RecommendationSophia Miles, Co-Owner of the Deer Lodge in Ojai, California, shares her story of owning the bar and her recommendations for where to eat and drink in Ojai as part of the Dirt Road Travels city travel guide for Ojai.

Ojai, California

Deer Lodge

"It's got a lot of time under its belt."

Chief's Peak
The Ojai Vineyard
Majestic Oaks

Deer Lodge

"It's got a lot of time under its belt."

"Head to Papa Lennon's for pizza in Ojai."
Recommended by:
Jeff Lennon
Owner, Papa Lennon's
Recommended in:
Ojai, California

Jeff's Take

"The Deer Lodge is historical. It's got a lot of time under it's belt, and is definitely worth checking out."

Sophia Miles, Co-Owner of the Deer Lodge

Our Story

"I moved back home to Ojai from San Francisco and managed the Deer Lodge for a year before the owner's offered to sell it. I paired up with another local girl that I went to high school with to buy it, and we're going on two years of running it.

Chief's Peak Ojai Vineyard Majestic Oaks

Ojai is a small town where everyone feels like they own everything. The Deer Lodge has been here since 1932, so especially with a place that's been around this long, there are lots of opinions. We're sensitive to that fact because we grew up here. We're not outsiders coming in, we want this to be a local spot, we want it to stay a mom-and-pop shop where everybody's treated like family."

My Advice for Others

"I bought the Deer Lodge as a twenty-six-year-old female, so it's easy to be overlooked. 

Don't ever let someone else taking you less seriously get you down, because nine times out of ten, you're smarter than the people that you're dealing with, and that's why you're in the position you're in. 

It's almost like an advantage at that point, so be like, 'I'm at an advantage because you think I'm less than I am. Well, I'm going to take advantage of that.'

What I Love Most about Ojai

"Its accessibility to pretty much any walk of life. We're 20 minutes from the beach and some of the best surf spots, like Rincon and Ventura Point. People come from all over the world to surf this area, then we're another ten to fifteen minutes from great hiking, and if you want to do the bigger stuff, we're forty minutes from Santa Barbara and an hour from LA."

My Local Musts

"Downtown Ventura has always been known as a hippy, small surfer town. It still is, but they're really upping their food scene and it's beautiful. Spots like Fluid State is awesome for pizza, and the beer scene is great with Topa Topa, MadeWest and Ventura Coast Brewing Company.

In Ojai, the 2 best local spots for breakfast are Cafe Emporium and Bonnie Lu's, and Beacon Coffee is really great too. I always take people to OBC - Ojai Beverage Company - because they're our friends. Otherwise, Nocciola is great for really, really quality Italian food, and wineries like Majestic Oaks and Ojai Vineyard are great."

Deer Lodge


Deer Lodge
Sophia Miles
Deer Lodge
Chief's Peak
"Just the little prettiest bar in town."
The Ojai Vineyard
"Grab some wine at Ojai Vineyard."
Majestic Oaks
"It's real low key, and not too douchey."
Deer Lodge
"It's got a lot of time under its belt."

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