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Enjoying a nocturnal meal at The Night Owl

As an avid coffee shop goer, I am always on the lookout for new, local coffee shops that are open late and suitable for studying. In the restricting depths of a small town, there are few internet cafés that are open past midnight. Although there are no 24-hour cafés in the area that would fulfill a student’s dream, The Night Owl in downtown Fullerton is the next best thing.

Open from 8 a.m.-3 a.m. daily, Night Owl exudes an intimate, relaxed atmosphere that offers a charming environment for thought-provoking late night conversations, last-minute cramming for a test or simply as a place to unwind in cool company and warm couches.

Much to my dismay, I was faced with an immediate shortage of seating as I walked into the small cafe. I noticed that the seating inside was a combination of mismatched antique furniture. The structure of the room itself was eclectic and disorderly, as there was no uniform style of decoration. Colorful paintings were strewn across the wall and various owl figurines adorned every corner of the compact room, giving the café a welcoming, living room-esque vibe. The outside seating on the patio was more spacious. There was a significant amount of communal wooden benches and tables, along with a small stage for open mic nights and local music acts.

As for the food, the Night Owl is known for integrating hemp milk into the drinks, so I opted for the hot chocolate with hemp milk and a chocolate muffin on the side. With the hemp, my drink reached a whopping $5.95 for the larger, 16 oz. size versus the smaller, 12 oz. size. Although pricey, the hemp added a distinctive flavor to the traditional hot chocolate. It was creamy, nutty and perfectly warm. The sweetness was subtle, deviating from the typical overly-sweet hot chocolate. The hemp’s aftertaste was reminiscent of the age-old malt milkshake. The chocolate muffin, however, was tasty, but nothing spectacular. It was served warmed up, melting the chocolate chips and leaving the texture soft and moist. It tasted similar to the muffins that you could buy in bulk at Costco. Good, but nothing that you wouldn’t be able to find elsewhere.

Though cozy, the Night Owl is not ideal for traditional studying. The dimly-lit room and sleepy atmosphere makes it difficult to do written work. Not only that, but the tables are tiny and can barely fit a single textbook, since they are meant purely for conversational purposes only. However, this is a great place for computer work, facilitated by a copious amount of outlets and fast wi-fi. Plush, cozy couches and chairs are available to sink into with a good book to read, an essay to write or online research to be done.

The workers themselves are friendly and open to conversation. The service was attentive, as they were quick to answer any questions I had about the food and drinks. People watching was made especially interesting through the equally quirky customers that filled the store. The customers that lingered about helped enhance the overall sophisticated-yet-stylish ambience of the store. Open late, the Night Owl attracts more of a hip, college-student, starving-artist, occasional-man-with-beard crowd. Even though I was there at 1 in the morning on a Sunday, the conversations remained lively and people continued to shuffle in and out of the store.

All in all, the Night Owl is the quintessential late-night coffee shop, fully equipped with live music and spoken word poetry performances. Despite its small size and pricey drinks, it is the perfect place to satisfy a late-night sweet tooth or to finish up some studying into the late hours of the night.

By Michelle Feng, Staff writer

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