The City of Angels is known for many things: Hollywood, the entertainment industry, ethnic diversity, relentless traffic, a Mediterranean climate, to name a few. One thing it isn’t really known for: coffee.
While this two-season sprawling metropolis may not have the same kind of cabin-dwelling coziness of coffee culture cities like Seattle and San Francisco, this is beginning to change. Hooray!
As part of a personal challenge I decided to try 30 classic coffee spots around Los Angeles in 30 days. I participated in a writing challenge called Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) wherein writers from all over the world pledge to write 50,000 words in November. I figured I’d be out and about writing every day, why not try new coffee spots while I’m at it?
What this list isn’t:
– The absolute 30 best coffee shops in LA (although I find a lot of them great, that’s not what this list was about, however, I always did my research and tried to find quality places) — besides, isn’t it all subjective anyway?
The spot I tried each day depended on where I was working and what I needed to do that day. Whether you’re a coffee connoisseur, tea master, or Kombucha revolutionary, here’s a list of 30 great coffee spots around LA with some (BEST OF) gold stars scattered throughout.
DAY 1: Coffee Commissary
If you’re in the Hollywood/West Hollywood area, Coffee Commissary is a must-try. Lunch-tray nostalgia in a cactus-friendly, this spacious environment will win you over with its pour overs. These indie coffee roasters were warm and toasty, making this a perfect kick-off spot for my challenge.
6087 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028
DAY 2: Literati Café
Not a coffee shop, per se, but not not a coffee shop. Get B, L, or D here or delicious snacks to hold you over between meals. On chillier days, their chili hits the spot. Unassumingly spacious with an outdoor patio, Literati Cafe is my go-to when I’m on the west side or in West LA.
BEST OF: ALL-PURPOSE
12081 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90025
DAY 3: Toasted and Roasted
These drip coffee connoisseurs with thirteen single origin options specialize in cross-continental bean science. Yeah, it’s a thing. Look it up. For those more fermentation-ally inclined, they also have Kombucha on tap.
7311 Melrose, Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90046
DAY 4: Bungalow 40
Casual espresso bar meets art gallery in this home-away-from-home bungalow nestled snugly in Hollywood’s historic Hudson Theater lobby. Ingestible fan-favorites include Matcha, a must-try homemade pudding, and CBD. They claim their House Specialties, The Frenchie and Peppermint Patty are their best drinks, but you’re free to decide for yourself.
6541 Santa Monica Blvd. Los Angeles CA 90038
DAY 5: Verve Coffee Roasters
“Welcome to Verve. Hey, you’re almost there.”
Warm vibes was on perfect slow-drip setting upon entering Verve and meeting their bean-bending baristas. The Coffee Roasters have multiple locations around LA but I especially like the 3rd street spot. I always feel welcomed and focused here, and there’s even a mirror wall, which is definitely not for occasionally looking at your crush.
8051 W. 3rd St. Los Angeles, CA 90048
DAY 6: Coffee for Sasquatch
These funky forest-lovers excel at espresso expression and imbibe-able art. I love the juxtaposition of habitat horticulture aka plant walls and their clean sanctuary appearance, which might look good on Instagram, if you’re into that sort of thing. Sasquatch may or may not approve. As for their (seasonal) drink Espresso Pumpkin Spice, and others: Lavender Vanilla Latte, Honey Cardammon Latte, Cryptid Latte—Sasquatch definitely gives two opposable thumbs-up.
7020 Melrose Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90038
DAY 7: Barclay’s Coffee and Tea Co.
Bombshell bean and bite bene-factor-y for escaping the Valley’s blazing heat, Barclay’s Coffee and Tea Co. exhibits art from local artists, has ample work stations, and comfy couches and armchairs aplenty. Also, this is a hike outside of LA (it’s in Northridge) but it’s a clever spot for meeting other artists, writers, and students. Try the Mexican Mocha says Mary. If Barclay’s were a song? Mr. Blue Sky.
8976 Tampa Ave, Northridge, CA 91324
DAY 8: Bricks and Scones
This two-storied cabin classic with outdoor seating and games has that local neighborhood feel, granted you can find yourself a seat. It’s a top spot in Larchmont village packing a fully-fledged menu for any and all cravings. If Bricks and Scones were a song, it’d be Repeat by Young the Giant. You’ll want to hit repeat on your visit here too. Michelle says the sea salt caramel latte is tasty.
403 N Larchmont Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90004
DAY 9: Stir Crazy Coffee House
I walked in here and felt like I left LA. Between the rustic, creaky-door tavern ambience and bottomless black coffee, I thought I blacked out and woke up in a Western. Who doesn’t like a good coffee blackout anyway? If you’re looking for a classic, local spot to give you all the good kinds of stir crazy, this is the one.
BEST OF: BOTTOMLESS, BLACK COFFEE
6903 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038
DAY 10: Cutie’s Coffee
As LA’s only LGBTQ-focused coffee shop, Cutie’s Coffee is special in that it’s an intergenerational queer social ecosystem in a no alcohol-oriented environment, which makes it welcoming and accessible for young people too. I love lofts, especially writing from them and I have yet to meet friendlier staff. “I’m Coming Out,” or “The Way you Make me Feel” can be heard playing softly from time to time.
BEST OF: LBGTQ
710 N Heliotrope Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90029
DAY 11: Rubies and Diamonds
I walk by this place all the time, and definitely didn’t realize it was a coffee shop, with its lush couches and marble countertops, but I’m glad I stopped in to chat with these non-jewelers. With high-prized diamonds and dreams-in-the-sky in mind, these folks are gems: aficionados that brew their beans to perfection with signature drinks, home-made sauces, and sea salt drinks sourced from another dimension. Their drinks are real treasures so try the coconut sea salt cold brew.
6115 Sunset Blvd #150, Los Angeles, CA 90028
DAY 12: Balcony Coffee & Tea
Balcony Coffee & Tea is way more than meets the eye, but you’ll have to see to believe. An eastern-inspired shop boasting crafty coffee bean know-how, these green-thumbed tea lovers are sure to soothe your heart and mind with their instrumentals and peaceful fountains in their lush and quaint outdoor patio. Balcony Coffee & Tea in Koreatown offers a sage take on drinks, so definitely ask them about their Brad Pitt, and Angelina. Also, if you like tea, they might know a thing or two about the topic.
BEST OF: TEA, OUTDOOR GARDEN
312 N Western Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90004
DAY 13: Spoonfed
Spoonfed is that secret oasis you unlock at the end of a video game after weeks of game play. Not impossible to find, but definitely tucked away for those who don’t know where to look. These Chi-town inspired flavor finders host indoor and outdoor spaciousness ripe with sprawling greenery and picture-perfect privacy, all while doling out classic beverages and eats. Don’t knock the Nutella Latte until you try it.
BEST OF: PRIVACY, COMFORT, OFF THE BEATEN PATH
959 Seward St, Los Angeles, CA 90038
DAY 14: Coffee + Food
Aussie-influenced baristas strive for quality in this local early bird hangout with house made pastries, healthy fare, sweet tunes, and above all, a dedication to all things coffee and food. They say if they were a song, they’d be Africa by Toto. They also say they have a proprietary coffee blend that no one else has that you gotta try.
BEST OF: MUSIC, AMBIENCE, LOCAL
5630 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90004
DAY 15: Go Get ‘Em Tiger
These tigers and tigresses are all about the coffee experience. Bright, airy, and tight-knit, any time spent waiting in line will be well worth it. These cats ensure it like they ensure the upkeep of their steam wand. Larchmont Village is a lovely walkable street with a weekly Sunday Farmer’s Market and plenty of coffee shops to choose from. Go Get ‘Em Tiger surely makes the list.
BEST OF: FRIENDLY STAFF
230 N Larchmont Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90004 (various)
DAY 16: Guildhall Sports Hall
Games and goblins and goblets, oh my! Guilhall Sports Hall is not a coffee shop, but it’s a really cool sports hall with 150+ games crafted with stress relief in mind. I cheated and added a non-exclusive coffee spot to the list. Our Nano group did our halfway event here, and some people were sipping coffee, so that counts right? If you like games, beer, mac and cheese brisket, and live in LA, this would make a great date spot.
BEST OF: SPORTS HALL, ALCOHOL, BAR FOOD, GAMES, DATE NIGHT
3516 W Victory Blvd, Burbank, CA 91505
DAY 17: Intelligentsia
If you find yourself on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame and require respite from the day’s hubbub and hullabaloo, Intelligentsia Coffee Hollywood Coffeebar is the smart choice. Their erudite espresso connoisseurs value cleanliness, comfort, and steady streams of sunlight. There’s quite a few throughout the city and, despite the name, all Intelligence Quotients are welcomed.
6401 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028
DAY 18: Bolivar Coffee and Arepa Bar
At this point in the month, I’m exhausted trying different coffee shops on top of an already busy schedule, so the Dias De Los Muertos themed café, Bolivar Coffee and Arepa Bar, was the perfect mood-stabilizer. They understood me. Mind you, they don’t always showcase Dias De Los Muertos, but South American heritage and arepas are constants. The combination of rustic decor and fresh-squeezed juices and ingredients bring this hotspot plenty of cool points too. Try the arepas. All of them.
BEST OF: AREPAS
1741 Ocean Park Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405
DAY 19: Blue Bottle Coffee
The blue-bottlers here exuded enthusiasm, warmth, and genuine interest when I told them about my coffee adventures, and I forgot all about my exhaustion. It’s important to remember we’re all human beings talking to human beings, regardless of “which side of the counter” we’re on. Blue Bottle Coffee practices this through their dedication to compensating their farmers very well, the ones who grow the beans we so love. This whole exercise of talking to the baristas reminded me to be present, curious, and to think about people other than myself. A great all-around spot, this one.
8301 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048
DAY 20: Frenz Coffee
I came here on a cold, gray, rainy day and Frenz Coffee was just what I needed. Sitting on the back patio while rain poured down with a nice warm mint tea was the perfect way to spend my morning. The place isn’t overwhelmingly big or anything (if you want to work or study, the only place to do so is the outside patio), but that’s kind of what I liked about it. I’ll definitely be back for that back patio!
5770 Melrose Ave Ste 101, Los Angeles, CA 90038
DAY 21: Alfred Coffee Melrose Place
I came here in the afternoon on a Thursday, so I managed to avoid the lines this place is known for. People love their Alfred’s! I can see why. It’s a windy little labyrinth with various forms of seating, and even a work station or two for those who like to stand while working. Uplifting and lively, Alfred Coffee on Melrose is great for weekend brunch or a caffeine fix, and the Kombucha is top-notch.
BEST OF: MOOD, KOMBUCHA
8428 Melrose Pl, Los Angeles, CA 90069
DAY 22: Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
Okay, you might be wondering why this one made the list, considering nearly all the others are less chain-y, but with Coffee Bean, much like Starbucks, you know what you’re getting. I’m not someone who drinks a lot of coffee; the tea is fine, they offer solid rewards, and I can always get quick internet. The main reason this made the list is the large outdoor patio at the Sunset Blvd. location. Lots of open seating for vitamin D seekers who don’t want to spend another minute inside.
BEST OF: REWARDS
6255 Sunset Blvd #170, Los Angeles, CA 90028
DAY 23: Bardonna
This is a modest early bird spot tucked away in Larchmont Village, so keep your eyes peeled, because you might miss it! When you do find this sweet little nook, feel free to cranny yourself amongst the greenery on the back patio. A cozy spot with a friendly neighborhood mood, I felt like I was in the human version of a bird’s nest. Safe and snug, though I did have to acquire my own sustenance.
139 N Larchmont Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90004
DAY 24: Andante Coffee Roasters
I came in here on one of those rare days in LA when water falls from the sky, which in my opinion, is the best time to be in a coffee shop. Getting snug, working, sipping on something hot while strangers throw themselves inside and shake their bodies like wet dogs… but human. If you’re in the Melrose area, this corner-spot is a must-try regardless of what the weather is doing that day.
7623 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036
DAY 25: The Assembly
If you find yourself on the well-trafficked streets of West Hollywood on Melrose and Santa Monica, but seek some peace and quiet, take a stroll down Robertson and pop into The Assembly. Considering what is nearby, I was surprised how quiet it was. Clean, pristine, and lean, this indoor-outdoor space is early to rise and early to bed (like most coffee shops), so if your caffeine game is on a strict schedule, give this goose a gander.
634 N Robertson Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069
DAY 26: Caffe Etc.
Fifteen years and going strong! That’s saying something, don’t you think? From merchandise, to music, to gelato, Caffe Etc. has bent itself to the times, but its dedication to its patrons through its organically grown and fair-traded coffees is undoubtedly unmatched. The super friendly owners of this long-standing mainstay are especially interested in supporting the non-chains of the world.
6371 Selma Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028
DAY 27: Urartu Café
Urartu Café just had to outdo Caffe Etc with its sixteen years of existence, didn’t it?! That’s okay. Comparison is the thief of joy, and there’s plenty to go around. This family-owned Armenian café cares a lot about its local community and strives to be more than just a coffee shop. They occasionally host poetry readings and other events, which can be found on their Instagram page @urartucoffee.
119 N Artsakh Ave, Glendale, CA 91206
DAY 28: The 101 Coffee Shop
I was looking forward to coming here because I knew it stayed open late (until 3am), a rare thing in LA. I’m always interested in finding late-night spots because I get some of my best work done at night, but it’s just not a thing. Although they have coffee in their name, The 101 Coffee Shop is definitely more of a diner. If you need to get work done late-night while sipping on ice cream floats and gobbling up pancakes (and all other foods you could think of), this coffee shop alternative is a crash-course in YES.
Best of: LATE NIGHT, DINER, AMBIENCE
6145 Franklin Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028
DAY 29: Blackwood Coffee
This fan-favorite came highly recommended and did not disappoint. Rustic wood and plant walls on the outside with industrial interiors and a smorgasbord of art made me feel like I was in my own kitchen. Warm, welcoming, wonderful—if you find yourself in Hollywood/West Hollywood, give it a go. Side note: I’m not sure if this is every day or just on weekends, but they didn’t kick on the internet until 2pm, always a surefire way to get more work done, or have an uninterrupted chat!
BEST OF: ALL-AROUND, MIXOLOGY
7509 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90046
DAY 30: Denny’s
Yeah, I know… DENNY’S. Much like Guildhall Sports, this happened on a day with a special Nano event, so I decided to incorporate it. It’s a great place to get work done after the typical operating hours of most coffee shops. Not the best, most healthful menu but you probably didn’t come for the food… unless you did, in which case, eat your heart out. No judgment. It was the last day of writing a 50,000-word novel so I was equally exhausted, excited and delirious. Of course, the remedy to such a thing is PANCAKES!
BEST OF: BANG-FOR-BUCK
10700 Jefferson Blvd, Culver City, CA 90230