It was Friday afternoon and after a week spent in bed sucking down antibiotics like my life depended on them, I was finally able to venture out into the sun. The first thought I had was, “I need caffeine – STAT”. With a desire to enjoy something outside of the cookie cutter Starbucks chain, I decided to choose from one of the many unique coffee spots that Santa Barbara has to offer and ended up at Handlebar Coffee Roasters . With 2 locations to choose from, I chose their newest location at 2720 De La Vina Street in midtown S.B.
What I love about this particular location, is the industrial warehouse feel to the interior. There are open beam ceilings, plenty of seating inside and outside (which their original location at 128 E Canon Perdido St is a bit short on.) There is a wholesale area, plenty of company “merch” to look at, and let’s not forget – the excellent coffee and eats on offer. Another selling point for me is the fact that they have kombucha on tap to enjoy. I’ve been to both locations plenty of times, and no matter how busy they are – the staff is always extremely friendly and efficient in getting orders out in a timely manner.
On today’s visit, I went with a classic vanilla latte and a delicious chocolate rye cookie. As always, the barista was friendly and engaging and poured a perfect cup of espresso goodness. The cookie was really tasty and I personally liked the fact that it was made with rye flower, you couldn’t exactly taste it but there was a little something “extra” that made it all the more scrumptious. It was difficult choosing my treat, even late in the day there were some very tempting treats on offer – one being some delicious looking avocado toast.
With the owners being former professional cyclists, Handlebar is extremely popular with the manual 2-wheel crowd. If you are at the original location first thing in the morning, especially on a weekend day, be prepared to share the space with more than a few Lycra_wearing enthusiasts. A tip for those that want to find seating easily, I would stop by late morning and after lunchtime. Cyclists aren’t the only welcomed visitors however, this is a very dog friendly spot. I always see doggie bowls filled with fresh water near the door if you happen by with your fur baby.
Since this is obviously one of my semi-regular coffee spots, I’m partial to the Handlebar Coffee scene. Pros are friendly staff, consistent quality coffee, and options available. The only cons I can really state are that the prices are going to be a little higher than a chain, and that the popularity with the cyclist crowd can be a little annoying when you just want to enjoy a low key espresso moment depending on the time and day you visit. Overall, I give Handlebar Coffee Roasters 4/5 🌴🌴🌴🌴