Weird California
Weird California
Weird California - By Joe Parzanese

A&W Root Beer Barrel Stands

Map Barrel
27115 Twenty Mule Team Road, Boron, California 93516

Map El Indio De Tijuana Taco Shop
810 North Broadway, Escondido, California 92025

Map Angel Petals
1542 Highland Avenue, National City, California 91950

A former A&W Barrel in Escondido
A former A&W Barrel in Escondido

Original A&W Root Beer stand
Original A&W Root Beer stand

June 1919, Lodi, California, Roy Allen sells his first root beer for a nickel. Allen eventually took on a partner in 1922, Frank Wright, and together they formed A&W Root Beer, the name originating from the first letter of each of their last names. Their first A&W restaurant was in 1923 in Sacramento. Although several different types of stands and restaurants were created to serve up their delicious, frothy, A&W Root Beer, one of the more intereting ones was the barrel stand. Literally, a giant barrel with walk up windows, several of these were made and distributed all around California and the west.

Although the barrel A&W Root Beer stands are for the most part long gone, a few still reside in California, just no longer as root beer stands. Six appear to still be in California, the majority of them down in the San Diego area: El Cajon, San Diego, National City, and Escondido, with one additional barrel in the middle of the state in the small town of Boron. There is also a former stand in Mesa, Arizona and Amarillo, Texas.

Boron

For years an orange with black stripes giant barrel has been in Boron serving up food and is one of these former A&W stands. It's basically a food stand with a small outdoor eating area consisting of a few tables and some picnic benches. The giant barrel has a walk-up window, and the place serves all sorts of the usual fast food such as hamburgers, hot dogs, french fries, tacos, etc. At one point it was painted white and called Dinky's. Now, it is just called simply "Barrel" which seems much more fitting.

The Barrel in Boron
The Barrel in Boron
The Barrel in Boron
The Barrel in Boron
The Barrel in Boron
The Barrel in Boron

Escondido

Back in the seventies this was Michael's Drive In, but today it is El Indio de Tijuana. It has a orange and yellow striped paint job.

Escondido Barrel
Escondido Barrel
Escondido Barrel
Escondido Barrel
Escondido Barrel
Escondido Barrel

National City

The National City location operates as a florist now called Angel Petals. It is currently a white and blue paint scheme but was more of a cyan previously.

National City Barrel
National City Barrel
National City Barrel
National City Barrel
National City Barrel
National City Barrel

Other Locations

The other former A&W Root Beer stands not featured in this article are:

The El Cajon location is currently housing Rosendo's Taco Shop, but has in the past been called Variety Barrel in the seventies, and El Barrilito in 2001. Rosendo's appeared no later than 2008 along with the barrel having a fresh orange and yellow striped paint job. The San Diego location has been called Barrel of Flowers, Angels U Flowers and Gifts, IB Printing, and as of today, CBD Superstore. It has undergone a few different paint jobs. Vaqueros Carne Asada is a 24 hour Mexican food stand.

Giant Barrel of Boron
Giant Barrel of Boron
Giant Barrel of Boron
Giant Barrel of Boron
Escondido Barrel
Escondido Barrel
National City Barrel
National City Barrel

Two other buildings featuring barrels in California include the Idle Hour Cafe in Los Angeles, which is literally a restaurant in three giant attached barrels, and La Botte Italian Restaurant in Lompoc which has three giant barrels to the left of the main door. Additionally at one point, Vallejo had the Barrel Club on the Lincoln Highway. The Barrel Club had a very large barrel on its right corner.


Last Edited: 2020-07-09


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