Neon Sign to Stay at Institution Ale

Neon Sign to Stay at Institution Ale title=
Neon Sign to Stay at Institution Ale
Reads 7809

Photos: Institution Ale

By edhat staff

A recent decision by the Historic Landmarks Commission approved Institution Ale's large indoor neon sign after some controversy.

The brewery located at 516 State Street, the former home of Pierre Lafond, came under fire after opening when the City of Santa Barbara's Sign Committee sent them a letter in April stating their interior neon sign spelling out "Institution Ale" violated a sign ordinance. Even though the sign does not face towards the street, the large front windows make the sign visible from most angles. The letter stated the sign must be set back a minimum of 10 feet from the front window and they could face a $100/day fine until the sign is removed or corrected. 

Brewery owners, father Roger Smith and his sons, Shaun Smith and Ryan Smith, appealed to the Sign Committee and were denied 2-1 on July 2. They then went to the Historic Landmarks Commission and argued the sign is historically accurate due to the buildings 1940's history as a car dealership that included neon signs.

Public commenters disagreed with the historical grounds stating it could lead to other businesses flagrantly disregarding sign ordinances. One public commenter even stated it could be hazardous and distracting for motorists who could endanger nearby pedestrians. Other commenters sided with the brewery stating the business has brought more people out to the area and is livening up State Street during a time where many buildings are vacant.

The Historic Landmarks Commission approved the sign in a 5-2 vote last week.

Institution Ale Co. originally opened in 2013 in Camarillo specializing in American style ales. They opened their Santa Barbara taproom earlier this year offering a large rotating selection of beers and freshly baked thin-crust pizzas and soft pretzels. 

Login to add Comments


Show Comments
nope Aug 12, 2019 02:43 PM
Neon Sign to Stay at Institution Ale

It was a member of the sign committee that reported the sign originally, no surprise on their vote but very glad to see that HLC has some sense.

a-1565735490 Aug 13, 2019 03:31 PM
Neon Sign to Stay at Institution Ale

She should be declared a public nuisance. Her life apparently revolves around wasting our City Council's time and our tax dollars over insignificant and asinine issues such as this!

a-1565734820 Aug 13, 2019 03:20 PM
Neon Sign to Stay at Institution Ale

Anna Marie Gott was the one who went to the meeting and said the sign could cause traffic accidents.

a-1565734543 Aug 13, 2019 03:15 PM
Neon Sign to Stay at Institution Ale

Taxionna - was it really Anne Marie Gott? It very much sounds like something immaterial and petty so I wouldn't put it past her!

TaxiOnna Aug 13, 2019 03:04 PM
Neon Sign to Stay at Institution Ale

Nope, we all know it was Anna Marie by herself who reported that sign. Good on you for outing yourself, girl ;)

a-1565645442 Aug 12, 2019 02:30 PM
Neon Sign to Stay at Institution Ale

Only in Santa Barbara will people with no hobby, and too much time on their hands complain about a sign hanging in a bar. This city is filled with cranky kooks.

oceandrew Aug 12, 2019 11:27 AM
Neon Sign to Stay at Institution Ale

I'd think a giant TV near a bar window would be far more distracting to passing motorists than an unchanging sign. I love the sign and it clearly answers the spirit of the law banning signs on the street.


Please Login or Register to comment on this.