Welcome to Sam’s Place. Welcome being the key word. Locals and visitors alike have been welcome to this space since it was transformed from a dress shop into a restaurant and bar in the early 2000’s. Since that time it has been home to live music, fine art, and excellent company under different names and owners.
Sam spent a brief time tending bar here in 2012 before being recruited and spending the next 10 years honing his craft at the Ojai Valley Inn, while Amber worked for city hall and ran operations for events such as Ojai Day before becoming the operations manager for the Ojai Music Festival. Sam took the first leap, proposing to Amber on a Sunday night right here. They were married in September of 2019 and promptly took the next leap: buying the bar where it all happened. We bought our beloved bar from former owner and friend Nigel, with the intention to build on the community gathering spot he had built. The plan was straightforward enough: spend the first year learning the ropes, make as few changes as needed, and go from there. We started January 2 of 2020 with high hopes.
On March 18, 2020 the doors closed to the public. With the pandemic in full swing, any initial plans went out the window. Once it became obvious that everything had changed and wasn’t going back, a series of big changes began. We began nightly cocktail hour broadcasts to stay connected with our regulars in quarantine, every Tuesday night the trivia hosts provided interactive trivia, and we partnered with Help of Ojai to provide meals for at-risk senior citizens in the Valley.
After just over two years of doing business as The Vine, Sam and Amber’s dream had taken shape in the space that had been built by past owners and loved by so many. By supporting local artists with Sam’s knowledge of cocktails and spirits with their collective dream, Sam’s Place was born. Our philosophy is simple: cook like it’s for family, pour like it’s for friends.