We’ll just come right out and say it: coffee is culture. Today’s coffee spots – especially in LA – are defined as much by their beans, brewing methods and caffeinated offerings as they are by their branding and interior design. So the days of dark coffee houses filled with thrown together furnishings and oversized couches, serving sub-par coffee and hosting poetry readings are, without a doubt, going extinct.
Bright, airy, curated, memorable and smart are the qualities that contribute to LA’s most beloved locales. Whether you’re on the hunt for the city’s best latte art or the most ideal spot to connect with that friend you don’t see as much as you used to, L.A. is loaded with options. Get served. Get caffeinated. Get happy. And hashtag the whole thing.
By now, every coffee consumer knows this phrase, “but first, coffee.” Credit that fashionable coffee outpost, Alfred with that one. Boasting six locations, including a Tea Room and Bagel Shop, Alfred has changed the meaning of coffee with it’s emphatic and Instagram-worthy wall by telling us that nothing worthwhile is going to happen unless we’re appropriately caffeinated. With charming collaborations and design situation that blends downtown city chic by way of subway tiles, neon signage or bold stripes with softened elements like florals, aqua details or pretty pink and rose gold touches, this spot is raved about for its look and favorites like their matcha or iced vanilla latte. This place has proven that no matter where you are in LA, coffee is king.
An unassuming facade opens up to a richly decorated space that pays homage to modern functionality and industrial charm. Here delicate pendants spill from the ceiling and the scent of delicious Fair Trade coffee wafts through the air. This is Verve on Melrose. Verve, which hails from Santa Cruz, is celebrated for its commitment to coffee and for its lush outdoor patio space that brings the experience of coffee and a clear mind together. Much like their brew and bites, Verve isn’t fussy, it’s full of flavor and delight whether it’s morning or afternoon.
Culver City is always on the at the forefront of something cool. And that includes coffee. Head over the Bar Nine, where innovation is the driver behind each cup. Happily serving world-class coffee, Bar Nine shows off a simplified look–because they believe in simplicity. Not too many bells and whistles, but a captivating, open-space concept that works with muted beauty. Look to finished concrete flooring, a reclaimed wooden countertop, vaulted ceilings intersected by wooden beams, simplified bar-style seating and luxurious glistening roasting machines. At Bar Nine, they value what’s in your cup as much as what’s in your brain offering education on coffee. How’s that for next level sips? Take classes, score a coffee subscription, shop or catch up with your thoughts over a cold brew.
Brentwood and Santa Monica have no shortage of coffee locales, but the main one you need to spend your lazy Sunday’s at is Cafe Luxxe. The no fuss coffee spot known for its artful lattes leaves smiles on the faces of patrons thanks to its friendly, neighborhood vibes. With a welcoming barn-style door, bearing its signature logo, the interiors are simple and comforting, while the coffee is sophisticated. Cafe Luxxe owners, Mark Wain and Gary Chau have made it their work to transform coffee drinking into something mindless into something luxurious by bringing fine coffee to thirsty Angelenos. Drinks are hand-crafted, espresso and brewed coffee are artisanal and frankly this is the kind of coffee spot where you want to hang all day with your dog, your kids, your partner or an old friend.
If you think “coffee” and then think “love,” there’s no other place for you to call home than, Love Coffee. The quaint locale and neighbor to Partners Trust retail concept, Openhouse, is over-flowing with good coffee and good vibes as it’s all about brewing the best, topping off every latte with a heart and building relationships that extend well beyond the first sip. Love Coffee partners with some of California’s finest and most forward thinking roasters, tea artisans and designers for create a special place for locals and visitors to enjoy. The simplified decor speaks volumes with an oversized state flag and juxtaposing “Love” artwork. Tables are small, but mighty enough for good conversation and a beautifully designed honeycomb mirror bar is where all of the magic happens. With cups bearing your name followed by “Deserves Love” you can’t help but feel good and caffeinated here.
If you consider yourself a coffee connoisseur then you already know about the Blue Bottle and it’s magic. With several spots to choose from throughout LA, Blue Bottle is renowned for their state-of-the-art and beautifully presented brewing system. But beyond that, they get major recognition for their style and the feel of each individual local. Marked by an airy design-scheme that’s often laced with honey-hued wood, glass touches and modern light fixtures the style speaks to warmth, good feelings and even better coffee. Their pour over approach has made them as famous and as fashionable as the little blue logo that defines them. But don’t miss out on their pastries or fun gifts and finds that let you take the taste home.