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Barclay's On College
Taps: - / Bottles: -
Cask: / Beer-to-Go: N
$$ - reasonable
[ Bar, Eatery ]
5940 College Ave
phone: (510) 654-1650
(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Ratings & Reviews
« first ‹ prev
| Reviews: 27
vibe: 4 | quality: 2 | service: 2 | selection: 3.5 | $$$
I'm a big beer fan and since a trip to the Kingston Brewpub a big cask ale fan.
This weekend I went all the way to Oakland to get me some; Barclay's would be my first stop. It was the first time I ever entered this bar.
This Bar is one of three in Oakland which reputedly has Beer Engines. Upon arrival I saw the engines on the back wall. The waitress was completely clueless about cask ale. When she asked what I wanted to drink I asked what she had on the engines. I clarified when she answered only with a perplexed look. "What do you have on your beer engines" At which point she began running down her whole tap list. So I clarified again "The ones that you pump" OH! Now she gets it. "I'm sorry that keg ran out." "Let me see if they will put another one on. " To which she approaches the bar tender who shakes her head 'no'. She returns with regrets and we politely excuse ourselves and we leave the pub to go to Ben 'n' Nick's Bar down the street, whom, yes, did have a cask tapped and ready to go. I will say that the staff was polite and nice which is a plus.
Why such a negative review over what some would see as a small issue? I REALLY like cask ale, far more than regular beer. It is extremely hard to get. And I was faced with this situation.
1. I wanted a specialty item.
2. I found places that carried it.
3. I traveled for an hour to get it.
4. Upon arrival the staff was not knowledgeable about the item desired.
5. Investigation showed the item to be out of stock.
6. No constructive information on when restocking could/would occur was offered.
My constructive hat. You can stop reading here if suggestions for improvement are not of interest. First I am just a customer who likes beer and bars, I have never been an owner nor employee of any food service nor drinking establishment. So one layman's opinion is all that it amounts to.
If you are going to carry specialty items to gain a wide area draw, appeal, and brand distinction in a highly competitive market (e.g. MY bar is better because I carry XXX) recognize some people will travel greater than normal distances to your establishment specifically because of that item. They would like to see.
A. A staff that knows the basics about the specialty item. My waitress doesn't even know what I mean when I refer to a "beer engine" am I to be so confident that an item which has very VERY particular care and serving requirements has been cared for and prepared properly? Contrast with the Henry House in Halifax, whose waitress instantly started running down the ins and outs of cask ale, as it differed from "normal" beer, the instant that I ordered one, to ensure the less fizzy warmer ale is what I really wanted. (And yes, yes it was what I really wanted)
B. The item is in stock. Hard deal I know with cask ale seeing that it only keeps for about 3 days once you drive the spile into the shive. But some effort and the right equipment (1 atm cask breather) can keep the ale fresh long enough to last at least 10 days without substantially altering the flavor or feel. So seeing how when properly stored it keeps for 3 weeks to a month, and when properly served keeps for more than a week, my sympathy for not having any available is quite small.
End result today, you passed up the opportunity to form a positive relationship with a first time customer and sent him down the road to a competitor.
10-06-2009 17:12:28 |
More by mckeehn
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5 | $$
Atmosphere is kind of like a sport bar with limited dining inside and almost as much on the patio outside. Similar to a college bar with good beer and food.
Wooden tables, chairs, waiting area, and bar with TV screens. Did not use the restroom.
Service is prompt almost to the point of a rush, probably cause of the limited seating.
Good selection with a couple of cask, one brewed by English Ales that I had at the Englander in San Leandro. Lots of local micros on the beer menu including Magnolia's Proving Ground IPA, Racer 5, Pliny the Elder, etc...
Healthy items on the menu and the food was good.
04-30-2005 08:10:55 |
More by Troyone
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | $$
Brewbacca was good enough to show me this place after a meeting of the Bay Area Mashers. Barclay's had a strange vibe. It was kind of yuppie family meets college kids meets sports bar crowd vibe. It kind of threw me off especially when I saw all the taps. As I recall there were quite a few of them (I remember about 25) along with at least one nitro, and two casks. Most of them were regional including selections from Drakes, Sierra Nevada (including BF on tap), Moon Light, Deschutes, E.J. Phair, and something from the local Pyramid. Some of the other breweries featured included New Belgium (just Fat Tire) and Guinness. Service was fine nothing to bitch about but nothing to write home about either. Didnt try the food. Wasnt blown away but it seemed like a good place to get a general feel for the various breweries in the area and their most popular offerings.
05-17-2006 21:03:05 |
More by DaPeculierDane
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$$
Stopped for dinner after another full day of wine tasting. Barclay's consists of a smallish dining area, located a bit below the street (College avenue), with no more than 10 or so tables and chairs, with another 12 to 20 spots at the bar and side bar area. The vibe is very informal and laid back, and on this day (Saturday evening early), there was a fairly good size, boisterous crowd, filling up the place (we were very happy to find a couple of empty spots at the bar).
In terms of the beer, there were some 28 beers on tap this day, with no crap on tap. I think they have a fairly decent bottle selection as well, but the draft selection was more than sufficient to keep me happy. Other than guinness and boddington's, there were no imports on tap, which I thought a bit unusual (considering the size of the draft list). As for the craft selection, other than the one beer from NB (snow day), everything I saw on tap was from either California (mostly norcal) or Oregon.
Food was pretty good I thought, and I was very happy with my ceasar salad (the dressing tasted as if at some point it might actually have come in contact with an anchovie), and the quesadilla my friend had was also quite good.
Prices for beer I thought were just a bit on the high side, with imperial pints going for an acceptable $5.75, but then "premium" beers such as blind pig going for $5.75 a regular pint.
All things considered, Barclay's is a pretty nice place, especially if you happen to live in the neighborhood. On the other hand...
One of the things that really stood out was the lack of any Belgians, any strong ales, any barleywines, any DIPA's or any imperial stouts. It's winter time here in California (or at least for what passes for winter), so if not now, when? Frankly, it's pretty hard to reach any conclusion except that this is an intentional decision on the part of management here, one I assume was made for financial reasons. Obviously, they could provide things like stone RIS, old foghorn, bigfoot and the like, but I assume to do so they would have to revamp their pricing structure (currently there is a set price for beers by the pint/imperial pint - depending on whether you're getting a premium beer or regular beer, half pint [which I think is very cool], sample size, pitcher, or wheat glass size). It's a shame, as while I was happy with my glass of blind pig and imperial pint of SN weizenbock, it would have been nice to have seen a few high end beers on tap as well. Oh well...
One other comment I should make I guess... my girl friend reminded me that I now live in Baltimore, and so perhaps I'm not the best judge of food at many of the places we visit here in California. Her point is well taken, as there's no doubt that the standard for cuisine is just a bit higher in California than what I've come to expect in Baltimore. So while I thought the food here was surprisingly good, I have to concede that for beer bars and brewpubs here in California, what I encountered today may just be the norm.
02-05-2012 02:56:46 |
More by johnmichaelsen
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
Kind of noisy, but a fun place to meet for a beer and some food after work. Not much to look at, atmosphere-wise - a downstairs restaurant in a non-descript modern commercial building. It aims "Quirky" by using some mismatched, distressed furniture. Not sure if it works, but not bad. The beer list is quite good, however, which is the whole point, including a great selection of local Bay Area beers and California regionals with some other stuff thrown in. The menu is conventional pub, but reasonably well stocked and appealing. My companion and I both had the taco special, which was good - small, but tasty. The service is hip, friendly, and informal.
01-14-2012 01:29:59 |
More by Seanibus
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4
I must have walked past this place about 30 times before finally going in there. I actually lived just a mile from the place for about two years.
It is actually located below street level giving a a bit of a Cheers feel. Simple wooden bar and tables, plenty of seating inside and a patio outside which is nice during the summer. Great selection of beers, about thirty taps and two casks, they do not have any bottles.
Also to top it all off, the grub is good to boot with good portions. I like the fish and chips, goes great with a nice brown ale of your choosing.
02-12-2004 04:50:12 |
More by Bang34
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
A nice big open bar with a small outdoor patio area. This place is basement level and located in the excellent Rockridge neighberhood. Beer selection is great with a ton of taps and a lot of one off beer sI've not seen elsewhere. Food is basic pub grub, but executed well. Service is fast and friendly, clientele is cool but a bit yuppyish. Prices are reasonable for rockridge and the quality of the beers is always good. Good place definately part of the one-two rockridge crawl with ben and nicks.
02-09-2008 06:11:17 |
More by francisweizen
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
Went here a few weeks ago on my way to talk about beer.
Very, very BART accessible. Damn that's a good way to go. Seriously, walk the two blocks and call it aday.
Lots of tv's in this place on a Sunday. Sadly subjected to a Raider's game!
Service was a little surly in terms of asking about things like "Hey, you gotta Moonlight or on the engines?" "Check the board!"
Otherwise, a solid (if not uber exciting) lineup of beers and decent food to keep you going. Really nice place to spend a lazy afternoon.
Had: Bridgeport IPA, Schooner APA, Trumer Pils. Pickle chips are awesome.
10-06-2007 11:17:58 |
More by drewbage
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
A good place to go for a beer if you're in the area, or looking to watch a college or NFL game. The atmosphere has a sporty, vaguely ex-frat boy vibe on weekend afternoons, which can be a good or bad thing depending on your age or interests. On weeknights the crowd seems more local and has a friendly neighborhood feel-- yuppy neighborhood, but neighborhoodly nonetheless. The beer selection emphasizes locals, and many of them are uncommon to find on tap. Quality of beer and serving glasses is very good to excellent.
01-22-2008 03:28:08 |
More by bcm119
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
A great location and a great atmosphere. Barclay's caters to a wide variety of customers, from college to local to people just stopping by because of the other places on the block.
Plenty of beers to choose from and a knowlegable staff who is also friendly. I've stopped in for a pint a couple of times and can just feel myself relax, allowing time to drift by. I felt very much at home.
I have not tried any food at Barclay's (ok, fries, but I won't base any review on that, despite how good they were). For me and friends, it is mostly a place to meet for a pint.
09-27-2005 04:34:09 |
More by misterscooter
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Barclay's On College in Oakland, CA
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