Best places to write?

screenplaywriter.gifI had some editing to do, and trying to get it done at home with an 11-month-old who wants my attention was impossible. So today I walked to the nearest Starbucks and sat in a comfy chair with a large (I won’t say Venti, except I just did, but that was only for illustrative purposes) soy chai and a red pen and marked up that script in an hour and a half. Something I’ve been trying to get done for two months took me less than two hours. And yes, I still have to actually type up the changes, but the hard part is done.

Our budget doesn’t usually allow me to do things like that (five bucks for a cup of tea is out of the question most days), but it’s become clear to me that I must get out of here occasionally in order to accomplish anything. And I really don’t like Starbucks. Of the chains, I really only like Peets. I vastly prefer non-chain coffee shops, but the only one I’m familiar with is Stir Crazy on Melrose, and parking is unpredictable.

So I ask you: where do you go to write? If you have a favorite coffee shop, I’d love to know. (If you don’t want to share it with the world, please consider emailing me privately – annika at noirbettie dot com.) If you have another place, I’d like to know about that, too! I’m sure lots of writers don’t go to coffee shops. Actually, I was thinking of going to the library, but I wanted that tea. Maybe next time.

Oh! If you could note whether your writing spot of choice has wireless, and whether that wireless is free, I’d appreciate it. So far I haven’t needed it but I’d like to know where I can get it for future reference.

I live in Koreatown but I’d love to hear about your writing spots all over town.

19 thoughts on “Best places to write?”

  1. Still trying to find a place here in NoHo. The outdoor independent coffee place on the northwest side of Magnolia and Lankershim is nice, but in the winter, it’s not all that fun to sit outside and in the summer, they spray water to cool you down and I don’t trust my laptop in that.

    Someone else recommended Aroma to me saying it was a writers’ hangout, but if it was, I sure didn’t feel inspired. A long line and lots of power lunches.

    There’s a couple of other cafes which are so-so and I hate the corporate atmosphere of Starbucks. I’d love some suggestions.

  2. I say follow that urge to go to the library–quiet environment, free wireless, lots of books to make you feel like working. It’s where I retreat when houseguests invade my home office. I just wish I lived closer to the Central Library, which is such a cool building to hang out in. There’s even a cafe on the first floor if you want to take a tea break.

  3. There is a coffee shop called Loft in Koreatown, but it is expensive (free WiFi). Really expensive. Buzz on Beverly is nice right across from the Erowon is nice, and you can park on Curson usually. Insomnia is also on Beverly, but it is more expensive and parking is hard for more than 2 hours.

    In Los Feliz there is Psychobabble, and the Alcove (I’ve never been to Alcove).The new Los Feliz library (on Hillhurst and Franklin) is also really nice. Across the 5 in Atwater is Kaldi Coffee (on Glendale Boulevard), which is one of my favorites. If you head up into Hollywood, Groundworks by Amoeba is good, but the parking problem presents itself again.

  4. Ditto to Michelle’s encouragement to get your library on — and the Central Library is tops in my book. There’s a bridge in the back of the fiction session that’s loaded with club chairs and tables and if you need to be a little less out in the open there’s a little of desks for focusing your creative energies, and I believe you get a break on parking with a library validation or just Red Line it over to Pershing Square and it’s a couple blocks from there.

  5. Velocity Cafe in Santa Monica rocks. They have free wifi, bookcrossing books, and a very friendly environment.

  6. how many of these, if any, are open 24 hours? i find myself working late at the kettle in manhattan beach, but it gets a bit loud after the local bars close. would prefer a more low-key setting.

  7. Sol de Cahuenga on Franklin and Cahuenga is tops in my book. Great places to sit outside and inside. Great coffee….food is marginal at best. Also, the place has free wifi, which helps you procrastinate to your fullest.

  8. i find the best place for me to get stuff like that done is at work. i’m so much more inspired to make things when I’m supposed to be working instead of doing other stuff. that’s wrong, isn’t it?

  9. I’m a student and have been on a search for quite some time. All of these spaces have plenty of desk space, and not crowded.

    Insomnia Cafe on Beverly by La Brea (Open till 1 or 2am! wifi sucks)
    Ragazzi by USC (close 10-ish, free wifi)
    Lost Souls Cafe (open till late, free wifi)
    On the westside, there’s Synergy on Overland and Sepulveda (free wifi, open 10-ish)
    Rumor Mill on Washington (connected to laundromat, free wifi)
    Zinios on Westwood (hookah place outside, free wifi, free parking, open late)
    Cow’s End in Venice (open till midnight, free wifi)

    For more indie coffee shops (I’m anti-Starbucks too) go to this site…

  10. I’ve long been wanting to open a “coffee club” with plenty of comfy chairs and large tables (and a small no-cellphone, no-computers “reading room”), aimed more towards the sit-at-a-coffee-shop-for-hours crowd, but my friends tell me it’d never work. They say there are already too many coffee shops in LA and I agree there are alot, but not enough good ones. I used to do Stir Crazy but I can’t stand it after 6.

    Simply put: I feel your pain.

    I have yet to try it, but I believe that Susina on Beverly might be a nice place to work (if you can handle the pressure of being surrounded by some of the best cakes in Los Angeles.

  11. I wrote my last book in two places (over 225,000 words, months of steady all-day shifts), one of them alas dead: Abbot’s Habit on Sunset and Sierra Bonita. Pluses: great staff, excellent sandwiches and salads and soups pastries, a music mix that pleases me (but might not you…lots of Dead and Phish). Minuses: closes at 4 pm; not many tables; even fewer plugs; no official wifi but sketchy availability of random other people’s wireless.
    The other place recently died: Roman’s, a few blocks east of Abbot’s on north side of Sunset, near Martel: a mini-chain restaurant, far from hip, but had: free excellent wifi, self-serve endless soda fountain, ALWAYS a table, and EVERY wall table with its out outlet, a big parking lot, Sirius radio decade feeds that appealed to me, and decent food and pastries. It was open until 10 pm every day. I’m bereft at its death.

  12. I have yet to find a coffee shop that doesn’t play music way too loud. I couldn’t successfully do my homework to loud music as a teen, and I cannot successfully write to loud music now. It’s a Grind in particular played incredibly annoying Christmas music for many weeks last Dec. and Jan. Taz, in DC, where I moved from last fall, there is a place called Tryst that is similar to your “coffee club” model, with comfy chairs, couches, large tables, and free wifi during the week. It was wildly successful, and had the most laptoppers I have ever seen outside of a blogging or porno convention. There was also a more upscale place called Busboys and Poets, which had both sofas with coffee tables and dining type tables and chairs. They served good food that was inexpensive, they refilled your beverages for free, and they had a bookstore and a performance space. But don’t get me wrong — I am most happy to be here instead of DC.

  13. I just want to congratulate you on getting some work done in Starbucks whether you like them or not.

    At least you dot done what needed to be done.

    I’m new to LA so haven’t found a coffee house to work in as of yet.

    But I’m so glad you asked the question so I can share in the wealth of ideas.

    Have you ever thought of writing long hand for first draft thoughts and such at a diner instead? Then transferring that to computer?

    I bet there are people here that may be horrified at that idea but that is the only way I can get any writing done.

    Unfortunately, I just moved from Texas to Hollywood and have DJ’s right across from me and am lacking my own vehicle at this time to even get out and try any of the places you all are speaking of.

    So those of you with a car at this moment-be thankful-at least you can get out and search.

    MIss G

  14. GOSH,
    I am so SORRY
    for my multiple posts-
    didn’t understand the wait for possible inflammatory responses-
    so sorry,

    I promise it won’t happen again.

    Please, all forgive.
    Miss Gena

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