Apr 16, 2013 6:35 PM by Jeanette Trompeter

No Place Like Home: Schooners in Cayucos

Most tourist towns have them. Places the locals gather. We've paid a visit to a few as we search for gems in our own backyard. Sometimes the places where locals gather are also the places tourists flock to as well. Such is the case at at the beach-side restaurant and bar in Cayucos where we found all kinds of proof There's No Place Like Home.

It's fitting a place in an old sea-side port town should be called Schooners. You'll believe that even more so by the time you finish reading this.

Like a lot of gathering places in beach communities, it offers up a steady stream of amenities that draw the crowds. "The atmosphere, the view, the food, the drinks, the people." says Rick McNellie.

It's kind of famous for it's calamari, but there isn't much on the menu I wouldn't recommend. It's a hot spot on holidays and weekends. "It's shoulder to shoulder on a Friday night. And you gotta fight your way to the bar." says McNellie

It's also busy anytime there's a special event in town, particularly the Polar Plunge on New Year's Day. "Yeah, everyone comes out for Bloody Marys afterwards. It's probably the next biggest day to 4th of July for Bloody Mary's. Mix 'em in 5 gallon buckets!"

But on any given day, the afternoons provide an easy atmosphere for winding down. Because Schooners offers a bird's eye view of one of the best shows in town. It's a great place to take in sunset. "When it disappears behind the point, then the locals have to bet on something else." says McNellie. "For the longest time we were taking bets on when it would go down, and I was winning a lot because I was looking in the tide book!" he fesses up. There are a lot of guessing games like that when the sitting in a place like this. "It was lucrative for awhile, then they caught on to what I was doing."

The wagers for the guessing games are really just ragging rights, but those are worth a lot in a place filled with characters like those to be found at a place like Schooners. "You would not believe what there is to bet on." McNellie chuckles.

It's a place where banter is bartered easily enough strangers feel like friends pretty quickly. Even among a pretty steady stream of regulars.

It's another central coast version of Cheers. But the regular sitting at the end of the bar nursing a beer is not a heavy set guy named Norm. He's a pirate...named Randy.

He's been voted customer of the year, in part because of his regular attendance. "Pretty much." says Randy Crozier. "Any afternoon you can come in here and find me here." And his treasure chest of treasures makes him pretty popular with the kids as well. "We'll be sitting here on a weekend afternoon or something and a little herd of them will come running up here tear in the treasure chest, get a goodie and tear off on out of here."

How appropriate for a place called Schooners to have a characters and the rest of the gang hanging around making happy hour happy. And more Proof, there's No Place Like Home.



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