Olde Ale House Opens in Los Osos

Written by Theresa-Marie Wilson

Theresa-Maria Wilson has been a journalist covering the North Coast and South County area for over 20 years. She is also the founder of Cat Noir CC and is currently working on a novel.

November 6, 2020

Olde Ale House owners Bill Marvin and his wife, Chris Stratford, and her sister, Cathy Stratford. Photo Submitted

If you are looking for a glass of craft beer, a meal with the family or some nightlife with friends, the Olde Ale House in Los Osos has the taps pouring and the kitchen fired up.

On Nov. 2, post press time, the craft-beer bar and restaurant located at 945 Los Osos Valley Road opened the doors to what the owners hope will be a new go-to hangout for locals.

The Olde Ale House is definitely a family affair. Husband and wife team, Bill Marvin and Chris Stratford, and her sister, Cathy Stratford own the establishment and the couple’s daughters, Amelia and Alanah, run the front of the house.

“This is a place where people can be comfortable and want to come back,” Bill said. “It is family friendly and pet friendly. Originally we were just looking to have a little community hangout and focus on beer and wine, but it kind of evolved into a much bigger focal point. We recognized the importance of having good food. I mean, if someone comes and has a beer or two and there’s no food available, they’re going to find somewhere else to go.”

The idea for the place came about when Bill and Cathy used to frequent the now closed Baywood Ale House.
“We liked the place down there,” Bill said. “It was really kind of the first of its type in this community. When it closed, we just felt like the community needed a place.”

At one point there were plans to go into business with the Baywood owners but that path changed. The business idea was still a sound one.

“There’s not anywhere to go and grab a beer and have some food and hang out, so there’s a need for it here,” Amelia said.
Almost two years ago to the day, the owners bought the 1500sf former office building and set about remodeling the place, which has seating available for more than100 people between the indoor and outdoor areas as well as a full kitchen and a bar.

“It is almost surreal,” Amelia said. “It’s been a lot of work, and it’s exciting to see it all come together.
“We’ll have 20 beers on tap — beers, ciders, sours,” said Amelia. “And then we’ll have a wine list and a full kitchen, so we’ll be open, lunch and dinner.”

It should be noted that current coronavirus pandemic restrictions allow only 25% of the space to be used at any one time.
The menu was created by head chef Kyle Miller, formerly of Baywood Ale House and Kuma, and caters to families as well as the soon to be regulars.

“It’s a bit more upscale pub food,” Amelia said adding that the shepherd’s pie will likely be a signature dish. “There will be a lot of vegetarian items. Four out of five of us are vegan or vegetarian, so we’re going to have a good little mix.”
Steak and fish are also on the dinner menu that is available staring at 4 p.m. and lunch is lighter fare with sandwiches and salads. Of course, beer and wine is always available for those 21 and over.

The spectrum of beers is wide with about 50 percent of the tap lineup consisting of the local craft variety from breweries like Oak and Otter, Liquid Gravity, Santa Maria Brewing, Firestone and Barrelhouse.

“I think, especially in this time, we wanted to honor the local breweries,” Amelia said. “We want to keep it pretty local to start, but have a variety.”

And yes, that watering hole, happy hour domestic favorite that has stood the test of time, Coors Light, will also be on tap as will the Belgian Stella Artois. Bottled beers, primarily domestic, are available as are non-alcoholic choices.

Wine can be purchased by the bottle or the glass. They serve a variety of about eight reds and whites from Central Coast wineries including Tolosa and Dauo.

It has been a long road to get to opening day and Bill is quick to recognize the people who helped along the way.

“People stopped by all the time just to say hello and ask us when we were going to open,” said Bill. “We had so many people in the community that helped us build the place, I think they feel like they’re a little part of it.”

Some of those involved include Architect Thomas Reay of the Omni Design Group and Jim Dana, the contractor.
Reay was involved almost from the beginning and helped find the location.

“We looked at several other places that we thought might do, but when he saw this place, he said, ‘This, is an ale house.’”
Dana designed and built most of the heated patio and its elements out back where dogs are as welcomed as the people they brought and cornhole can be played anytime.

“He saw the potential here and just went for it,” said Amelia.
As for the future, the owners are looking forward to live music on the full stage built out back, more games to play and an expanded food menu.

“When people come in, I want them to feel like they’re at home, like they’re just coming into a party with all their favorite friends,” said Amelia.

The Olde Ale House is open Sunday through Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Readers can also check out their website at oldealehouse.com.

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