BARNHOUSE Napa Brews
By Craig Smith
If he’s on duty, some who walk into BarnHouse Napa Brews will be greeted by Leaf. Unless, that is, he’s taking a nap or chewing on his tennis ball. First things first, after all.
Leaf is a one-year-old black and white Border Collie, and belongs to Eric Barnes, who, with Adam Housley, opened BarnHouse in late October. Leaf sets the mood for BarnHouse in Downtown Napa – this is a place where you can relax and be yourself. It’s modeled on an English Pub, where you can start the day with a coffee and pastry, and wrap it up with a pint or glass of wine and something to eat. “When most people think ‘pub’ they think ‘beer and party,’ but a true pub is much more than that,” said Adam.
The two men spent years working together and traveling the world with Fox News. Both are big coffee drinkers, and figure they’ve talked over countless cups in cities spanning nine countries. Based on all that “research,” both men knew what they wanted BarnHouse to look and feel like. Pubs lined up perfectly with their vision. “Napa has so many good bars, tasting rooms and restaurants, but it needed someplace where everybody feels welcome to just hang out,” said Adam. Seems the guys have created a spot that matches or exceeds their vision.
BarnHouse Napa Brews is faithfully committed to being local, starting with the coffee. “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. 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.” That’s how to start your morning.
“Later in the day we serve Bailey’s Best sausage rolls, savory 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.
The beer is local as well, with Tannery Bend, Napa Barrel Project, Far West Cider and Drake’s on tap. “We also carry Crabbie’s Alcoholic 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, fabric and a beautiful tile backsplash. Front room furnishings include sofas and chairs and a couple of two-top tables. Two wall fireplaces provide warmth and aesthetic comfort. And, of course, a comfortable spot for Leaf’s naps.
The back room (“We call it ‘Shack in the Back,’” said Eric) has a couple of dart boards 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 fifteen years working together at Fox News, Adam as an international correspondent and Eric as a photographer. Both left Fox in 2018. Adam and Tamera opened Housley Napa Valley tasting room, four doors down from BarnHouse, and also on Clinton Street in Downtown Napa, 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. 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.”
1004 Clinton St., Napa | 707-690-6272 | barnhousenapa.com | Open Sun. - Wed. 7 a.m. - 8 p.m. | Thurs. - Sat. 7 a.m. - 10 p.m.