Intelligentsia, Venice

1331 Abbot Kinney Boulevard,Venice, CA 90291 - Google Maps

Today I had a lunch meeting in Venice, where I’m in the process of moving to, and was publicly bitching about the lack of decent coffee on that side of town. Of course I was missing the Silver Lake Intelligentsia which in addition to being the best coffee EVAR is also mere blocks from my current house. Luckily it was pointed out to me that my worries will be short lived as Intelligentsia is opening a Venice location at the end of next month (baring any delays). I don’t know how I missed this amazing bit of info, but it’s also going to be one of the most, if not THE most innovative coffee shop in the world. Certainly in LA. Just take a peak at these renderings. Wow. I’m going to try and get photos myself as soon as possible, but let’s just say I’m pretty much as excited as I can be. Intelligentsia changed how look at and think about coffee and stupidly excited this mecca is going to be opening right around the corner from where I’ll be living. OK who am I kidding, I’ll be paying rent for a place right around the corner but living here.

19 thoughts on “Intelligentsia, Venice”

  1. I’ve been hoping they have a really soft opening, as in, never announce it. That way, (for the first month at least) I won’t have to wait in a tremendous line, like the one at Sunset Junction.

    As far as coffee in that area, Abbot’s Habit is pretty reliable. And Growndwork has three locations all within a mile of there. Oh, but Intelligentsia, their shit is just stupidly good…

  2. Those renderings are…wank. The pretension is almost too much to bear. I’m sure it’ll be great coffee, but that must be the least welcoming coffee shop in the world.

    How are they affording to do any of this now?

  3. I mostly agree with evan. Looks like they’re trying to hard to be “trendy coffee house”. I’m sure their coffee is amazing, but can’t say I’m welcomed by the rendering. Hopefully the final product will be better than expected.

  4. Read an earlier post at Food GPS (, and came across this:

    “A concrete floor will lead to concrete steps and a concrete landing in back. You’ll find a stack of cushions. Just grab one and take a seat.”

    WTF? Were counters and tables and chairs getting in the way of the coffee? “These people aren’t truly enjoying the coffee because they’re sitting comfortably. Let’s give them a slab of concrete so they can focus on the coffee.”

  5. “If the Sunset location is any indication, I’m sure it will also be one of the most, if not THE most expensive coffee shops in the world.”

    Which is part of the reason why I asked how they can afford to be expanding now. Perhaps LA has enough people that are willing to spend as much as Intelligentsia charges regularly, rather than a once-in-a-while thing. The restaurant industry is going through some really hard times, and I would assume that Intelligentsia would be facing the same difficulties.

  6. I appreciate Sean’s enthusiasm and know the new branch in Venice will make his transition to his new digs that much more smooth, but I confess my wussdom: I don’t like going into coffee places (such as LA Mill and Intelligentsia) that make me feel — and rightly so — that I don’t know jack about joe. Those places intimidate the grounds outta me. I never went to that place downtown that boasted the $10 million coffee machine (that they’ve since dumped, I believe) because I feared if the coffee didn’t make me see God then I was lame or the shit was way over-rated and needed to be destroyed post haste. Either way, lose/lose: my self-esteem takes a hit or I wind up in jail for destruction of private property.

    So in the meantime I’ll still covet my relative proximity to the nine-cent cuppas at Philippe’s, or the beloved Costco crap at $2 a pound that drips out of my $30 Mr. Coffee.

  7. Much bigger news than Intelligentsia coming to Venice is Sean Bonner moving to Venice! I look forward to having you as my neighbor!

  8. Will-

    You paid $30. for a Mr. Coffee machine? I thought everyone just signed on to Gevalia for the introductory machine…

  9. Wow, I walk away for a few hours and look at this flood! I don’t know what to respond to first so I’ll just say that I don’t go to LA Mill or places like that because of the snooty attitude that Will mentions above and I’ve never felt that way at Intelligentsia, in fact quite the opposite which is one of the reasons I go there so much. I’ve had Baristas tell me all kinds of stuff about the beans and things I didn’t even know to ask – always friendly and helpful. That’s just my experience of course but I think it’s safe to say that I go to a lot of coffee shops all over and Intelligentsia ranks at the top of nice people and a friendly atmosphere. I can certainly see how it might seem intimidating, but I’ve never found it to be that at all.

    And as for the pricing, you pay for what you get and if coffee is coffee to you then this all means nothing, but you enjoy the good stuff a few extra cents is not an issue. There’s 3-4 coffee shops within a few blocks of intelligentsia which all have good coffee, and have prices within $0.25 of theirs but when you try the two together there’s no question – at least not to me. Very much worth the extra coin and a block or two extra to walk.

  10. I want to commend Will for his comment, which is a work of absolute blogging literature, and most entertaining. But I have to ask about that nine cent joe at Philippe’s. I was there with the L.A. Metblogs Classic Eats gang a few weeks ago, and the price was a stratospheric 75 cents or so. Do they raise the price on Saturday nights? Do you get the nine cent deal only as a combo with a French Dip?

  11. There’s been noise about it since December — the original opening date was supposed to be sometime in January, then late February, now the website Sean linked to says early March. I wonder if their “scaled-back” seating arrangement had something to do with the delays: “O hay, found-wood architect-designed chairs are expensive! Lower the tables, chuck pillows on the floor, & call it homey.” A redesign will take time but might save money. (Depending on the fee structure of their architecture firm.) (But I digress.)

    Once they open, though, I suspect they’ll do very well. Lots of ad & design people live in Venice & Santa Monica. The expensive ones have been cut loose & have subsequently “gone rogue” (freelance — thanks to Will Campbell for the phrase, via Twitter). Some of these gigs have us working from home … or from coffee shops. I don’t do my best work in public places with pretty, scruffy people everywhere. But some people do.

    By the way, The Curious Palate in Mar Vista sells Intelligentsia beans now, but because they’re new & are still sussing out demand, they don’t stock very much of it. (They brew it, too, but only drip.) I, for one, will be glad for a second source of Intelligentsia beans that’s not 13 miles from my home, not to mention one that will reliably have them in stock.

  12. I haven’t experienced any snootiness there, rather the opposite, in fact, but the last time I was at Intellgentsia the cheapest cup of drip coffee was $4. I’m a coffee freak, and that $4 cup of coffee is a damn fine brew, but the price difference between Intelligentsia and most of the surrounding coffee shops is much closer to $2 than it is to 25¢.

  13. Thank you for the kind words Matt! I’m shocked at word of a potential price increase to75 cents at Philippe’s? Gah! Last time I was there was a couple/three months ago for breakfast it was still the nine cents I’ve always known it to be, and can only hope it still is.

    Sean, didn’t mean to imply I considered the folks at Intelligentsia snootacious. LA Mill definitely, since the one time I went there I couldn’t get service. The couple times I’ve been to Intelli they’ve been very nice and helpful. Any intimidation I’ve felt comes not from their friendliness but rather from their myriad bean stylings and ways of concocting them. I’m telling you in the world of gourmet coffeeterias, I’m the kid on the porch with the banjo in “Deliverance.” SIMPLE.

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