Down-to-earth Sebastopol in Sonoma wine country just got a dose of cosmopolitan chic with the launch of Handline, a contemporary take on the Californian roadside drive-in.

Nodding to the site’s former life as a beloved local fast-food hangout, the restaurant kept the original 1960s ice cream machine, which continues swirl soft-serve. But instead of sugary soda, however, the bar serves kombucha on tap, seasonal fruit agua fresca, cold brew coffee, and an extensive roster of local wines and craft beers- perfect to wash down a menu that features house-made corn tortillas for Baja-style tacos, ceviches using sustainable West Coast seafood and burgers made with pastured beef or vegan patties.

Working with designer Sean Quigley of studio RareField Design/Build, founders Natalie Goble and Lowell Sheldon have created an open-plan space with translucent screens that blur the boundary between the 50-seat indoor and picnic table-dotted outdoors. Taking a cue from Northern California’s coastline, the restaurant uses a motif of waves, created by rusted steel and oxidised oak that contrast with stark concrete floors. 

Landscape designer Gary Ratway repurposed the lot’s existing asphalt into gabion walls; herbs are planted on louvred and perforated steel partitions, already attracting the honeybees from the next-door beekeeping supply shop.