SLO might be known for its wine and farm-fresh everything, but at its core, it’s a BBQ town. Santa Maria-style (tri-tip smoked in native Red Oak wood) is king around here, and when it comes to tracking down the best version, skip the hoards of brochure tourists and drunk college kids at Firestone Grill and head a few blocks down to Old San Luis BBQ instead. This locally-run spot has better tri-tip, better beer, a fraction of the crowds, and a relaxed space you actually want to hang out in.
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The Grill at Cass House
The Grill at Cass House is an almost entirely outdoor spot in Cayucos with a fantastic farm-to-table menu and a beachside setting.
The Libertine Pub
The Libertine Pub in Morro Bay has a divey atmosphere, house-brewed sours, and a solid bar menu.
Sidecar is a low-key cocktail bar in San Luis Obispo, and a nice spot to escape the Cal Poly fake ID crowd.
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The Park’s Finest BBQ
A Filipino-Southern BBQ spot worth a visit. Hit it on Wednesdays for their try-it-all $12 special.
Birdeye is a Venice-based bird pop-up (try saying that ten times fast) operating out of Dudley Market.
Jeong Yuk Jeom
Jeong Yuk Jeom is a massive, modern KBBQ spot in Koreatown with incredible cuts of dry-aged beef and prime-grade short rib.
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