Get your caffeine fix at Barclays

Ashley Soley-Cerro

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Not many places could be considered both an ideal study location and date spot, but with the wide variety of delicious beverages, eclectic décor, and friendly service at Barclays Coffee & Tea Co., this coffee shop beats out every coffee chain in the San Fernando Valley in taste, atmosphere, and coolness.

When first walking in, one hears the calming sounds of classical music, but will most likely be distracted by the art-covered walls and stocked shelves of decorative items and coffee related products for sale. It is a wonder such a cozy place can fit such a variety of products and not feel the slightest bit overcrowded.

Everything a coffee lover could want is in this coffee shop, including a few miscellaneous items that are for sale, such as “flashback DVDs” that take the viewer back to whichever year they chose, holiday cards, and dozens of household decorative items.

Before ordering a drink one must try one or two pre-made samples of coffee and tea warmed up and waiting for anyone to try them. The day I visited Barclays, mocha java coffee and chai latté were the tasters.

The friendly staff is patient, and offers helpful suggestions to customize one’s beverage to their individual taste.

Also, before paying for the coffee or tea ordered, take another look at the menu. The usual doughnut, muffins, bagel and cream cheese are available, but upon closer inspection one will also notice an ice cream cooler and cookies, which include some vegan options, too.

Before sitting down one should take a more thorough look at the shop. The artwork on the walls is almost all done by local artists, and is for sale. There is a small bookshelf that has a sign that reads “take a book for free and leave a book to share,” and carries books from authors such as Danielle Steel and David Sedaris. Free magazines are also available. Another sign reading “Help others see, give your old glasses,” sits on a basket where customers can donate old reading glasses.

Customers can leave Barclay’s knowing they are supporting a local coffee shop that is not a chain and has been serving the San Fernando Valley since 1973. Barclay’s is the perfect place to study before class. It is across the street and within walking distance from the Northridge mall, so friends can hang out together and get their caffeine fix before shopping. It’s also the perfect place to take someone for a casual date; and maybe if you’re lucky they will grab one of the dozens of artsy “privacy please” door handle signs for sale on your way out.

*****

Location: 8976 Tampa Ave., Northridge

Hours: M-Th: 7a.m. – 6p.m., F-S: 7a.m. – 9p.m., Su: 9a.m. – 5p.m.