Think globally, drink locally

coffeecup.jpgThe b.la crew likes their caffeine, and we like it hometown-style. Here’s where we go for joe when we we’re avoiding the ubiquitous chainsócomplete with mappage! So whether you’re looking for something close to home or something that tastes like it when you’re on unfamiliar stomping grounds, you’ll be that much nearer the perfect cup (and free WiFi, where noted!).

CYBELE:

Sabor y Cultura
5625 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood 90028
(323) 466-0481

MAP

Real cups, lower priced refills. Lots of pastries. Fabulous espresso drinks, large selection of tea (in tea bags) and full pots of loose leaf. I like their Mexican mocha. Mostly small tables. Wide open space with two high-ceiling rooms. Plenty of outlets, friendly towards campers. There are a few good large tables in the second room. They play music, but not so loud or distracting that you can’t also wear headphones if you’re into your own thing.

Plenty of outlets towards the walls for laptoppers. Street parking free after 6PM and Sundays; otherwise bring lots of change for the meters. (I stick to the side streets for free spots. You can park in any spot behind the building on Sundays.)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Also heartily endorsed by Tammara, who likes the atmosphere and the Mexican coffee (“Full of cinnamon and chocolate…pretty divine”) and myself (although I don’t do chocolate, I dig the atmosphere). For what it’s worth, SyC won Los Angeles Magazine’s Best of LA in 2004.)

Rockotitlan Cafe
1277 N. Wilton Place (@ Fountain), Hollywood
323-468-8900
10AM – 11 PM

MAP

Premium coffee drinks and good Mexican hot chocolate. Limited selection of pastries and sandwiches. Great smoothies though, I recommend the one called POP which is orange juice, raspberries, bananas and pecans. Variable seating: one big library table with good outlets; small tables; armchairs; couch. Patio area with small, stable tables outside within a little lattice fence. Good connections for laptoppers. Street parking, a small lot behind the building off of Wilton, free, unlimited except for street sweeping days (I think Monday mornings).

The Coffee Table (Eagle Rock)
1958 Colorado Blvd. (E of Eagle Rock Blvd.), Eagle Rock
(323) 255-2200

MAP

Counter service, real cups, large selection. Drip coffee starts at $1.40. Pastries, full meals (see The Coffee Table Silverlake). Large tables, lots of seating. Comfy benches and chairs. Two large rooms, ample light, a little noisy when crowded, they play music,
but not loud. Street parking, 1 hour limit with parking meters on Colorado (free if you go into the neighborhood and free on Sundays).

The Coffee Table (Silver Lake)
2930 Rowena Ave (b/w Hyperion & Glendale Blvd., around the corner from Trader Joe’s)
7AM – 11 PM (back patio closes at 9 PM)

MAP

Their coffee is good, but not stellar. Decent but limited tea selection (Numi). Pastries, desserts & full menu, $8 average for entrees. Great garlic mashed potatoes. Good soups. Lighting is decent, tables are roomy but it’s often crowded, especially in the late afternoon on weekends as lots of people seem to camp there for hours, no music but sometimes the other conversations can be loud (really more distracting since sometimes they’re interesting). They do enforce a “no camping” rule when it’s very busy on weekends (who can blame them?) Seating was expanded this year to include an additional patio space in the back with a babbling fountain.

Decent access to outlets, sometimes you have to wait for a primo table. If you like sitting outside, they’re ample access to power on the back patio (at every table). I advise bringing an extension cord so you can tap into someone else’s plug. If you’re a smoker, the front patio is nice, much nicer than most and heated.

Parking is 25 cents an hour, but can’t plug the meter for more than 2 hours at a pop. Usually easy to find a spot, except at peak hours, but then again, if you can’t find a spot on the street, you’re not likely to find a table either.

The Psychobabble Coffee House
1866 N. Vermont Ave (just S. of Franklin) Los Feliz Village
(323) 664-7500

MAP

7am – 2am! (open mike on Sat and/or Sun nights starting at 8PM)

Good tea selection, real cups and their barrista does the swell little pictures in the foam if you order a milky drink (I had a heart one time and a star another). Sandwiches, snacks, etc. Indoor/outdoor space, great for people watching as it’s right in Los Feliz village. Cute, with a cool balcony space that I found very good for zoning out and pounding out thousands of words in one sitting. Service sometimes painfully slow when they’re busy. Street parking with meters and limits (I think 2 hours); there’s a lot in back but if it’s a busy weekend, they impose a limit.

It’s a little trendy, but if you want to find a place where you can go out for a whole day, catch a movie, somewhere you can kinda walk the streets and then plop down for some more writing, this is a great neighborhood for it.

The Novel Cafe
212 Pier Avenue, Santa Monica
(310) 396-8566

MAP

24 Hours a day!

Not far from the beach if you need to take a little walk and clear your head (or fill it up, as the case may be). It’s quite a gathering spot for the locals and some uppity Westside folks at times, but mostly a great place for writers to feel in their element.

If their website is accurate, they’ve got a good selection of teas, coffee drinks and other sandwiches/snacks (good writing food like humus and rollups). Coffee starts at $1.60. Their cups are a little tired and often look dirty. Maybe they’ve bought some new ones since I was there last. Funky space, multi-level. Can get warm inside, especially on the little balcony, don’t be afraid to experiment with the chairs. Street parking with meters and be sure to keep an eye on them. Nearby lots, too.

CyberJava
7080 Hollywood Blvd. (SE corner of La Brea), Hollywood
(323) 466-5600

MAP

Counter service, decent prices. Sandwiches start at $6. Good selection of pastries (though no chocolate croissants the past two times I’ve stopped by). Not so comfy on the inside, but decent. Great outdoor space right on Hollywood Blvd. with some decent greenery. The pigeons are a little demanding. Some outdoor space is covered by an overhang for those hazy, rainy days.

Lots and lots of outlets, inside and out. But there aren’t many tables inside. Computer rental by the hour (in 15 minute increments – $6/hour). They’ll validate parking for their lot if you buy $5 worth of food/drinks. Otherwise trawl around on the side streets. Sunday is free street parking.

Bean Town
45 N. Baldwin Ave. (@ Sierra Madre Blvd.), Sierra Madre
(626) 355-1596

MAP
Hours – something insane like 6 AM to 10 PM

If you’re looking for a getaway from Los Angeles, a place where families come by and play Monopoly for hours with their pre-teen kids, or a spot where there are far fewer tattoos and body piercings, it may be worth the drive. This is definitely small town America.

Counter service; full bakery with cookies, cakes & pastries. Sandwiches, smoothies & ice cream. Honor bar for coffee refills (50 cents so bring some quarters). Served in real cups (you can even bring your own). A a family-friendly place. There are large farmhouse tables along the walls with various chairs (you may have to trade around to find one you like) and couches, tables out on the sidewalk for smokers. No music, but it gets rather noisy, especially on weekends because this is THE place to gather in Sierra Madre (besides the brewery). Board games.

There are outlets near the tables against the wall (you may need to unplug the lamp on your table to access them though). There is an internet terminal, available for free (though polite folks don’t spend more than five or ten minutes on it) so you can check email or the boards. Two hours free parking on the street, large free lot very close by.

Bourgeois Pig
5931 Franklin Ave (b/w Bronson & Tamarind), Los Angeles 90028
(323) 464-6008

MAP

8am – 2am

Prices: $1.50 for drip coffee, $2.25 for a pot of tea (great selection – herbal, black & green – Chinese, Indian & Japanese). No refills. Real cups. Fancy drinks start at $2.75. Some pastries & small selection of sandwiches starting at $5.

Ambiance: they play an eclectic mix of music, sometimes loud. Tables out front for smokers (with an overhang if it’s raining), inside there are large library size tables (sometimes you have to share your table), eclectic mix of comfy chairs and some real butt-busters, back room has couches and is rather dark but cozy. Pool table. Ample outlets inside at the large tables.

The biggest drawback to this place is parking. You have to trawl. Most is free when you find it, but they usually have strictly enforced 2 hour limits. Additional Highlight: Across the street from the Church of Scientology Celebrity Center.

CARYN:

Silver Lake Coffee
2388 N. Glendale Blvd., Los Angeles, 90039
(323) 913-0388

MAP

Of course I’m going to have to vote for Silver Lake Coffee. Best Chai Latte and banana espresso smoothies on the planet. Plus it’s so small, they recognize you there and I like that personal service – we’re not just numbers and names on a cup!

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Also endorsed by Sean, who’s rhapsodized about SLC before, and by yours truly, who has actually driven from K-town for their Americanos.)

TAMMARA:

Caffe, Etc.
6371 Selma Ave (at Cahuenga), Hollywood, 90028
(323) 464-8824

MAP
7am – 11pm

For great coffee….and it’s even organic…you can’t go wrong with Caffe, etc in Hollywood on Selma at Cahuenga. Their food is terrific, lots of fresh organic salads, gooey delicioso pressed sandwiches and a bizarre, yet tasty selection of soups. They have really cool mixed type coffee drinks (yes, even an espresso mocha banana yummy thing) and a magazine stand. Wi-fi is fast and furious. Vivianna, one of the owners, is super enthusiastic about making sure your experience is good, so you never feel like an outsider.

(EDITORIAL 2¢: For those who want more background on CaffÈ Etc., Tammara blogged about it in detail back in February.)


LISA:

Aroma CafÈ
4360 Tujunga Ave, Studio City, 91604
818-508-6505

MAP
Bookstore

My favorite coffee place is Aroma in Studio City. It gets a little crowded on the weekends, but that’s because they also have great food (like the tasty “wild vegetarian burrito”). I like to go there on weekdays, when it’s not as busy, so I can drink my ice-blended mocha at a table in the garden. The workers are friendly, there are lots of places to sit, and they have a little independent bookstore in the back.

CINDY:

Kaldi Coffee & Tea
3147 Glendale Blvd., (just E of the 5 Freeway) Atwater Village, 90039
(323) 660-6005

MAP
6:30am – 10pm (opens at 7am on weekends)

I’m going to have to go with Kaldi on Glendale blvd. in Atwater Village. They have this strawberry shake thing that is to die for! The people who work there are friendly, and the coffee is good. It’s also a great place to sit and read, and it’s close to lots of other indie businesses like clothing stores and restaurants, so after you get your delicious coffee, tea, or whatever, you can continue your indie shopping trip without having to leave the neighborhood!

SEAN:

Groundworks Coffee Co.
811 Traction Ave., Los Angeles
(213) 626-8650

MAP

I want to second Caryn’s vote for Silver Lake Coffee on Glendale but also want to send some loving the way of Groundwork Coffee Co. downtown on Traction by 3rd street & Alameda. This is becoming a pretty regular weekend stop and I haven’t had a bad cup there yet. Plus the fact that they occasionally have vegan baked goods is even better. Half the indie coffee shops in town serve Groundworks beans so getting it straight from the source is never a bad idea.

COLLEEN:

Tanner’s (Playa del Rey)
200 Culver Boulevard, Playa del Rey, 90293
(310) 574-2739

MAP

Great espresso drinks, wide selection of tasty-looking baked goods (although I don’t indulge, so I can’t speak to their actual taste) and a cool, beachy vibe. I’ve only grabbed a cup to go, but the people sitting around the place always look happily hunkered down, and it’s a really nice, high-ceilinged, airy place in which to hang. Tanner’s is technically a chainóthere are franchises in Culver City, which I haven’t been to, and West L.A., which I have, and which isn’t as good. Caveat emptor…

The Lazy Daisy
2300 Pico Blvd (just S of the Cloverfield exit on the 10), Santa Monica, 90405

MAP

Great Americanos and an excellent full menu: breakfast, sandwiches, salads, and baked goods. There’s table service both in the tiny indoor restaurant and the fantastic, huge, shaded patio. I’ve never had a bad cup of coffee or a bad meal here, I’ve never felt pressured to eat/drink & run and I’ve never had a problem getting a table. Parking, however, is a colossal pain in the keister: the lot is postage stamp-sized, and the surrounding residential streets are permitted and patrolled with fierce efficiency by the infamous Santa Monica Parking Enforcement.

FINAL EDITORIAL NOTES:

While every attempt to provide accurate information has been made, the b.la factcheckers are off for the summer, so you know, phone first if it’s really important to you.

Thanks to all the b.la’ers for playing, and a HUGE thank you to Jay for pointing me to tinyurl.com, my new-favorite website.

4 Replies to “Think globally, drink locally”

  1. Great List!

    Cow’s End
    34 Washington Blvd. Venice 90292 (b/w Pacific & Speedway)
    310.574.1080

    I’d also like to recommend the Cow’s End in Venice. It’s on Washington 1/2 a block from the pier.

    This is a great funky beach spot, they have all the usual coffee selections (the Hawaiian Hazelnut is a favorite) plus smoothies with all the additional additives a health nut/bodybuilder could need. They also make sandwiches featuring Boar’s Head products along with wraps like the NY Brunch Wrap, basically a bagel & lox replacing the bagel with a tortilla.

    You can choose to sit at a table on the sidewalk and watch all the beach goers pass by or find a table upstairs if you need a little more space and a little less action. Sometimes they have live music.

    There is a Starbucks across the street, most locals pass this by in favor of the Cow’s End.

  2. What about Priscilla’s in Burbank?

    4150 W Riverside Dr
    Burbank, CA 91505
    (818) 843-5707

    It has survived the invasion of Starbuck and Coffee Bean, both within a few blocks of Priscilla’s. Iced mochas may taste a little weird if you’re used to the Coffee Bean brand, but I love ’em. Great service, and there’s always firemen there to rescue you if you choke on your latte.

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