Anyone visiting The Spires won’t have failed to notice this well-established café with its attractive al fresco seating area and steady stream of customers.
The Coffee Bean has a devoted local following who come for good value classic café fare, whether it’s a cooked breakfast, lunchtime panini or bowl of soup, or a coffee break from shopping. Wifi is available, as well as a selection of daily papers.
On my recent visit – a busy Friday lunchtime – I had a succulent salt beef sandwich which was a generous plateful for £5.50, warming and comforting on a wild and windy day. My pot of Earl Grey tea was a fitting accompaniment and my friend who wasn’t in the mood for much to eat enjoyed her almond croissant and tea. The service was friendly and efficient – you need to place your orders at the counter – however, it’s more relaxing away from peak times.
With the closure in 2014 of the Oasis Café opposite in The Spires and Kaffeccino’s on the High Street, Coffee Bean, along with Reni’s, is one of the few remaining independently owned cafés in the town centre. Despite the growing presence of the mega coffee chains, Costa, Starbucks and the new Caffe Nero on the old Harris and Hoole site, it’s reassuring to see Coffee Bean’s popularity hasn’t been dented. That said, the proposed plans for The Spires leave a big question mark over the café gardens and, rather surprisingly, the owners of Coffee Bean were not consulted about the courtyard landscaping (which would also affect Bel Gelato at the other end) and only heard about it when the plans were made public late last year. We’ve got to wait to see what happens on that score but, in the meantime, make the most of this local favourite and watch this space (literally).
20a The Spires, Barnet EN5 5XY
020 8449 2551