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Barnhouse Napa Brews: a new Napa 'hangout'

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Adam Housley and Eric Barnes spent years working together and traveling the world with FOX news.

Both men are big coffee drinkers and figure they’ve talked over countless cups in cities spanning nine countries.

“We constantly checked out new places,” said Adam.

The places they really liked were the ones with a comfortable vibe, places where you could relax and be yourself. So when they were brainstorming the concept for Barnhouse Napa Brews they were in agreement about virtually every aspect of it.

“Napa has so many good bars, tasting rooms, and restaurants, but it needed someplace where everybody feels welcome to just hang out.”

Barnhouse Napa Brews is modeled on an English pub, and it seems the guys have created a spot that matches or exceeds their vision.

“When most people think ‘pub’ they think ‘beer and party’, but a true pub is much more than that,” said Adam.

Barnhouse opened in late October at 1004 Clinton St., and it already has a faithful following.

“You may come in after work for a pint, a glass of wine or something to eat and feel right at home,” said Eric, “But this is also the place to come for that morning cup of coffee and pastry.”

Eric got his love of coffee from his mom, and there is a special blend named in her honor. “Dee Dee’s Diner is a smoky blend she would have loved.”

Everything Barnhouse serves is as local as possible. “We feature Harvest Blend and our own ‘Barnhouse’ coffee. We teamed up with Diane and Pat Bentley from Lake Berryessa and carry their coffee as well.” Every cup is all the better with Dream Doughnuts, Sammy Cakes and Sweet Abe’s, all local favorites.

As good as the coffee is, the prices are very reasonable.

“The beans are sourced straight from Latin America and Africa, so besides being good our coffee is super affordable,” said Adam.

“Later in the day we serve Sausage Rolls and Bailey’s English Pies and Pasties,” said Adam, adding that Bailey’s has been a favorite at the Napa Farmers Market for years.

“We had English soccer players in, and they gave the food a thumbs up.” Napa Nuts and popcorn round out their grab and go menu. Look for Paninis and bagels soon.

Then there’s the beer, and the partners keep it local here as well, with Tannery Bend, Napa Barrel Project, Far West Cider and Drakes.

“We also carry Crabbies Ginger Beer, which the English soccer coach suggested, and it’s really, really good.” Coach also introduced them to PG Tips English Tea, which locals seem to like. Barnhouse also serves ciders, seltzers, wines by the glass, sodas and kombucha.

The first thing you notice entering Barnhouse is how inviting a place it is.

“A British Pub designed by two Americans,” laughed Adam, as the guys worked closely with the designer/actress Alexis Fields and Adam's wife Tamera Mowry-Housley to create the vibe and helped with a bunch of the physical buildout.

This place is just what they designed it to be – comfortable. The walls are wood for a Barnhouse effect, with corrugated aluminum trim and tiles. The bar is on one side as you walk in, sofas and two-tops are opposite it. Two wall fireplaces provide warmth and aesthetic comfort.

The back room (“We call it ‘Shack in the Back,’” said Eric) has a couple of dartboards and a table-top shuffleboard court. Counterspace separates the two rooms.

One morning, two moms and their sons were sitting by one fireplace, four or five laptops were open at tables and the countertop and a small meeting was being held in the back.

The partners spent 15 years working together at Fox News, Adam as an international correspondent and Eric as a photographer. Both left Fox in 2018.

Adam and Tamara opened Housley wines, four doors down from Barnhouse and also on Clinton, and Eric worked for National Geographic, photographing expeditions for Lindblad. Eric’s work disappeared with COVID. The two friends were reunited at a wedding last year, and Eric confided to Adam that he was thinking about opening a coffee shop.

“No way,” said Adam. He pulled out his phone and showed Eric the logo he had designed the week before – for a coffee shop he was thinking about opening. Becoming partners was a no-brainer.

“I trust Eric completely. His standards are as high as mine, and this is a perfect relationship.” Eric thought about the name for the new business and kept going back to their two last names — Barnes and Housley. “Barnhouse, a blend of our names, seemed perfect. Adam agreed, and here we are.”

Barnhouse Napa Brews is open daily at 1004 Clinton St., Napa, 707-690-6272, barnhousenapa.com

About a dozen Napans have lived in a homeless community called "the Bowl" for years. This week they had to move out. All tents and structures will be demolished and the area cleared. Take a look at the scene, and the people, here.

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You can reach reporter Jennifer Huffman at 256-2218 or jhuffman@napanews.com

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