Ten years ago this month, Intelligentsia Coffee opened its landmark first Los Angeles cafe, located on Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake. Now in 2017 the brand has teamed up again with Barbara Bestor—whose Bestor Architecture designed that Sunset space back in 2007—to open Intelligentsia’s first cafe in the Boston suburb of Watertown.
The cafe opened in July of this summer, and sports a striking two-group La Mazocco Strada AV in “Hunter Green,” Marco undercounter boilers with UberFont, Modbar steam font, water towers by Curtis, and grinders by Mahlkönig. By-the-cup brewing happens across a “chef’s table”-inspired brew bar (with Chemex, Hario V60, Kalita Wave, and Café Solo options) and there’s an extensive Kilogram Tea program, including sparkling teas on tap.
Barbara Bestor happens to be a Boston-area native and Harvard grad, and her Watertown cafe is a bold stroke of Boho Modern design style. The space runs 1,900 square feet with built-in seating, nooks, vintage European furniture, outdoor seating and, for the first time at an Intelligentsia cafe, a parking lot.
I asked James McLaughlin, Intelligentsia’s President and CEO, why the brand chose Boston as its next city in which to open a cafe. “Boston is an amazing city with a burgeoning culinary scene,” he told me. “We felt like it was the perfect time to join the Boston community and share Intelligentsia’s approach to coffee.”
Might there be more Boston cafes in the pipeline, perhaps in the coming year? “While we do plan to open more stores in Boston, we are determined to find the perfect location so putting a timeline on that is difficult,” says McLaughlin. “We would love to open another Boston location in the next year, but won’t rush into anything that doesn’t fit.”
Fair enough. In the meantime, Intelligentsia’s Watertown coffee bar is now open for business, serving the neighborhood and looking quite unlike any other coffee opening we’ve seen in 2017. This place is a fascinating step forward for the cafe design partnership between Intelligentsia and Barbara Bestor, whose ongoing influence can be found in cafes around the world.
Jordan Michelman is a co-founder and editor at Sprudge Media Network. Read more Jordan Michelman on Sprudge.
Photos courtesy Intelligentsia Coffee.