Humble Sea Tavern in Felton
Humble Sea Tavern in Felton.
Food & Drink

Humble Sea Tavern in Felton abruptly closes its doors

Opened in February 2022, Humble Sea Tavern announced Tuesday that it will close permanently. The news comes as Santa Cruz-based Humble Sea Brewing Co. prepares to open a new taproom in Alameda.

After just a year and a half in business, Humble Sea Tavern in Felton abruptly shut its doors this week. It was the first restaurant project from Humble Sea Brewing Co., a Santa Cruz-based brewery with taprooms in Santa Cruz and Pacifica, as well as a pop-up beer garden on the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf. A third taproom is set to open in Alameda this month.

The tavern announced the closure via Instagram on Tuesday. Although the post doesn’t give a precise reason, it says that “the space is meant for a foodie.” The post continues: “We’re all about the beer, and while we did our best to balance both food and bevs, we realized that maybe someone with more of a culinary soul could bring a stellar food vibe to compliment all the rad businesses that are already crushing it in Felton.”

It’s a significant closure for Felton, a town of less than 5,000 nestled in the Santa Cruz Mountains, 6 miles from the city of Santa Cruz. Its downtown, which runs along Highway 9, has experienced a resurgence since the pandemic lockdown. Within the past five years, a number of local businesses have opened and brought new, youthful energy to the mountain enclave.

Humble Sea Tavern’s opening was hotly anticipated by locals. When it opened in February 2022, it became one of the few restaurants in the downtown area that was open for dinner, and, notably, attempted to offer more elevated cuisine, including a cocktail menu and beer on draft. It was housed inside the historic Cremer House, a visual touchstone for the area. The 1874 building previously housed a high-end restaurant of the same name affiliated with another Santa Cruz-based brewery, Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing. The Cremer House closed in 2020.

Humble Sea Brewing owners Nick Pavlina, Frank Scott Krueger and Taylor West are natives of the San Lorenzo Valley, where Felton is located, but so far their other projects outside their hometown have seen the most success. It’s not clear if another business is set to open in the now-vacant restaurant. At the end of the announcement, Humble Sea put out a call for food-focused entrepreneurs interested in potentially occupying the space.

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