Welcome to the Crows Nest

Crow's Nest is golden! Celebrating 50 years of fun! *

Located right on the beach where the Harbor meets the sea, The Crow's Nest is one of Santa Cruz' most beloved restaurants. For over 50 years guests have returned again and again for breathtaking panoramic views of Santa Cruz Harbor, lighthouse and wharf, and to enjoy award-winning cuisine, spirits and live entertainment.

Daily breakfast, lunch and dinner in our downstairs dining room offer fresh seafood, pasta creations, Midwestern aged beef and daily chef's specials. Upstairs, the Breakwater Bar & Grill features a variety of appetizers and casual meals throughout the day, and dancing to live entertainment by night.

On both levels, expansive shoreline decks offer a friendly, casual atmosphere, where rich woods, luminous works of glass art, and a unique collection of vintage surfboards and surfing photographs complete the unforgettable ambiance.

The Crow's Nest is truly the flagship restaurant of the California coast.

Check out our super-fun Beach Market right next door!
Wood-fired pizza, gourmet sandwiches and salads, beverages, ice cream and a unique selection of fine gifts.


* Celebrating 50 years of Fun!

50 years ago a Santa Cruz tradition was born. In that year, two visionary restaurateurs acquired a sleepy coffee shop, complete with outdoor patio and picnic tables, named The Harbor House. Located out in the sticks at the newly created Santa Cruz Harbor, this magnificent location showed great promise. Powered by cans of Coors and Snickers bars, Mike McClellan and Mike Clark soon got to work on their vision. The remodeled property opened as “The Crow’s Nest” in May of 1969 and featured a full bar, indoor and outdoor seating, and live entertainment. Being somewhat out of the way, things started out pretty quiet, but soon, with mixed drinks at 65 cents and their formula of free wine and salad bar with each entrée, things were looking up. As Santa Cruz and the Harbor continued to grow, so did the popularity of this spectacular meeting spot.

After many successful years, in 1978 McClellan and Clark handed the Crow’s Nest helm to general managers Bob Munsey and Ted Burke. A major remodel in 1983 added the second-story lounge, and expanded seating in the restaurant and on the scenic upstairs beach deck. In 2010, long-time manager Charles Maier purchased the now legendary Crow's Nest. Having worked his way up through the ranks as a Crow’s Nest employee for many years, Maier was well-suited to take the helm. His philosophy is to keep the offerings that have made Crow's Nest great, and to add some fresh ideas as well. Under his leadership, Crow's Nest has begun a daily breakfast menu, opened the Beach Market, and established a bakery next door where fresh breads are baked daily for the dining room.

Through the years, Crow’s Nest has employed thousands of local youth, and supported countless charitable causes for our community. Our deepest commitment, though, has always been to our loyal guests who return again and again to be part of the extended family that has become the Crow’s Nest. Today, the original ambiance of picnic tables on that first scenic dock lives on in our Beach Market right next door, which continues to attract people for its rustic charm, beautiful views, and outdoor ambiance.

The dream of two restaurateurs over 50 years ago continues to grow and prosper – Thank you for being a part of it!

Crow's Nest - Good as Gold since 1969


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