Work from home, much? LA’s best coffee shops can also function as your office space—where the coffee is top-notch and laptop loiterers are welcome.[ via TIME OUT LOS ANGELES]
MID CITY WEST
This Fairfax storefront is a favorite neighborhood meeting spot for locals who laze on the patio and coffee nerds who drop in for single-origin pour-overs and cold brews from a rotating roster of roasters such as Sightglass Coffee, Coava Coffee and Victrola Coffee Roasters. Writers also drop in (and stay) with their laptops at one of the few tables—be prepared to stake out seating—inside the industrial, minimalist space. Refuel with homemade chai tea and house-baked treats from salted caramel rice crispy bars and granola.
Coffee cover: $4 for a pour over
Parking: Free underground lot inside the 801 N Fairfax complex. Enter on Waring Ave.
Loitering meter: 3 out of 5. The number of tables inside (re: outlets) are limited, so be prepared to work outside until you run out of juice or come early to snag prime work space.
One part retail store, one part dance studio and one part cafe, this Pico Boulevard storefront is a mainstay for local families, diners and home office workers alike. Order at the counter—coffee from Intelligentsia, Ecco Caffe and Coava; pastries by Cake Monkey and Sweets for the Soul; sandwiches, salads and other plates are seasonal—and sit at one of the many tables inside or out. (The upstairs mezzanine is the place to work.) The wifi can be spotty, but outlets and other coffee shop workaholics are aplenty. Writers should avoid putting in hours on the weekend—wifi and laptops aren’t allowed—but Thursdays have the added bonus of farmers market shopping 4pm to 8pm from Produce Project pop-up.
Wifi: Free. No wifi on weekends
Coffee cover: $3.27-$4.75
Parking: Ample 2 hour metered parking
Loitering meter: 5 out of 5. You’ll be working side-by-side with other home-office workers round the clock.
Coffee nerds and the Portlandia set rejoice as Seattle’s Espresso Vivace lands in LA, namely in Westwood Village. Expect to see fewer UCLA students and more young professionals and a hip, coffee-loving crowd geeking out on perfectly pulled espresso shots. Wifi is free but there are no outlets, so come fully charged (on your laptop, that is) and expect to get recharged on java that’s expertly made from a helpful staff. The idyllic, ivy-filled patio is inspiring and the small list of pastries and breakfast items—we love the almond butter and jam on brioche—satisfying. Try the Café Nico and make sure you get your name in their computer to rack up free shots.
Coffee cover: $3
Parking: Limited metered parking
Loitering meter: 4 out of 5. Quiet, quality coffee and never-too-crowded—good for 2 to 3 hour work sessions.
With long hours (Mon-Thu 7:30am-10pm, Fri 7:30am-8pm, Sat 8am-10pm, Sun 8am-8pm), free wifi and plenty of comfy seating, this neighborhood coffee shop is the dream home office away from, well, home. Bi-level inside seating is a hodgepodge of leather chairs, tufted armchairs and communal benches, while the lush, lofty front patio is perfect for an alfresco work sesh (outlets included). Prices are cheap and other laptop workers aplenty (so you don’t feel like a 9-to-5 pariah). The go-to pick-me-up is the namesake housemade scones—we love the nuts and jam or blueberry heated up.
Coffee cover: $2.30, small; $2.75, large
Parking: 2 hour street parking on side residential streets
Loitering meter: 5 out of 5. Cheap coffee and plenty of comfy seats make for an ideal at-home work day.
This Santa Monica coffee shop takes coffee so seriously that they’ve got it done to an art, or, by the look of rows of glass siphons and spotless counters, a science. Teas are brewed á la minute—don’t miss the masala chai or potent ginger tea—and coffee is painstakingly prepared (yes, in the siphons). Single-origin teas and coffees fill an extensive menu, and the selections of baked goods includes vegan, gluten-free breads and cookies. Set up your work station in front of the soothing water fountain on a comfy leather couch or on one of the many tables. But we prefer the front counter—lest you’re easily distracted by coffee slight of hand—overlooking the machine-like crew in the kitchen helmed by JC who’s eager to share with his customers.
Wifi: Free with a purchase of a drink
Coffee cover: $4.25
Parking: Plenty of 2-hour metered parking
Loitering meter: 4 out of 5. Wifi users and coffee nerds are all welcome to stay awhile.
Down the block from Silver Lake’s neighborhood meeting point, this quaint cafe offers Morocco-does-south-of-the-border charm, however off-beat. The bougainvillea-covered sidewalk patio has a few small tables to soak in the sun on Sunset Junction, but inside lone laptop workers tap away on tiny tables in a bazaar of home furnishings and Mexican clothing and accessories. Take a cue from the cafe’s theme and order a fresh mint tea supplemented with baked empanadas and a huge, rustic bowl of chicken soup—fill up on chunks of chicken, carrots, potatoes and corn on the cob. Seating and outlets can be limited, so prepare for Plan B. (We love the nearby Broome Street General. There are no outlets, but there’s free wifi, plenty of parking and a charming outdoor patio.)
Coffee cover: $2.50, small; $3, large
Parking: Metered parking and 2-hour residential parking
Loitering meter: 2 out of 5. Good luck trying to find a seat by the single outlet.
If you prefer typing away with a side bar of people-watching, you’ll find home office nirvana at Melrose Place’s Alfred Coffee that oozes cool (handlebar mustaches and Rag & Bone uniforms) and serves up Stumptown coffee. Snag a seat downstairs at the communal table or on the ground level on the patio or along the wall. The space is a tight squeeze and the hard-surfaced (and often backless) seating uncomfortable, so you’ll find an able-bodied set here. Farmshop pastries and juices by Pressed Juicery provide sustenance for this fashionable coffee joint.
Coffee cover: $3
Parking: Limited metered parking
Loitering meter: 2 out of 5. Uncomfortable seats and a small space limit long work days.
MID CITY WEST
Sure, the coffee is overpriced, the staff is snooty and the rules are ridiculous (no water bottles allowed, one glass of complimentary water and $1 thereafter), but the lofty space offers comfy, spacious seating in a stark white, gallery-like space that breeds creativity (and your next script). Wifi is complimentary with a purchase of a drink and limited to an hour and a half, but the well-sized parking lot relieves meter maid anxiety. The baristas sport bulging biceps in ultra tight T’s and the playlist rotates between nostalgic to offensive, but a well-stocked menu—Bouchon and Cake Monkey pastries, Fonuts, Lamill teas, Intelligentsia coffee—and an only-in-LA experience makes this cafe one of our favorites to visit.
Wifi: With purchase and limited to 1.5 hours
Coffee cover: $3.95
Parking: Free, on-site lot
Loitering meter: 3 out of 5. Though we can’t stand the attitude, high prices and limited wifi, we still come back for the beautiful space.
Seattle’s cult-fave coffee lands in Silver Lake at this industrial-looking, bi-level storefront. Eastside freelancers stay caffeinated around the clock with single-origin and blended coffee and well made espresso drinks. Groups and singles can snag a spot by the floor-to-ceiling windows or perch on the compact mezzanine level. Bonus: The water is triple-filtered and serve-yourself free.
Coffee cover: $2.50-$3 French press, $5 pour-over
Parking: Limited street parking
Loitering meter: 4 out ot 5. Your Intelligentsia alternative.
Bang out your next script and bro out at this retail spot dedicated to bikes, surfing and Venice cool. Handmade Deus Ex Machina motorcycles and surfboards shaped in-house are on display, along with other “dude-like” paraphernalia. With Handsome Coffee to caffeinate and sandwiches and pastries to satiate, loiterers can spread out on the alfresco patio or at the communal table and leather couches inside.
Coffee cover: $2.50
Parking: Free, on-site lot
Loitering meter: 3 out of 5. The types who come in are more interested in chrome hardware than Apple hardware.
The move from Sydney to Los Angeles is, for the most part, a seamless one. The two cities flow at a similar pace, with life lived mostly in the sun. Yet since the day I arrived in this glorious city I have been desperately trying to navigate my way through one of the only culture shocks I experienced – coffee.
This is where the two cities disagree. Coffee in Sydney is a social ritual, delivered with care and precision and enjoyed as a moment to stop, not as a fuel to keep going. In America, the sheer volume by which coffee is consumed on an hourly basis means that for most, it’s a habit, regardless of how it’s served or even how it tastes.
But coffee in LA is well on its way to changing. Los Angeles is in the middle of what’s been dubbed the 3rd wave coffee movement. More and more people are treating coffee as an artisanal foodstuff, like wine, and paving the way for improvements on all stages of production, from harvesting to roasting to brewing—as our friends at LA Coffee Club recently noted.
It is with impeccable timing then that Australian-inspired café Coffee + Food should arrive on Melrose. Placed unassumingly in the ever growing Larchmont-Melrose intersection, Coffee + Food is the brainchild of Australian ex-pat Mel Cain and Angeleno Cyndi Finlke. As is typically the case with these things, it was a vacancy that lead the two friends to go where neither had gone before and open a coffee shop. Born through Mel’s passion for coffee and dream of owning a café and Cyndi’s local knowledge from successfully curating two art studios and running a craft service business, Coffee + Food is entirely about superb, well bodied coffee and wholesome, quality food made with local produce and love.
There’s a pervasive happy feeling you get upon walking in, largely thanks to the supremely welcoming people behind the counter, which is just what Mel Cain always hoped to achieve. “We wanted it to feel like our home, like we were bringing people into our homes and feeding them,” Meg told LAC.
Industrialized chairs and stools give the café a modern feel while barn wood, chalk boards and photographs dot the walls in perfectly cozy juxtaposition. The counter is where it’s at, the espresso machine at its heart, the deli case full of can’t choose breakfast and lunch options and various sweet and savory delights ornately displayed across the top.
The coffee menu reads like a café wall in Sydney, featuring the Australian originated flat white, which to the Aussie expat is a cup of espresso and nostalgia infamously hard to find Stateside. It’s velvety smooth, with milk and microfoam folded into a double shot of espresso so that the ratio of coffee takes over the milk and the two are blended seamlessly. C+F enlisted the help of fellow Aussie Mark Baird of Longshot Coffee to curate the caffeinated beverage menu and teach the staff the art of espresso, which they gladly and passionately pass on to curious customers.
The food is designed by C+F’s “food guru” and you guessed it, another Aussie, Claire Smith.
Never has a deli counter in Los Angeles looked so tantalizing, rich, and colorful. For breakfast there’s homemade granola with seasonal fruit and yogurt, or Bircher muesli with poached pears or the favorite brekky sandwich of arugula, egg, prosciutto and gruyere cheese tucked into Turkish toast, specially commissioned by C+F and delivered fresh every morning from a local baker. Lunch is a mixture of signature dishes like the much obsessed over kale salad and a rotating menu of sandwiches, frittatas, lasagnas, fritters, salads and so on. It’s all made to-go, but you’re more than welcome to stay if you’d like.
Though, the real joy is the signature Aussie fare that pops up now and again, whether it be a meat pie or the breakfast staple for 21 million Australian’s – Vegemite on toast. In case you’re still wondering WTF Vegemite is, I urge you to ask no questions, order it with blind faith and let the pros do the work, for when properly delivered, Vegemite is the right mix of salty, buttery goodness—not to mention a solid hangover cure.
On high rotation above the counter is a collection of homemade sweet and savory treats, like Anzac and Monte Carlo cookies, which can be found in every house and office pantry across Australia. Mel divulges to LAC that the Monte Carlo is a favorite on the menu among expats and Angelenos alike; both seem to have an insatiable taste for the crumbly cookie filled with vanilla cream and raspberry jam that pairs perfectly with a Dirty Chai.
What’s right about Coffee + Food is simply that it’s about coffee and it’s about food, both in their simplest, purest forms and without complication. It’s become a home away from home for this expat and many more, so if you’ve ever had a moment of wanderlust, a desire to know what it’s like Down Under, or simply a longing for coffee and food that gives you joy, then make Coffee + Food your next stop, it might change your life.
Coffee + Food
630 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038
Hours: Monday – Saturday, 7am – 3pm
(323) 962 3390
Happy Hour is typically a time to take the edge off the work day with a nicely discounted dose of booze, maybe even a half-priced appetizer–who can resist? But the 3 to 7pm window doesn’t always have to be decadent to be happy. Not every occasion calls for fried balls or sliders or beers or martinis.
Leave it to the geniuses at Hollywood Favorite M Café to come up with a pretty ecstatic alternative: Macro Hour.
In case you’re not already familiar, M Café is famous for it’s diverse menu of nutritious but super healthy eats that follow Macrobiotic* principles in a contemporary way. The food is made without any refined sugars, dairy, eggs, red-meat or poultry–but trust us, you won’t miss it, especially not at the new Macro Hour.
Running Weekdays at the Melrose location from 4pm-7pm, Macro Hour offers exclusive off-menu items including delicious re-interpretations of happy hour favorites, like Nachos and Mac & Cheese, as well as other fun snacks like BBQ Seitan Spring Rolls and Crispy Asparagus Spears. Everything is between $6-$8, and you can get macro-shooters for $1 each to score some extra health points. Whether you’re looking for a quiet spot to schedule an afternoon meeting or just grab a snack and read a book, M Café has got you covered.
BBQ Seitan Vietnamese Spring Rolls with a savory peanut sauce. So light and refreshing with a nice crispy bite.
Macro Nachos! Jalapenos, cilantro, beans, and guacamole—can’t go wrong here.
The Mac & Cheese is creamy and wholesome with sundried tomatoes, arugula, and asparagus.
The Crispy Asparagus Spears will satisfy your craving for a crunchy fried snack without getting too greasy. And the zesty dipping sauce should not be neglected.
7119 Melrose Avenue
Hollywood, CA 90046
*The Macrobiotic diet is an ancient approach to eating which focuses on lighter, local, and unprocessed whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts and fish, with the goal being the maintenance of an optimal balance.