Select a scent, pour your own candle at Candles on Tap

Marcus Wandell and Chantel Briann, co-founders of Candles on Tap.

San Diego’s first custom candle bar has opened in Encinitas, giving customers a unique hands-on experience to craft their own candle.

Located in the heart of downtown Encinitas behind Biergarten and Culture Brewing, owners Chantel Briann and Marcus Wandell opened Candles on Tap on Oct. 30 hoping to be a glimmer of light to their local community amidst the pandemic. They hope to inspire creativity and create warm new memories, one custom blend at a time.

“We’re busy, it’s been good,” said Briann of their first month in business. “It’s really fun and people love it so far.”

The candles are made from natural soy wax and skin-safe, premium fragrance oils. Each product is paraben-free, vegan and toxic-free and the lead-free cotton wicks ensure a cleaner and longer burn. In addition to custom soy candles, customers can also create their own reed diffuser or fragrance spray.

Make your own candles at Candles on Tap.

Briann believes that fragrances have the power to “ignite memories, evoke emotions and uplift the mind and soul.” Over three years ago, she taught herself how to make candles by watching YouTube videos. She began making candles in the kitchen of her Ocean Beach condo using a small pesto pot and started her own ecommerce candle business Coco Chantel Candles, sharing her creations online.

“I decided I wanted to grow my business into a brick and mortar shop to share my passion with more people,” said Briann who co-founded Candles on Tap with her partner and boyfriend Wandell in 2019.

The couple, who now lives in Solana Beach, had spent about a year planning the business and then COVID-19 hit. Briann said while they knew it would be risky opening up a shop during the pandemic, they decided to just go with it.

Briann and Wandell spent two months transforming a former yoga studio into the stylish black and white candle bar. The scent wall features nearly 100 different fragrances, a table is set up for custom candle pouring and one wall, the “photo op wall”, reads in bright neon letters: “Stay cozy San Diego”.

The most fun part of the Candles on Tap experience is picking a fragrance (bonus: scents can even be smelled through a mask!) The huge variety of scents include rose petal, eucalyptus and champagne, everything from grassy and citrus elderflower to old books with its leathery, musky and slightly sweet fragrance.

“My favorite is amber musk or mahogany,” Briann said. “Marcus loves the coffee and bourbon scents.”

Candles on Tap features over 100 scents including seasonal fragrances.

The Candles on Tap signature scent is a mix of sage, oakmoss and lavender. For the holidays they have scents of sugar cookie, hot cocoa, mulled cider, candy cane, Balsam fir and Santa’s pipe: sweet and fruity with tobacco notes.

After selecting a scent, customers then have their choice of container from a line of chic options and pour the candle themselves.

The candles do take some time to set so for those who would like to pour a candle and take it home the same day, Briann recommends taking time to explore Encinitas while you wait. Those who don’t mind picking up the candle on another day can return during regular business hours.

In non-COVID times, Candles on Tap envisions hosting workshops, corporate outings and birthday or bachelorette parties. For now, they are taking every precaution to stay safely open and follow every health guideline. Walk-ins are available with capacity limitations to ensure social distancing and reservations can be made at

Candles on Tap is located at 687 S Coast Hwy 101 #155 and is open Tuesday-Saturday: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m.-5 p.m.