjoy its concert, anchored by a 2012 Steinway & Sons Model D 9’ concert grand piano.

Alluring and beguiling, LIBRETTO’s vibrating rhythms will draw you in, and the candle-lit tables and intimate booths will make sure you never want to leave.

Grab a cocktail, catch a show, and have a great night.

Learn More

CANE TiKi Room

1240 Park St, Paso Robles, CA 93446 | (805) 227-7113

cane tiki room paso robles
Photography courtesy of Travel Paso

9:00 PM No longer landlocked – If you’re up for keeping the night going, escape the everyday at CANE TiKi Room with tropical rum cocktails and a selection of worldwide rums. Step inside, and the wicker chairs, palapa-style ceiling, wood tiki carvings, and soft blue, yellow, purple, and pink lights whisk you away on an island vacation.

But the drinks here will have you hearing the lap of waves in your ear and feeling the rush of sand through your toes.

For instance, Three Dots and a Dash (an “S” in Morse code), made with aged rum, fresh lime juice, honey syrup, falernum (a syrupy liquor with notes of ginger and lime), and allspice dram. Drink two of these, and you’ll be close to an SOS.

If you’re looking for something even more killer, try the Phantom. The Zombie cocktail includes a clarified blend of aged and light rums, pineapple juice, golden falernum, lime juice, and cinnamon. Could this be a tropocalypse?

Possibly so, and if we can escape the world inside CANE TiKi Room’s walls, we’d choose to do that every night.

Learn More

Saturday Morning: One Word: Brunch


840 13th Street, Pine St, Paso Robles, CA 93446 | (805) 296-3616

paso robles brunch avocado toast
Photography courtesy of Grace Lee-Weitz | Hop Culture

10:00 AM Breakfast with flair – You know the place will be good when you walk in and the tables are full…but they still have just one open for you. And then they place clear mugs of steaming coffee in front of you mere moments after your butts hit the seats.

Our group of three crowded around a high-top overlooking the street, watching dogs and humans walk by in the brilliant sunshine.

We found the requisites done very well with a touch of Latin American flare. Plates of chilaquiles arrive with snappy chips doused in a tomatillo salsa, queso fresco, and scrambled eggs.

Although technically a side, the avocado toast on two slices of nine-grain bread came slathered with dill cream cheese and avocado mash, topped with eggs any way you like, mixed greens, and shaved radish.

Don’t skip the lineup of breakfast pizzas, either.

Bright, cheery, airy, and bubbly with conversation, Brunch is a perfect place to get you in the right mood for the day.

Learn More

Stroll Around the Square

paso robles downtown city park
Photography courtesy of Travel Paso

11:00 AM Soak up the sights and sounds – Time to walk off your brunch. Stroll around Downtown City Park, a beautiful grassy knoll right smack dab in the middle of Paso Robles. Meander a block or two in any direction, and you’ll find a flock of shops waiting for you to walk inside.

We recommend the General Store, Just Baked, Studios on the Park (a non-profit art center featuring fifteen working artists and four galleries), and We Olive, specializing in California-produced olive oil tastings.

But honestly, just wander. We guarantee you’ll find something.

Learn More

Afternoon + Evening: Disneyland for Adults


1803 Spring St Suite A, Paso Robles, CA 93446 | (805) 369-2308

finca paso robles
Photography courtesy of Travel Paso

1:00 PM Where Baja meets the Central Coast – Brynildson told us that FINCA is a great lunch spot, so we took that to heart.

FINCA is a family affair started by Patrick Aguirre, his wife Stephanie, son Diego, and daughter-in-law Cecilia. Aguirre worked under top chefs like Thomas Keller and Suzanne Goin before opening his spot, La Taquiza, a Michelin Guide Mexican restaurant in Napa.

With FINCA, Aguirre and his family bring Baja and Sonoran-style Mexican food to Paso Robles. On the menu, you’ll find a slew of tacos, including fish, pork belly, mushroom, and carne asada, to name a few, along with small plates such as ceviche, nachos, and guac and chips.

Bynildson thinks this is the perfect place to grab lunch, especially before you head out to drink some wine.

Learn More


2777 Hidden Mountain Rd, Paso Robles, CA 93446 | (805) 226-5460

paso robles daou winery
Photography courtesy of @hm_imagery | Travel Paso

2:30 PM Award-winning wine – When we asked our Uber driver for the best wineries to visit in the area, they responded with this place first and foremost. And we can see why. DAOU Winery makes a big statement: “Crafted to Rival Napa’s Best.” Without a doubt, this Paso Robles winery lives up to the hype.

Started by brothers Georges and Daniel Daou, the winery has become a must-stop for wine lovers. Nestled amongst the DAOU Mountain in the Adelaida district just west of Paso Robles, DAOU Winery earned recognition as one of USA Today’s 10 Best Readers’ Choice Awards for “Best Winery Tasting Room.”

DAOU’s Spanish-colonial-inspired tasting room looks out over the 212 acres of the Adelaida Hills. The winery offers not only tastings but also guided tours and an off-road adventure on the DAOU Mountain that ends in a private barrel tasting.

The gorgeous location parallels the equally gorgeous wines, currently including the highly acclaimed 2021 Estate Soul of a Lion aged for twenty-two months in new French oak, 2022 Reserve Rosé aged for seven months in one hundred percent neutral French oak, and 2021 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, among others.

With a thoughtfully curated “Culinary Pairings” menu made to pair with the current wine offerings, DAOU has thought of everything.

You can’t beat an afternoon of incredible views, wine, and food.

Editor’s Note: DAOU plans to start construction on the road leading up to the tasting room from June through mid-July. If you do plan to visit, you’ll be provided with transportation via an alternative path through the vineyard.

Learn More

Tin City

450 Marquita Ave, Paso Robles, CA 93446 | (805) 800-4366

paso robles tin city
Photography courtesy of Grace Lee-Weitz | Hop Culture

6:00 PM Where grown-ups go to be kids – Drive down a frontage road of sorts along Highway 101, and you might think you’re lost. Keep going. Even when Google Maps tells you to turn down a dusty side road, keep going.

We promise at the end, you’ll be met with what Brynildson calls “Disneyland for adults.”

At Tin City, you can bounce around to forty different wineries, breweries, cideries, distilleries, pasta bars, ice cream makers, and shops. In a turn of phrase, this is the ultimate theme park for grown-ups.

A hub of passionate crafters, artisan makers, and culinary and beverage connoisseurs, Tin City has a buzz that never seems to dim.

We recommend starting at Etto Pasta Bar for dinner, where you’ll find fresh-made pasta with ingredients sourced from local farms and ranches.

For dessert, try Negranti Creamery, where you can get freshly made sheep’s milk ice cream in flavors like Salted Brown Sugar, Crazy Cookie, and Peanut Butter Chip.

Where should you end the night? Well, that’s dealer’s choice. We’re partial to Barrelhouse Brewing Co. and Friends With Benefits taproom, but you can’t go wrong at Tin City Cider Co. or any of the many wineries. We’re just a little wined out, you know?

Learn More

Sunday Morning: One Last Stop

AMSTRDM Coffee House | Piano Lounge

725 13th St, Paso Robles, CA 93446 | (805) 369-2144

paso robles amstrdm breakfast
Photography courtesy of Grace Lee-Weitz | Hop Culture

10:00 AM Soak up the suds – You’ve had a couple of days full of imbibing across a wide variety of beverages, from beer to wine and maybe even cider, so you could probably use something to soak it all up on the way out of town.

This place slammed at ten on a Sunday morning, with a line out the door and tables packed inside and out.

Go for the Mocha Oaxaca for something rich and robust to wake you up. The food menu is tight but has many carb-laden goodies, including the signature Brunchwrap with soft scrambled egg, ham, cheddar, tomato basil schmear, and avocado. It arrives with beautiful cross-hatch panini press marks. Almost every table had one of these.

We went for the AMSTRDM Sando on a bagel with a half-foot-high egg patty, melted cheddar, and avocado and the AMSTRDM Burrito with all the fixins.

Consider our weekend debauchery all soaked up.

AMSTRDM is a great place to rest the barking dogs, relive the weekend memories, and prepare for the haul home.

Learn More