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Four Barrel: Ready to Rumble

Driving down Valencia on my way to Slow Food Nation on Friday, I spontaneously swerved into the new Four Barrel Coffee, which was just opened by Jeremy Tooker. We’ve covered it aplenty (here and here), but it was my first personal visit. Yes, the Dynamo Donuts tempt from beneath the glass case (I’m still swooning over the spiced chocolate, which is featured in our current September issue) and the slouching patronage is expected (I don’t want to use the H word, but you know what I mean). The back half is where the roasting is being done.


Jeremy Tooker has a lot to smile about.

The surprisingly big space has Tooker’s style written all over it. It lands somewhere between industrial and Mission District eclectic, the perfect backdrop for tattoos and espresso: Exposed rafters, rustic tables, mismatched chairs, colorful Mission-style art with the required deer thrown in; a swatch of wallpaper, some thick marine-looking rope intertwined with lights hanging from the ceiling; cement floors and a wall of mounted boars’ heads. (This was the only element that confused me; it seems a bit more hunting club than coffee house.)


Four Barrel: an instant scene.

I expect that Ritual Roasters, which Jeremy was originally a founder of, is going to have shorter lines soon. Or maybe there are enough coffee geeks to go around. But let’s just say that between Blue Bottle, Four Barrel and Ritual, the heat is on. Now, pick your poison.