8 Reasons Why You Should Head to Guerneville Right Now

Boon Eat + Drink (Photo by Kelly Pulieo)

If Guerneville was a cat, surely it would be approaching at least its fifth life by now. Originally a logging town back in the 1800s, it then welcomed San Franciscans who wanted to summer by the river in the 1950s. The hippies joyfully took up residence in the ’70s and the LGBTQ+ community turned it into a party hot spot in the ’80s (the fabulousness remains). When the market crashed in 2008, chef and hotelier Crista Luedtke (yes, of Food Network fame) moved from San Francisco to Guerneville and started to breathe new life into the town (she currently owns Boon Hotel + Spa, Boon Eat + Drink, and Brot, and is a co-owner at The Highlands). S.F. foodies soon followed and the rest is Wine Country history. Since the pandemic, a number of other S.F. transplants have migrated north and are not only calling Guerneville home, but setting up must-visit hotels, bars and shops as well. Now is the time to visit, before the secret gets out!


The Stavrand

13555 Highway 116

Hotelier Emily Glick purchased what was an aging boutique property, located minutes off of Main Street, at the beginning of the pandemic. After a year spent meticulously upgrading rooms and beautifying common spaces, the result is accessible luxury at its finest. Peacefully nestled in the redwoods, the guest rooms are all unique, nine with fireplaces, and all are decked out with many luxe amenities that only add to the charm factor. The dinner service (available Thurs – Sun) is only open to guests and highly recommended. Young, inventive and extremely talented is the best way to describe the culinary team. Only a tasting menu is offered, so come hungry.


Boon Eat + Drink

16248 Main Street

Chef Crista is passionate about cooking seasonally and so you can expect to experience the best of Wine Country regardless of when you visit. If you love California cuisine, you will love this eatery. The vegetarian and vegan dishes are so delicious even carnivores won’t be able to resist.


Big Bottom Market 

16228 Main Street

Originally part of Luedtke’s culinary empire, Big Bottom Market is probably best known for its biscuits (the tasty treats were even named one of Oprah’s favorite things in 2016), but the sandwiches are worth a lunchtime visit. Grab a glass of wine, snag one of the sidewalk tables and watch the world go by.



16218 Main Street

The winter months are the perfect time to indulge in Bavarian cuisine and Brot is our first choice. Schnitzel, spatzle, wursts and, of course, those deliciously sinful pretzels pair perfectly with the curated list of German beers.

three short cocktail glasses
El Barrio (Photo by Kelly Puleio)

El Barrio

16230 Main Street

This upscale Mexican cocktail lounge has city vibes for days — and the expert mixologists to match. The atmosphere is cozy and welcoming and the snacks are an elevated take on authentic favorites. This is a spot you’ll want to return to over and over again.


Equality Vines 

16215 Main Street

Founded by Matt Grove and Jim Obergefell (the lead plaintiff in the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage in the U.S.), this quaint tasting room serves up limited-release wines that are not only delicious, but a portion of the proceeds support various human rights organizations. Be sure and ask about the stories behind the labels.


Porter-Bass Vineyard & Winery

11750 Mays Canyon Road

A visit to Guerneville’s most beloved vineyard is a must. Tastings take place under an ancient walnut tree with wine bottles set up on a plank of wood that rests on two barrels. Luke Bass, the winemaker, is one of the area’s winemaking pioneers and specializes in organic and biodynamic pinots, chardonnays and zinfandels. Reservations are required.


Saucy Mama’s Jook Joint

16632 Highway 116

Owner and barbecue wizard Yvette Bidegain was heralded for her local pop-ups, but she has recently moved into a permanent brick-and-mortar and locals could not be more thrilled. Down-home cooking, warm hospitality and live music if you’re lucky to turn up on the right night. Open Tuesday through Sunday 4 to 9 p.m.

clear wine bottle with get your own damn coffee on label
Courtesy of Equality Vines