Dave’s Hobby Central proliferates the 65-year legacy of Atkins Hobby's with a stock of model airplanes, helicopters, rockets, and cars in both analog and radio-controlled styles. Armed with remote controls, racers pit vehicles against one other in bi-weekly open bouts, hoping to place in the top three to earn a coveted Dave's Hobby Central plaque. During and after races, an onsite repair team stands ready to revitalize damaged models. For more hardcore racing fanatics, the shop stocks a variety of detail paint, allowing owners to intimidate competitors with racing stripes or spot-on depictions of Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel.
Located near Santa Barbara City College, Hot Spots Espresso Company serves as a caffeine-equipped study spot for many a college student. Offering free wifi, the shop makes a variety of coffee and smoothie drinks to order?baristas carefully steam cappuccinos and brew coffee one cup at a time to maximize flavor. On the beach-adjacent patio, palms and blooming bougainvilleas sway in the sea breeze as strings of lights frame columns and archways. Between late April and October, the shop remains open around the clock, acting as a lighthouse for bleary-eyed sailors and a haven for late-night studying.
Buffalo Records boasts racks replete with new and used music, movies, and TV in a plethora of formats. Adventurous audiophiles can peruse hundreds of vinyl offerings ($0.50+), unearthing prized tonal treasures from renowned melody masterminds such as The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Wilco, and MGMT. The staff of aural aficionados helps patrons track down even rare, out-of-print media, such as Thomas Edison’s legendary Live at Budokan. For circular surfaces stuffed with timelier tunes, snag new CD releases (most range from $7.99–$18.98), including Radiohead’s King of Limbs ($13.98) or Social Distortion’s Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes ($14.99).
Hot Dog on a Stick Founder Dave Barham opened his first Hot Dog on a Stick in Santa Monica in 1946, and the company has since burgeoned into an employee-owned franchise that's more than 100 eateries strong and spans 11 states. Best known for a 100% turkey hot dog dunked in corn-bread batter made from Dave's mother's recipe and cooked in soy oil, Hot Dog on a Stick also pioneered the dipping and be-sticking of mild american and spicy jalapeño jack cheese. Smiling employees in red-, white-, and blue-striped uniforms with, as Dave put it, "a splash of lemonade," hand over cherry, lime, sugar-free, or original lemonade that they make fresh every two hours by squeezing Ventura County lemons until they cry.
Named one of Parents magazine's Top 10 Birthday Chains in 2010, Color Me Mine's international franchise of DIY ceramics studios cater to an older crowd as well. Hundreds of unadorned ceramic pieces—including vases, flatware, and busts of Elvis—await the attentions of muses of kids and their keepers alike, as do glazes in earthy tones and bright crimsons to frighten bulls away from china cabinets. Guests follow simple step-by-step instructions that leave plenty of room for creative expression. When painters are satisfied with their work, the professional kiln-workers help glaze and fire it for them before customers retrieve the finished piece a few days later.