Downtown Paso Robles is set to get its first authentic beer garden with the opening of The Backyard on Thirteenth — an expansive new open-air beer, wine and dining venue located on the corner of 13th Street and Railroad Street just two blocks from City Park. The doors officially open at 4 p.m. on Friday, February 14.
“The open-air nature of our venue allows guests to take full advantage of three valuable Central Coast commodities: incredible weather, great food, and fine homegrown beverages,” said owner Russell Baker.
The Backyard offers a selection of rotating taps showcasing local craft beers and wine along with seasonal food and live music. The property is designed to offer comfortable year-round outdoor seating for up to 225 guests, with heater lamps, two fireplaces, retractable shades, and misters for summertime. Seating includes a central area with 10 communal tables; a corner spot featuring sectional lounge furniture; a rail bar overlooking 13th Street; and an enclosed family area with games for children. Three re-purposed shipping containers provide separate spaces for beverage service, an intimate indoor lounge, and restrooms.
Owners Amy and Russell Baker grew up in Paso Robles and graduated from Paso Robles High School in 1992. They were inspired by beer gardens around the world and wanted to open a similar space in their hometown. “Downtown Paso Robles is going through a renaissance right now, with a lot of old neglected buildings and properties being developed into some amazing spaces,” Russell said. “We’re so excited to be a part of this exciting time in our town’s growth.”
The Backyard occupies a corner lot that served as home to local favorite Chubby Chandlers Pizza for more than 30 years. “We decided to keep the walk-up style restaurant building because of its funky and unique design, and because it has a story,” Russell said. “We completely renovated the interior and exterior—people thought we were crazy, but both locals and visitors love the building’s character. We’re so glad we kept that part of the town’s history intact.”
Gourmet street fare for lunch and dinner
The Backyard has partnered with Roots on Railroad to provide a full menu of food options. Owned and operated by partners Chris Beckett, former executive chef at Fish Gaucho, and Katie Castillo, owner of meal prep service Katie’s Kitchen, this unique walk-up style restaurant occupies the original Chubby Chandler’s structure on the southwest corner of The Backyard. Specializing in gourmet street fare, Roots on Railroad will be open for lunch and dinner, serving dishes such as their signature Smash Burgers, Lobster Rolls, and award-winning Lobster Mac & Cheese.
A showcase for local beer, wine, and cider
The Backyard will showcase the burgeoning Central Coast craft brewing scene with half of the 24 rotating taps representing beers from local breweries. The remaining taps will provide a selection of popular craft beers from out of the area while four taps will feature Paso Robles wines. An additional selection of beer, wine and cider will also be available in bottles and cans. Non-alcoholic beverages, including an assortment of sparkling water, sodas, and juices, will be available for purchase, providing options for all guests.
Inspiration for The Backyard was drawn from traditional Bavarian-style neighborhood beer gardens (from the German ‘Biergarten’), which are outdoor taverns where beer and local food are served, typically at shared tables, with music and games providing entertainment in a cozy, friendly atmosphere. The Backyard’s design uses environmentally friendly, sustainably repurposed intermodal shipping containers, providing a contemporary urban look and feel that embodies the spirit of the adjacent railroad and surrounding light industrial architecture. This is the first use of its kind in downtown Paso Robles.
“Having grown up here, it’s been exciting to see how much Paso Robles has grown and changed over the years while still maintaining its small-town charm and appeal,” Russell said. “We are pleased to be a part of this growth and to invest in our city by developing this property into a fun, family-friendly hangout.”