Cafe & Gallery
Founded in 1958, the original Coast Gallery spent its early days as a refuge for artists and writers who migrated to Big Sur after World War II. Commonly referred to as “The Bank,” the gallery served as a place for this community to gather and for their artwork to be sold and exhibited.
Within the following decade, the gallery fell into disrepair, and in 1971, it was purchased by an Oregonian English professor-turned-candlemaker. Merely six months later, a massive storm clogged a faulty drainage culvert, flooding the gallery and leaving the owner with the task of completely rebuilding his brand-new space. Budgetary restraints forced the owner to think outside the box, and thus led him to two Redwood water tanks, which had formerly served as the Oak Naval Hospital’s water storage facility for 19 years.
Milled from old-growth Redwood trees, each tank measures 34 feet across, which is nearly the diameter of General Sherman, the largest known tree in the world. When standing inside the water tank, one can begin to comprehend the enormous size of the trunk of the massive Sequoia, some 200 miles inland from Coast.
The third water tank was added in 1990, along with a second story and the spiral staircase connecting the two. The deck on the roof of the original lower tank was built in 1994 to provide outdoor seating for what was then known as Coast Café.
In 2015, the owner put the gallery up for sale, and in April of 2016, Coast Gallery was purchased by Peter and Merle Mullin. Part-time residents of Big Sur for decades, Peter and Merle would often stop by Coast Gallery during their drives along Highway 1 to admire both the artwork and the breathtaking view this iconic space has to offer. As a collector of cars and artwork himself, Peter took an interest in the gallery from the moment he first encountered it. Together, he and Merle are proud to have ushered Coast Gallery into its third life, renaming it COAST Big Sur and a creating a unique atmosphere that honors the building’s past life while also looking ahead to the possibilities its future might hold.
About The Location
Big Sur, Ca
The rugged coastline of Big Sur is world renowned. Framed by the Santa Lucia Mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west, the unincorporated area has long been a tourist destination for luxurious retreats, hiking, camping and beachcombing. COAST is located only seven miles south of the popular tourist destination Pfeiffer Beach and five miles north of McWay Falls, which displays a stunning waterfall off the California coast.