Charles Hobbs recently wrote about his memories of Isla Vista circa 1983-1987, at the Isla Vista Community Yahoo Group ( http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Isla_Vista_Community/ ):
Welcome to IV, where the real education begins....
First day of school at UCSB, Fall 1983. Once I settled
in a bit, I grabbed my bike and started riding on the
bike path through the center of campus, passing Storke
At the edge of campus, I noticed an overpass.
Intrigued, I sped up and passed through it....and
found myself in a whole new world.
I found myself riding, not on a bike path anymore, but
in the middle of a real street. There were a few cars,
but mostly bicycles, bicycles, and more bicycles being
ridden all over the street.
Just like those old pictures of Beijing, China. Cars
crossing Pardall were stopped, waiting as if for a
train to pass, while the stream of bicycles zoomed by.
On the left, there was the Delta Tau Delta frat house.
I didn't really deal with frats much, but I mention
this one because
a. I and about 4 other guys did an "air guitar" gig
there in Spring 1984
b. A roommate of mine actually joined them (but kept
on living with us....maybe the house was full or
On the right, there was a planter full of cactuses.
(The county removed it within a few months, citing
liability if someone fell into it and got pricked...)
and a dead Taco Bell.
(In late Spring of 1984, the TB was torn down and
replaced with a Subway sandwich shop, a
(pre-Starbucks) coffee shop, an ice-cream store, and a
Chinese restaurant that
served dishes such as "Beef Isla Vista" and "Shrimp
College students lived on two things, pizza and beer.
There were four places to get pizza:
* Domino's. Mostly for freshmen who didn't know any
* Pizza Bob's. Jock/frat boy hangout that served
(allegedly) watered-down beer. Delivery hours were
somewhat limited (about an hour earlier than the
other places on this list). Now the place is (I think)
a coffee shop, last time I was in IV
* Perry's. Surfer-type hangout on Pardall. They served
pan pizza cut into square slices. (This was part of a
small chain, with
stores in Inglewood and Redondo Beach(?). I also
remember them trying to get into the post office
business, by opening a contract
postal station after the official IV Post office
closed....cost them goodwill as people got mad that
they couldn't buy stamps during all
open hours. (There's a funny cartoon in the Daily
Nexus about Perry's foray into the postal business).
They closed down sometime
* Woodstocks. IMHO the best pizza in IV. Still going
* The Habit. Served decent, if a bit greasy, burgers
and fried pies. There was another one in Downtown
Goleta, and now there is a whole chain of them as far
as Encino. In early 86, the IV branch shut down and
became a McBurleys, selling overpriced food ($3 for a
simple burger?) and beer. McBurleys was rumored to be
run by one of the more well-heeled frats, perhaps with
a good helping of parental funds...In a few years,
became a coffeeshop or some other type of restaurant.
* Borsodi's. Your quintessential hippy coffee shop.
They probably did poetry readings there too. Not my
scene so I never went inside. (This was also the IV
stop for the
Green Tortoise bus on its LA-SF run)
* Baba's Falafel: Before I got to UCSB, I didn't even
know what a falafel was. The dining commons served
what they called falafels, but were really just balls
of bland tofu. Yuck.
Baba's turned me on to a whole new world of Middle
Eastern cuisine....sort of. The little stand was
replaced by a strip mall in 1987. Baba's was there for
a while, then moved
(on campus?). Freebird's moved in, looked good, but I
never got to try it.
* Pappagallos. Italian? Never ate there, but I do
remember their pink neon sign beaming into my room all
night, during their summer of 1985....
* There was also a Mexican place near the tip of the
Embarcadero loop, never did get a chance to try it
* The Egghead. Served omelets and breakfast. Never
* New York Hero House. Sub sandwiches. Never went
* There was another really tiny breakfast-only place
as well. It had some sort of "flower" name (White
Lily?). Apparently it was quite good, because there
often lines out the door...
* Andrea's/Sam's to Go/Gerties: a few other names that
come to mind. I remember trying to go to Gerties one
evening and found that they closed early...never went
Entertainment and clubs
At least the first year, there was a lot of griping
about the lack of nightlife, as opposed to LA or some
bigger place. Of course, there were clubs in
Downtown Santa Barbara, but those were mostly 21 and
up (and carded).You'd also need a car, a friend with a
car, or $20 for a cab ride back to
campus (in these pre-Bill's Bus days). But in time, a
few things opened up in IV
* The Library. Somewhere on Pardall. I think this was
a 21+ place, so I never dealt with it (it was gone by
the time I turned 21)
* The Graduate. Opened in the old Bank of America
building in Spring(?) 1985. Did both 21+ and 18+
events, something for everybody. Fun to go out with
once in a while. Eventually became a UCSB lecture hall
after stints as a brewpub, a dance studio/gym, and who
knows what else...
* Magic Lantern Theaters: Fall 1983 was the last of
their existance as a movie theater. I remember seeing
a couple of flix with friends (Strange Brew and
National Lampoon's Vacation, I think)...tickets were
very cheap and the theater was still empty. They went
out of business shortly after that and were taken over
UCSB for use as lecture halls. (Campus groups could
also show movies there, or in a number of the other
on-campus lecture halls, as fundraisers)
* Video Madness/Side Pocket. In the James Ventura
building on Pardall.Had good crowds even after the
video game craze died down. Side Pocket was the
adjoining pool hall. Now a small liquor store and a
bar (the "Study Hall", at least last time I was up
* Bank Arcade. In the old B of A building. Games
mostly in poor condition, went out of business in Fall
* Video Hideway. One or two "geeks" who worked in the
UCSB Computer Lab set up a little arcade near the Six
Pack Shop in Spring 1986. Free games for about a week,
ridiculously low prices (10 games for a buck or
something). Over the summer, the geeks took it home to
Santa Clara, and went into business there.
There were two record stores (anyone still remember
when record stores sold....well, *records*???)
* Morninglory. Best for used records. (I was too
poor/cheap to buy new ones). Also sold concert
tickets. For a while you could rent CD's, but the
copyright people put a stop to that.
* Leopolds. Just across the street. Mostly new
records, small selection of used stuff. After a
couple of years, turned into a surfwear shop.
* IV Bookstore. Handy alternative to the UCSB
bookstore (sometimes IV would have books that UCSB
didn't have, and vice versa). Usually cheaper on
* Merlins. Near the IV Foot Patrol. Used bookstore
smelling of pipe smoke. Little of academic interest,
but ok to grab a cheap novel or two for that long bus
* IV Market
* Pruitt's / Dave's Market
Two small supermarkets. I lived in the dorms so didn't
really do too much grocery shopping per se, but often
bought snacks, fruit, coke, etc. for those late night
* IV Food Co-op. Hippied-out place, sold exotic stuff
such as ginseng root beer. Prices high unless you
joined. Also the only place for miles where you could
single floppy disks (a whole box cost up to $50 in a
lot of places back then!)
* International Market
I had a lot of Asian friends, so I got to know this
place well. Cheap ramen noodles and beer (when they
didn't lose their license for serving underage). I
think this place
changed hands at least once; when it did, my roommate
(Vietnamese) quit going there. "The people act ugly
and rip you off" he said....
* Six Pack Shop/Lloyd's Liquors
Another place for the kids beer runs!
* Dougs Bougs.VW repair shop. Moved to Milpas in late
83 or early 84. Some environmental dust-up regarding a
leaking underground fuel tank, if I recall correctly.
Another car repair joint took its place...
* Kinko's. The original (really, this is where that
whole chain got started). Sometimes, course "readers"
(books made up of copies of articles) needed for
classes had to be
purchased here. (This got them in trouble with our
friends the copyright police!)
* The Alternative. Another copy shop, right next door
* IV Bike Rental. Moved from Embarcadero (Del Norte?)
to Pardall at some point....
* Bank of America ATM's. Of course the real bank
(rebuilt from the 70's riots) had closed some time
ago. They did have a couple of ATM's open in IV
* IV Bike Repair. Fixed bikes, also had tools chained
to a rack outside for do-it-yourselfers. (Most
students took advantage of the on-campus bike shop,
with cheaper prices.
You needed a student id to use that shop, though).
* St Athanasius Church: Greek Orthodox. During the
long hot summer of 1985, I toyed with the idea of
going to one of their services. Never made it though.
That fall, though, I did
end up joining a Baptist church off Milpas, though....