Lovebird Boutique and Jewelry
“We’re so proud to have this honor for six years straight and love our locals,” says Lovebird owner Nancy Burgner. “We like to say that ‘we dress Santa Barbara,’ as the Lovebird style reflects a laid-back, free-spirited yet classy aesthetic that spans a broad age range. It’s lovely when moms, daughters, and grandmothers shop together and everyone finds something special. This summer, we had a family reunion of 10 women, aged 12-70, that basically took over our little store for an hour — that was great fun. Some even bought matching dresses.”
Runner-Up: Dylan Star
Richie’s Barber Shop
“Santa Barbara is the best place to have a business because the weather off the coast is one in a million, and so is the community,” says Richie Ramirez, owner of Richie’s Barbershop. “Operating a small business has been challenging the past few years, and somehow we’ve managed to stay in the game; ultimately, we owe it to our locals who continuously believe in us and help us thrive. It’s been 12 years in Montecito, four years in Isla Vista, and we couldn’t have done it without the S.B. community that is so tight. We appreciate everyone who voted for us and continues to support us.”
Runner-Up: Arturo’s Barbershop and Hair Salon
Crossroads Trading Company
The grand dame of consignment stores, Crossroads has been leading the resale fashion industry for 30 years and is once again tops in Santa Barbara when it comes to consignment stores. Customers note the “high-quality finds,” “great selection,” and “friendly staff.” Plus, imagine how virtuous it feels to shop for name-brand and designer clothing at amazing prices — and help keep clothing out of landfill.
Runner-Up: The Closet Trading Co.
Float Luxury Spa
“We are humbled and grateful every year for this honor, but this year, as we return to some semblance of normalcy after the pandemic, we are more grateful than ever,” says Natalie Rowe, CEO of Float Luxury Spa. “We are so fortunate to live in such an incredible place where our community rallies around small businesses in the face of difficult times. As things begin to return to normal, it has become more clear to us than ever before the importance of self-care, as people come in for long-awaited and well-deserved massages, and facial and body treatments.”
Runner-Up: Evolutions Medical & Day Spa
Ablitt’s Fine Cleaners & Launderers
“We are honored to be chosen as Santa Barbara’s favorite dry cleaner. Everyone at Ablitt’s works hard to make our customers’ lives easier and to provide the highest service and quality possible. The recognition after such a difficult period is greatly appreciated,” says owner Sasha Ablitt. “Ablitt’s is proud to be part of this amazing community. There is nowhere like Santa Barbara. The best part about Ablitt’s? It is all of our amazing customers! And we love our customers, maybe even more than we love clothes.”
Runner-Up: Eco Friendly Cleaners
Eyewear Selection · Sunglasses Selection
Occhiali Fine Eyewear
No SPECulation necessary here: Occhiali Fine Eyewear is once again our readers’ top pick for Eyewear Selection and Sunglasses Selection. Occhiali (“eyeglasses” in Italian) has been Santa Barbara’s go-to for a superb selection of stylish eyewear since it opened in 1988. With a powerful combination of high-fashion awareness and prescriptive expertise, Occhiali remains the top choice to set your sights on fashion-forward style with the perfect frames.
Runner-Up (Eyewear Selection): Goleta Valley Optical
Runner-Up (Sunglasses Selection): Solstice Sunglasses
“After almost 13 years as an employee, I purchased the salon from the owners at the start of the year,” says Salon Patine owner Blair Jackson. “My main goal was to keep our already high standards and improve the salon. Part of validating that was winning Best Of. Our staff works really hard to elevate the business, and this just proves that all of the hard work pays off. I am very proud of our team. We would love to thank everyone in the community who voted for us.”
Runner-Up: The Color Room
Bryant & Sons
“It is always gratifying to be recognized by the readers of the Independent,” says Michael Bryant, the “son” in Bryant & Sons. “Everyone looks forward to this time of year, and we are humbled by the acknowledgement. Thank you to all of Santa Barbara for making it possible for us to do business in a town that is the envy of many. For over 50 years, we have tried our best to create lasting memories for our customers by marking special occasions with finely crafted jewelry and timepieces. Here’s to another great year in Santa Barbara; we hope to see you all this holiday season.”
Runner-Up: 33 Jewels at El Paseo
Medical Spa · Place to Get a Facial
Evolutions Medical & Day Spa
Asked if winning Best Of had special significance after the last few years, Managing Partner Brian Perkins says, “We are always honored to win, but it definitely means more to our team after all we’ve all been through with the pandemic. Throughout all of the ups and downs (including multiple times we had to shut down in that first year), we worked very hard to create an environment that is both safe and welcoming. Winning Best Of in multiple categories is validation that we were able to adapt successfully and continue to effectively serve our clients. It means a lot!”
Runner-Up (Medical Spa): Jessica Barker Medical Aesthetics
Runner-Up (Place to Get a Facial): Float Luxury Spa
Voted top tattoo shop for the fifth year in a row, 805 Ink has been providing high-quality tattoo art since 2008. Current artists include CEO J.J. Ortiz, an S.B. native whose style runs to fine-line black and gray; Kenny Knox, who enjoys a wide variety of subjects and styles; Chad Westmoreland, who deejays in his spare time; Jake Vantiger, who loves putting his own twist on bold American and neo-traditional designs; Seth Singletary, a versatile artist with a portfolio leaning toward blackwork and dark ideas; Kyle Lifetime, whose influences from old traditional tattoos utilize blackwork with an emphasis on lines; and Kelsey Flegal, an S.B. native who loves doing American traditional tattoos but also welcomes walk-ins.
Runner-Up: Golden Eagle Tattoo
3623 State St.; (805) 687-0449
Nailing it once again as our readers’ choice for Santa Barbara’s Best Nail Salon, Modern Nails offers just about every type of nail service imaginable, including manicures, pedicures, gels, acrylics, French tips, nail art, full sets and fill-ins. Tucked in a San Roque strip mall on Upper State Street, Modern Nails offers an ultra-clean environment, professional and efficient services and reasonable prices. Not only that, they recently got new massage chairs, which make indulging in a mani-pedi even more of a pleasure.
Runner-Up: Champagne Nail Bar
The Spa at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara
“Our ladies and gentlemen never stopped serving and providing excellent Ritz-Carlton services during the pandemic,” says Haywon Kim, Director of The Spa at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara. “This is reassurance, and a most important reminder to our team that we are proud hoteliers, service providers, the true top one percent. I am grateful for our community to recognize all of their hard work and their dedication.” Her favorite part of the job is the daily open discussion “about how we will provide excellence in service quality for each guest who comes through the door. I see their passion; I see they care. There is nothing more rewarding than that.”
Runner-Up: Sense, a Rosewood Spa
Deckers Brand Showcase
With its Silver LEED-certified corporate headquarters in Goleta, Deckers manufactures a global portfolio of fashion-forward footwear, including brands like UGG, Koolaburra, Hoka, Teva, and Sanuk. And because of its prime location, we are lucky enough to have their first and only multi-brand retail store right next to the headquarters, offering customers a robust assortment of fashion and performance footwear, as well as home goods and accessories for men, women, and children.
Santa Barbara’s top tanning salon for many years running, Honeys offers a wealth of beauty services, from the signature golden airbrush Honey Tan to custom colors and the Hurried Honey Deluxe, which cuts processing time in half, in addition to add-on services like hydrafirm and PH balancing sprays. But that’s not all; Honeys also offers a full array of waxing services, sugaring, tinting, and styling for both eyelashes and eyebrows — all of which takes place in a comfortable yet posh boutique environment designed to leave you looking and feeling your best.
Runner-Up: Tanna Rae Beauty Lounge
Alpha Thrift Stores
Always a great place to find costumes for Halloween and other theme parties, and bargains on everything from shoes, clothes, and jewelry to electronics, tools, books, and housewares, Alpha Thrift Stores’ two locations not only keep waste out of the landfill, but the money you spend (or the items you donate) also help support community members with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Talk about a win-win, and yet another win for Alpha Thrift as our readers’ pick for Best Thrift Store.
Runner-Up: Destined for Grace
Vintage Store · Antique Store
The Blue Door
Our favorite part of the job is the customers, say The Blue Door owners Carolyn Petersen and Brian Garwood. “We have the best customers, from locals to tourists. We love meeting everyone and seeing what they pick out from The Blue Door or what they see that sparks fun memories. We’re honored that the Santa Barbara community enjoys the shopping experience we’ve created as much as we do. Thank you to everyone who took the time to vote for us, and shop with us for all these years!” Looking ahead to the future, they say, “We love the Funk Zone and Santa Barbara. Our goal is to continue to find one-of-a-kind items and keep creating an inspirational store.”
Runner-Up (Vintage Store): Urban Flea Market
Runner-Up (Antique Store): Antique Alley