Black Sheep Pub, Nosara
When you envision drinking a cold beer in Costa Rica, you might picture yourself under a thatched roof by the beach or perched atop a mountain after a long hike through the jungle. Chances are, bellying up to a gorgeous wood bar in a very convincing English Pub wouldn’t be on your Costa Rica radar at all. That incongruity is exactly what makes Black Sheep Pub so enticing.
This wonderful respite from the roadside sodas (Costa Rican restaurants) and open air bars was created by Joe Wygal, an American with a deep love for pub culture. Finding no appropriate spots to order a pint in his adopted home of Nosara, he decided to ship his extensive collection of beer signage, memorabilia and ephemera to his Mediterranean home perched on a mountain. Surrounded by the growls of howler monkeys, he created a two room pub (one side German, the other English) and a large beer garden that looks down into a lush green valley. Native Costa Rican hardwoods were sculpted by local artisans to create an impressive bar, backbar, tables, benches and chairs.
It’s a long drive up that mountain to Joe’s home and the adjoining Black Sheep Pub, with steep inclines, muddy passes and the need for four wheel drive and strong nerves. The lush gardens form a sharp contrast to the white stucco faced and terra cotta roofed buildings on the property. The payoff is walking into the bar, which is so startling, it’s like entering a movie set. Every detail is in place and it looks like the bar has been there for decades, aging gracefully with each new coaster added to the wall or bar towel draped behind the taps. Those five taps currently feature the two mainstay beers from Costa Rica’s Craft Brewing Co. (Segua and Libertas) as well as their one-off NZ Pale Ale. Volcano Brewing Co.’s nut brown ale (Gato Malo) and Witch’s Rock Pale Ale round out the offerings.
Joe and his wife Helena are perfect hosts, quick with wonderful stories about their transition to living in Costa Rica, attending Woodstock or the time beer aficionado Michael Jackson stumbled into their former digs near Cambridge. They are as charming and engaging as the property itself. The Black Sheep Pub is accessible by appointment only with a minimum of 12 hours advance notice. Be sure to Like their page on Facebook, and of course, visit them whenever life takes you to Costa Rica.