Monday, October 30, 2017

Wilson's Words of Wisdom: October Round Up (Indoor-Outdoor Coffee Shops in Los Angeles)

There’s most certainly no shortage of amazing cafés and coffee shops in Los Angeles. Whether it's the ambience, the coffee itself, the pastries or some other factor, there are literally hundreds upon hundreds of places, that on any given day, can give you that perfect coffee experience.

For this monthly round up, though, I wanted to narrow down the large list and specifically focus on places with incredible spaces — both inside and out.

From the gorgeous to the out-of-the-ordinary, I'm talking about places that have patios that look like gardens or have motorcycles proudly displayed throughout. Whether ultra-modern, classic or homely, however they may differ in style, they don’t differ in offering outstanding coffee in a highly detailed ambiance.

So whenever you’re ready to engross yourself in a good book, connect with friends for a few hours or find a location for a first date, below are the coffee spots to have on your radar!

Bar Nine

If you didn’t know to look for it, you’d probably never find it. Bar Nine sits right on the corner of National Blvd. and Helms Ave., within a slightly residential, slightly industrial part of Culver City. It has a minimalist, open and airy space, with stark white walls accentuated by hints of greys and natural browns. The vibes are super casual, with a couple of metal bleachers lining some of the walls, a few barstools paired with long, thin tables and a record player accompanied by vintage speakers and records that look like they’ve been around for decades. Outside, patrons can lounge on old crates. The staff is super serious about coffee, even boasting an onsite roastery in the back (see pic below). Aside from coffee, there’s a limited menu of pastries, brunch items and other beverages like teas, which come served in mason jars.
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Deus Ex Machina

It’s an art gallery! It’s a men’s specialty store! It’s a café! Wait — no — it’s all of those — and more! Holding it down as the only location in the States, Venice’s Deus Ex Machina has one of the most unique — and coolest — coffee shop spaces I’ve ever seen. Unassuming from the outside, once inside, it’s like the millennial “man cave,” with an array of hip apparel and accessories for men in the store and motorcycles, literally everywhere — from the giant mural on the outside wall to actual bikes, poised front and center all around. Deus Ex Machina baristas take the purity of coffee extremely serious; don’t expect any additives, like sugar here (and yes, I’m speaking from personal experience; I asked a barista for a side of sweetener one time, and he looked at me as I had asked for bleach. He was literally like, “I don't understand what you mean.”). From the large communal tables to the superior coffee and tasty snacks — like toast with almond butter — Deus Ex Machina is definitely worth visiting!
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G&B Coffee @ Grand Central Market

Grand Central Market has been a #WilsonsGuide fave for years, but it’s only recently that I discovered G&B Coffee, a coffee stand located inside of the market, right next to the South Hill St. entrance. High circular barstools surround an island where baristas churn out cups — and shots — of coffee. Speaking of shots, G&B Coffee has this “Magical World of One & Ones” menu, where shots of coffee are paired with goodies like ginger beer, ice cream and cappuccinos. G&B Coffee has a quick, no frills, fast-paced ambiance and it's the perfect location to take a quick breather while checking out all of the action happening in Grand Central Market or outside, on the bustling DTLA streets. Best selling point: Its real estate, right in the heart of a historic L.A. landmark.
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Rose Cafe

Separated into several different sections — a restaurant with two patios, a deli / coffee stand and a bar section — Rose Cafe boasts a vibrant space that’s absolutely enchanting. A chic, California vibe with lots of rustic accents and shrubs and greenery permeates throughout, and I just love the hanging plants over the communal tables in the bar section (pictured above). Coffee’s bold and delicious, always served with a nice presentation. Stop by for a quick bite to eat, grabbing one of the premade sandwiches or salads / sides that change daily, or stay for a longer meal, such as the weekend brunch. And if you do decide to dine at the restaurant, go ahead and order that side of curry fries. Other fun facts: it’s popular amongst celebs, and literally every single time I’ve gone with friends, we’ve spotted some actor casually dining with friends or associates.
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Society Kitchen 

With everything from daily happy hour, weekend brunches and frequent paint nights, Santa Monica’s Society Kitchen is the quintessential neighborhood hangout spot (and very, very kid-friendly, should inquiring minds want to know). The café makes a respectable cup of coffee, but honestly, I find myself also dropping by for everything else — the sangria, the open-faced smoked salmon toast (pictured below) and the decadent desserts, like the carrot cake. Painted in blacks, whites and shades of grey, the interior has a clean, classic look and a patio that shines underneath the strings of circular nights at night.
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Urth Caffé

With six locations from Santa Monica to Laguna Beach and everywhere in between, Urth Caffé has been a SoCal staple for decades. And, it’s one of those landmarks where if you’re in L.A., you have to visit at least once, because it is such a household name. It’s known for its tantalizing meals, exquisite pastries (like the fruit tart, pictured below) and assortment of coffees and teas. One of my favorites is the Spanish Latte Granita (also pictured below), a frothy, ice-blended coffee drink loaded with flavors like cinnamon and lots of caffeine. I’ve been to the DTLA and Beverly Hills locations, the latter, which I adore. It’s reminiscent of a cozy cottage, complete with a white picket fence and a fireplace inside, also with prime seating on its patio. Tip: there’s no wifi in the Beverly Hills location, so if you need the internet, bring your own hotspot.
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Verve Coffee Roasters

Verve Coffee Roasters’ patio in WeHo may be small, but it has tons of charm and character. Engulfed by overgrown shrubs and decked out with strings of hanging lights and wooden fixtures, it’s like being in an urban garden setting. There’s also a smaller patio that has just stools facing out towards Melrose Blvd. Aside from featuring coffees roasted on vintage roasters, the menu features very health-conscious options, like Chia Pudding and a Farro Beet Salad. Although personally, I’m going straight for the pastries, pictured below! Verve also has locations in Tokyo, Santa Cruz and San Fran, and two additional cafés in L.A.
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Zinc Café & Market

Situated in a somewhat obscure, but “up-and-coming” (read: gentrified) part of the Arts District near DTLA, Zinc Café is part-coffee shop, part-specialty store, part-restaurant and all kinds of cuteness. There are two patios — one that’s for the coffee shop, which isn't anything special — and one that’s affiliated with the restaurant. That patio is charming and quaint, and the place to sit, so definitely ask to sit out there, when you go. Nestled between two buildings, it has a bright feel, with leafy trees and white umbrellas providing ample shade. After a cup of joe and a pastry out there, make a quick stop at the indoor market (pictured below) before you leave, to pick up all kinds of high-end knick knacks and snacks, from cookbooks and aprons to wines and food to-go.
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