Santa Barbara’s starry nights burn brighter under the roof of the Rolls-Royce Black Badge Ghost, ideal transportation to and from the city’s equally opulent haunts.
Written by Delaney Willet
For a town that is often mixed up in the synonyms of quaint, relaxing, laidback, and understated, Santa Barbara possesses a certain charm from its glamorous history that it carries into the present, a je ne sais quoi that is unmatched in any other seaside city, this continent or otherwise. Such quiet prestige calls for a coach worthy of these storied streets, providing an elegant complement to palm-lined boulevards. Enter the Rolls-Royce Black Badge Ghost, a sleek bodied machine perched at the high end of an already top-of-the-line brand. The Black Badge Ghost is created for the night, to “live after dark.” The model may clock in at nearly 600 horsepower, but we are in no rush as we cruise the back streets of Montecito, scouring Santa Barbara’s chic nightlife scene in utmost style.
In a car that begs to be chauffeured, allowing passengers to gaze at the starry night roof (replete with shooting stars) and prod at the unfolding touch screens in the back seat, Lucky’s old-world service to match screams as an obvious segue into the night. Appetizers lavish the table; escargot only felt fitting. The richness of our bites mirrors our transportation’s polish. Rather than cleansing the taste buds, an entree course composed of a truffled chicken pot pie enhances the decadence of the evening, pulling me deeper into an extravagance-induced stupor. Lucky’s Spicy Margarita, topped with a searing habanero tequila, refocuses the flavors to balance the bounty, allowing me to savor each bite a bit longer than the last. Longing to be back behind the wheel of a work of art, but allowing our better judgment to surpass desire, we allow the valet to hold the Black Badge Ghost awhile longer as we head next door, seeking adventure.
Credits left photo: Santa Barbara Spot Prawn at Sushi by Scratch Restaurants Credits right photo: 2022 Rolls-Royce Black Badge Ghost
Sushi by Scratch Restaurants, tucked into the southern corner of the storied Montecito Inn, has been my premier Santa Barbara recommendation to locals and visitors alike since my first meal opening week. To see the concept evolve from the intimacy of ten seats around a sushi bar has been as exciting and nuanced as each individual meal. The restaurant’s team has expanded in its four years, recently welcoming Chef Nate, who acts as master of ceremonies during our cherished hours on the receiving end of the bar. The pairing, which aligns itself in the sushi’s flavor profile every few bites, gifts us with seven different sips of top-shelf sake, wine, house-mixed cocktails, beer, and (finally, and surprisingly) matcha, that enliven our palates and conversation. As guests of the night’s last seating, we delight in conviviality with the restaurant team, staying long past our welcome and reveling in every moment.
Credits: 2022 Rolls-Royce Black Badge Ghost at Rosewood Miramar Beach.
No evening of exorbitance is complete without a nightcap at The Manor Bar at Rosewood Miramar Beach. Their expertly-crafted literary menu features libations not only named after books, but concocted to incorporate their plots, taking one’s imagination and appetite through an odyssey. Manor Bar’s deep wood paneling and mirrored, art deco bar insinuates a cocktail program laden with whiskey, perhaps refreshments mixed to make your face sour. In reality, the menu is diverse, full-bodied, and nuanced, introducing me to flavors I would have never before considered mixing, much less enjoying. The menu is formatted like a novel, each page telling the story of a different concoction. Guests are encouraged to pluck these compendiums from the walls, as one would in a stately library. The cocktails evolve as you drink them, like the Crime & Punishment, a riff off the White Russian that changes from chalky white to a moody grey as you sip, thanks to an activated charcoal foam. The Monk, based on a romance novel written in 1796, features the very Chartreuse made by the monks of which the story tells, a recipe which remains a mystery to this day. With such an extent of personalization and formulation going into each drink, the list can look daunting at first, perhaps unfamiliar. Rest assured that, no matter your liquor preferences, this is an experience in which caution must be thrown to the wind. It is not often a bar menu is constructed in which every single cocktail is a must-try, unique from anything I have tasted before and unlike any other beside it. The best advice for a Manor Bar meetup? Bring friends, try everything, and stay for the sultry live music.
Credits left photo: Rolls-Royce Black Badge Ghost Credits right photo: Marching Men Cocktail at The Manor Bar
The Rosewood valet pulls the Ghost around once the night signals its impending end. The Black Badge model floats into the driveway with a supernatural ease, mimicking the magic carpet-like drive behind the wheel. With what seems to be an invisible flourish, the car is put into park, immediately inducing the request for photoshoots from strangers waiting alongside me. They marvel at the shark-like body, shining even in the inky light. They tenderly touch the lush carpet that cushions the feet of each passenger, a welcome reprieve after a day in heels. Some even snap photographs with the exterior, claiming their loved ones will “lose their minds” over such a sight. This is the power of the Rolls-Royce: making a statement by saying nothing, calling attention to itself by simply existing. Much like the reputation of Santa Barbara, both earn respect on their own merits, for moving stealthily, quietly, with utmost integrity and the highest quality.