Los Angeles’ newest Blue Bottle Coffee sits in a development that's been in the works since 2010. Named Platform, a collection of shops and merchants in the Hayden Tract area of Culver City, the compound houses what was originally going to be the first Blue Bottle location in the city—even before the company opened on Abbot Kinney Boulevard and took over Handsome Coffee Roasters.
On a recent visit to the shop I spoke to Blue Bottle’s regional director of retail Brett Garrett, who gave some insight on the latest location in the growing Blue Bottle empire. Opened in mid-March, now as Blue Bottle's fifth location in LA, Hayden Tract was an attractive choice due to the “creative surrounding businesses and offices in this neighborhood, where we felt that our brand would be really well-received,” says Garrett. “Platform is an amazing concept as well, so it’s great to be a part of it along with the businesses here.” As of now, Platform is still under construction, and only a few of its planned businesses have opened so far—SoulCycle, Loqui Taco Shop, Van Leeuwen Ice Cream, and São Açaí among them (with many more to come in the next year).
When you walk into the Blue Bottle at Platform, you may be surprised by its size. At first it appears to be a small space, and you only see what’s in front you—the menu, pastries, baristas, the bar, and some brewing equipment for sale. Venture a bit farther in and you take in the full space. It’s an odd but inviting setup; the design came after the space had “gone through about ten iterations,” notes Garrett. It was designed by DCR/Super Paprika, a design group that's worked on other Blue Bottle locations, so they were familiar with the look Blue Bottle was going for.
Wide wooden stairs adorned with cushions are there for you to freely sit on, or you can go up those stairs to reach the mezzanine, where you can catch a seat at one of the tables for a view of the patrons coming in on the first level. “It’s your own private space, like a shelter, allowing you to get away from everyone downstairs and be by yourself,” says Garrett. “It’s just one of the many ways to interact with the cafe.” Other seating, especially if you’re looking for fresh air or more light, can be found at the outside tables across the stairs, which you might pass by on your way to the top.
The brewing and equipment at this Blue Bottle is uniform with every other Blue Bottle: everything is measured on sleek Acaia scales, coffee is ground on Mazzer grinders, and the La Marzocco Strada EE pumps out endless shots. Like other Blue Bottle cafes, you can also opt for espresso drinks or their signature pour-over. If you want something to go with your cup, a variety of ready-to-grab items—like their breakfast granola bar, muffins, or even chia-seed yogurt and overnight oatmeal—are available. Unlike other Blue Bottles, you won’t find heartier food like sandwiches and salads, due to space limitations. Luckily, however, this Blue Bottle is right next door to Loqui, an already popular taco spot, which you’re welcome to bring into the cafe. No doubt the other eateries scheduled to open in Platform will also complement the cafe—as Garrett says, “Coffee’s a really great product because it goes with everything.”
For future plans, Garrett says this location, like all the others, will offer brewing classes and cuppings. Collaborations with other vendors are also in the works. “Soon, we’ll be doing a coffee tasting with Loqui, and they’ll be doing a beer tasting here for us, so it’s going to be fun to team up with them for events.” Along with the two-tiered cafe design, another unique aspect at this Blue Bottle is its One Grand Books collection—a selection of books, on display and for sale, curated by “celebrated thinkers, writers, artists, and other creative minds, [all sharing] the 10 books they would take to a…desert island,” according to One Grand's site. It’s a fun idea that keeps the books-coffee relationship alive and well.
Blue Bottle at Platform may be a bit quieter than the other locations, but that’s all about to change. For years, Hayden Tract has been under construction while the surrounding neighborhood continues to revitalize in conjunction with the expanding and highly anticipated Expo Line Phase 2 that’s set to open May 20. Soon enough, riders on the metro line will be able to stop here and bring their brew all the way to the beach in Santa Monica.
Tatiana Ernst is a Sprudge staff writer based in Los Angeles. Read more Tatiana Ernst on Sprudge.