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Barclay's On College

Barclay's On CollegeBarclay's On College

Taps: - / Bottles: -
Cask: / Beer-to-Go: N

27 Ratings
Ratings: 27
Reviews: 27
rAvg: 4.11
pDev: 9%
$$ - reasonable

[ Bar, Eatery ]

5940 College Ave
Oakland, California, 94618
United States
phone: (510) 654-1650

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

None, yet.

(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
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Ratings: 27 | Reviews: 27
Reviews by johnmichaelsen:
Photo of johnmichaelsen


3.83/5  rDev -6.8%
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
More User Reviews:
Photo of Mark


3.81/5  rDev -7.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4 | food: 3.75 | $$$

Smallish, slightly below street level restaurant and pub in Oakland, right on the Berkeley border. This pub had a very English feel to it in the aspect that it really seemed like a local full of regulars. People seemed to know each other and quite a few guys had shirts on that signified they were "club" members. Large selection of quality beer on tap and two were offered cask conditioned. Food was excellent, very tasy and ample portions. Service was very friendly and our waitress smiled often and found out answers to my questions most happily. Suzanne and I enjoyed our time here and commented on how it really did feel like a true "local". A bit expensive but the pours were Imperial pints and glassware authentic, (British Conical). We liked this place and will return.

This place has become our true local. The staff has gotten to know us and knows our preference for cask ale. They have made efforts to make sure it is available as often as possible. We love hanging out here and the employee's are outstanding. Rowdy is awesome as is Tori. Tori has a great sense of humor and we look forward to joking with her. Terri is great and is a joy to have serve us. all the staff are great and I wish I knew all their names. The last time there was the best. We walked in and were sad to see there was no cask Red Seal, but Rowdy saw us, went to the back, brought out a fresh cask and loaded it on. We were very pleased to say the least and most appreciative. This place is among if not our favorite pub that is not in England!

Sorry to say bad service and attitude last time we visited. Does not rate what I had scored it which I think I made mistakes anyways. The bartender, who knows us, short poured us and ignored us. Prices have gone up, beers are stiff at over six bucks if you don't buy the tokens. Our waitress, same situation as mentioned previously, gave us an attitude the rest of the day because I complained about the pour. I might have been a bit jerky but I did preface my comment and told her later that I was not trying to be difficult. Didn't matter, the attitude continued. We have spent lots of time and had lots of fun in this place. Now we might not go back.

04-03-2014 18:18:10 | More by Mark
Photo of mxchap


4.4/5  rDev +7.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.25 | $

Ahhh Barclay's. What can I say about this place?

To be fair, this has been my current pub-of-choice for the past 2 years. So my opinion is rather biased.

Atmosphere - classic pub with lots of hardwood and beer decorations. Also very family friendly and there are always owners + dogs outside. (4.5)

Quality - the food and beer is great here! (4.25)

Service - BEST BEER SERVICE that I have had (hence why I go here). All of the waitresses either know their stuff or will bring you a taster. If you buy beer chips, you can get 4 imperials pints for ~$20. (5.0)

Selection - The food menu is fairly diverse. However, the beer menu is a bit unbalanced. Always a ton of IPA and Pale Ales on tap. Would love to see more dark beer and cask ales. (4.0)

Food - solid, no complaints. I recommend the pot pie if it is on the daily food specials. Always a winner. (4.25)

Value - Fantastic if you know what you are doing. Either become a Barclay's member if you plan on frequenting ($3 pints 2nd Sunday of every month and prizes as you drink more). Or just buy beer chips and get 4 imperials pints for ~$20. You can't lose!

Give this place a try. It's worth it!

05-19-2013 02:23:39 | More by mxchap
Photo of NorCalScott

4.33/5  rDev +5.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$

I've been going to Barclay's for about five years now during Cal Bears football season and about 3-5X additionally per year. I don't live nearby. I love this pub! Wish my town had something similar. I was just there Sunday night, 1/6/13

Here is the scoop: They have 28 beers on tap at all times. They rotate kegs all the time. If a keg runs out they replace it with something different. Beers from major breweries and smaller pubs so there is always something good to try. Yes, as one guy noted, it is mainly beers from NorCal, but also SoCal, OR, WA, and a few others. They have a Beer Club where you can keep track of what beers you've had as each beer is numbered, they're up to about 1500 now.

A- nothing great but a nice wood & dark green theme. It's a pub. If you want fine dining look elsewhere on College Ave, there are plenty of upscale spots. About 16 tables total, from 2 seats to 8. Bar seating is about 12-15 with an additional side bar of about 5-6. Also a patio at entrance with about 4 small tables. Typical pub decorations in beer signs, some sports stuff. Three 40" HDTV's for sports viewing.

Q- top notch beer & food

S- can vary depending upon how busy they are and, of course, who your waitress is. Most are really good, friendly, and helpful. My fav is Frankie, a true sweetheart.

S- food menu changes regularly just like the beers on tap.

F- really good, and a new chef arrived in Sept/Oct who just kills it. From breakfast/brunch items to burgers, sandwiches, pasta & garden burgers we've had it all and never disappointed.

V- Beers are kinda high at $5.75, but if you buy chips (4 for $19) you can save a few bucks. They do also offer pitchers. Food prices are competitive.

This is a nice neighborhood pub, alot of people know one another. Rory is the undisputed beer guru, he's Barclays' version of Cheer's Norm, but Rory knows a ton about beer.

01-09-2013 03:52:38 | More by NorCalScott
Photo of Seanibus


3.9/5  rDev -5.1%
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
Photo of colonelforbin


4.28/5  rDev +4.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$

A neighborhood spot in North Oakland, near the Berkeley border, with an excellent tap list. You won't find too many Belgian beers or too many imports at all for that matter, but lots of great local hoppy brews and other assorted beers.

Nice wraparound bar, usually filled with the same folks day in an day out. There are many many regulars at Barclay's, more than just about any place I've been. Everyone knows each other here. Comfortable atmosphere all around. 3 TVs are spread about the bar and dining room. Tables cover the area that isn't a bar and there is a small darts area in the back corner. Families often will come here, especially on weekend days. Nice little outdoor patio right below the sidewalk, unfortunately they let people smoke on said patio, which takes away from its charm.

They generally have around 20 beers on tap at a time and plenty of good local brews at that. Usually at least 4-5 solid IPAs or DIPAs are on tap, and other random newer things populate the tap list from time to time. Every beer is numbered from when it first appeared on the tap list. They are somewhere in the mid 2000s now with the number of beers they've served over the years.

One of the better spots in Oakland to grab a beer. Great place for watching games as well, and I hear that the food is pretty good. Only 3 blocks from BART, so that is quite nice as well. Definitely recommended.

11-09-2011 04:17:39 | More by colonelforbin
Photo of Billolick

New York

4.14/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | $$

Visited in August with my non craft beer loving daughter in tow...just about 10 steps below street level, out door seating area, mid sized place with a baseball game on several boob tubes, with a long wooden bar straight ahead as you enter. I/we enjoyed the casual and relaxed vibe, friendly and low pressure service, multiple quality tap options, including several tasty and fresh IPA’s from heavy hitting California brewers. No time for a bite to eat, but the food looked to be interesting and perhaps a notch or two above typical pub grub. All in all a worthy destination for quality brew in an easy to relax and enjoy kind of atmosphere.

10-22-2011 14:51:52 | More by Billolick
Photo of DaveHS


4.3/5  rDev +4.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$

My new neighborhood spot. About 20 taps, all really good stuff. They had an events calendar above the bar that included a "Hair of the Dog brunch." Sounds good to me. A few beers on tap seemed to have been brewed exclusively for them, including a blended, barrel aged sour. There's plenty of table and bar space inside, but we sat outside at one of the lawn furniture tables. Very pleasant on a quiet night in North Oakland. Tap highlights included locally made Oktoberfest beers from Iron Springs and Firestone, Russian River Damnation 23 and a few barrel aged/sour beers I've never heard of before. You can tell a lot of thought and effort goes into their tap selections. Top notch.

10-16-2011 18:26:15 | More by DaveHS
Photo of MonkeymooTJ


4.22/5  rDev +2.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5 | $$

Barclays is a small, intimate bar/eatery in the heart of a trendy Oakland neighborhood. I was a little worried when visiting thinking that it would be an uppity/trendy crowd. On the contrary, it was an extremely laid back crowd with very friendly service. It is small as I mentioned with only about 10 seats at the bar and enough table seating for around 50 people. There is also a patio in the front of the building that is just a few steps below street level.

Inside there were 20 beers on tap of mostly local brews. It had a rustic look with old beer bottles on display on one of the walls. I ordered a Pliny and the server returned with it within 5 minutes. She seemed very knowledgeable as my wife had a question about who brewed a certain beer and she was able to answer it without hesitation.

The food selection was decent, a lot of pub grub, but also some interesting sandwiches and appetizers. I ordered the fish and chips, which was decent and my wife ordered a chicken pesto provolone sandwich that she really enjoyed

All in all, I was really impressed with this place. It was really nice to see that craft beer can still remain in a neighborhood that values its fine wine. The service was great, and it is family friendly for those of you with kids. I will be frequenting this place again

07-04-2011 01:37:01 | More by MonkeymooTJ
Photo of mckeehn


2.66/5  rDev -35.3%
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
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Barclay's On College in Oakland, CA
91 out of 100 based on 27 ratings.