Eastside chic Copa Vida is a smartly elegant coffee shop, located in the bustling shopping and dining area of Old Town Pasadena. A great place for a coffee break, it is a relaxing space to catch up with friends, or to work on creative projects.
Out in Silver Lake, Lamill Coffee is an elegantly designed space that turned out to offer much more than the usual selection of coffee I was expecting. The menu was extensive with a wide variety of American food, and the coffee and tea sections presented many options. My friend and I decided on a mocha, a cappucino, and brioche donuts, pictured below.
With neoclassical wallpaper that covers entire walls like a mural, and sleek, black table tops that you can see your slightly marbled reflection in, Lamill’s interior feels very mod with a bold color scheme of black, white, red, and pale blue. Cushioned, faux leather swivel chairs and a golden chandelier were key luxurious elements to this coffee bar and cafe/restaurant.
In addition to its own location in Culver City, Cognoscenti Coffee can also be found in the Atwater Village neighborhood in northeast Los Angeles, housed inside of Proof Bakery. With pastries being baked freshly throughout the day, this location is the perfect stop for a relaxing weekend afternoon break. Although seating is limited to a few tables inside and a few outside along the sidewalk, patrons seem to come and go fairly quickly in this bustling little bakery. Plenty of shops and cafes along Glendale Blvd. separated by the wide driving lane give this location the feel of a smaller and more relaxed town.
Off a busy street in Silver Lake, Broome St. General Store is a homely-little shop selling kitchenware, gifts, and specialty foods. Items such as mugs, gourmet jams, and mason jars of various sizes lined one of the shelves near the entrance. Upon stepping inside this quaint and cozy shop on a chilly weekday evening, I felt as if I had been transported to a quieter part of town. A few patrons were perusing the store, while carrying a conversation with the barista behind the counter. Outside on the patio, two other people were seated at one of the tables under the canopy of trees strung with lights, engaged in quiet conversation. A good location for enjoying a cup of coffee, and with so many unique items and a display of pastries brought in from some of the best nearby bakeries, I left with more than just my cappucino.
The Trails Cafe, tucked away amongst the trees of Griffith Park, is a true gem. The cafe operates like a large stand, and serves a delicious assortment of homemade pastries and pies, with many vegan-friendly options. There are also lunch items such as hot dogs and sandwiches, and the specials of the day feature fresh and unique quiches and pies. Stumptown coffee, assorted teas, and lemonade are also available. Pictured below is the Avocado Sandwich with tomato, alfalfa sprouts, onion, soy bacon bits, and cheddar cheese, and Stumptown coffee.
Often frequented by families, pets, and hikers, and the lengthy lunchtime line can take about 30 minutes on a nice weekend afternoon, which is most weekend afternoons in Los Angeles. As it is about a 20 minute hike from the popular Griffith Observatory and close to various trails within the park, this is the perfect spot for a stop before or after a hike. Seating consists of picnic tables, tree stumps, and bales of hay in a peaceful outdoor setting.
PASADENA, CA – On the corner of Allen Ave. and Locust St. is an unassuming brick walled storefront with its own roasting operations happening in its cozy interior. Stepping into Jameson Brown Coffee Roasters feels like stepping into a library; the atmosphere is mostly quiet, with studious hipsters hard at work.
The open layout of the store includes a fireplace, a couch, one large table, and smaller tables scattered sparsely. Seasonal coffee beans for sale are displayed in open barrels in one corner, and in another, a variety of books and box of Legos are stored in a bookshelf, adding to the warm living room ambience.
Curtained windows, brick walls, comfy couches, and pumpkin decorations make Jameson a great place to stop in on a chilly fall or winter day.
Located inside Atwater Crossing, which is a small complex with a restaurant and space for various events, is a small counter that serves up some delicious espresso drinks and coffee of their own roasting.
Near this counter, there is extremely limited indoor seating, but due to the shared space design of the complex, there is plenty of outdoor patio seating under red and white umbrellas, or at the long wooden bench in the corner.
The coffee can also be taken inside to the bar next door, where patrons can enjoy both caffeinated and alcoholic drinks in a spacious, industrial-inspired atmosphere. A splash of black and white graphic print decor modernizes the bar and counter area.
I enjoyed an expertly crafted macchiato on a late weekday afternoon, and the small neighborhood location away from busy streets makes True & Brave a hidden gem with stress-free street parking. Pictured below are apartment complexes across the street from Atwater Crossing in this quiet neighborhood in Northeast Los Angeles.
LARCHMONT VILLAGE – Along a street of upscale boutiques, restaurants, and specialty shops is a coffee bar that serves what the New York Times has called “The Best Iced Latte in America.” On an early sunny afternoon, I walked into the casual chic space and decided to try the special macadamia nut milk latte. I placed my order with the barista by walking up to the long wooden bar, designed to function like a beer/wine bar with no formal lines. The lattes were served in turquoise tinted mason jars, matching the hipster aesthetic of the shop.
The seating mainly consisted of small shelf-like tables against the wall with boxy wooden stools, or standing at the main counter/bar. Small potted plants, figurines, and vintage-looking trinkets are displayed on the polished white shelves. Neatly organized bags of coffee beans, books, magazines, and other merchandise for sale lined another white shelf, along with snapback hats with the embroidered store name, “gget.”
Overall, the Go Get Em Tiger coffee bar is a good stop for some unique and quality coffee concoctions in an area of Los Angeles that has a small-town, yet trendy feel.
In Northeast Portland, along a row of trendy shops and restaurants, is a sleek coffee space of a different kind. Barista Fine Coffee Purveyors had a luxury modern feel, and I was surprised to find that they also serve alcoholic beverages, making this a good afternoon destination for whatever drink you are seeking. On the Sunday morning that I wandered in, I also noticed an ice bucket on the counter top with champagne and a jar of orange juice (pictured above). Behind the bar/counter, baristas were busy at work customizing espresso and coffee drinks for a steady stream of people stopping in for their afternoon caffeine.
In a city like Portland, Oregon, good coffee is never more than a short walk away. Artisan coffee shops are as abundant as Starbucks, making this city a dream for a coffee lover. The famous Stumptown can be found in many neighborhoods, yet the stores have retained the feeling of being a local neighborhood spot. Wide walled windows let in plenty of natural light, a giant coffee roaster was nestled in the corner, and plenty of framed artwork hung in a row along the wall. This place seemed conducive to reading or getting some light work done, and re-energizing before taking on the rest of the day.