Situated in Downtown Los Angeles, on the rapidly changing Broadway corridor, is a bright blue painted storefront inviting you to “come early, stay late.” That’s the motto at Mega Bodega, Downtown’s newest coffee and beer destination. Outside, you’ll notice a wooden patio somewhat reminiscent of a parklet—a refreshing scene in an area becoming more pedestrian-friendly every day. Once inside, you’ll find a calm, inviting coffee-and-craft beer hybrid space with tables, various bar seats, and stylish cubes to sit on.
Owner Scott Kroha designed the space with the help of a friend. There are no distracting colors or elements, just a rendition of a beer-drinking ouroboros painted on the wall. The sleek, wooden finish in light neutral tones, paired with large open windows letting the natural light flood in, sets the mood for you to stay as long as you like.
Mega Bodega has a beer-and-wine license, and you can get a beer as early (or late) as you please. Twelve brews are on tap, with an additional few selections of bottles and cans, as well as local kombuchas. “We branch out, but it’s mostly small craft brewers with a focus on local California and West Coast beers,” explains Kroha. “We really just try to get whatever we can that’s unique and seasonal.” The wine list also focuses mainly on West Coast producers, though there are plans to branch out there as well.
As for coffee, Mega Bodega exclusively serves San Francisco’s Four Barrel from a La Marzocco Linea Classic, all ground on a Mazzer Robur grinder. Kroha also hopes to “do some features with different roasters in the future.” Although there are already some craft coffee shops in the surrounding area, Kroha wanted a different space for locals, “a one-stop place where you can get a coffee and breakfast in the morning, or come in after work and on the weekend to have coffee and beer.” It achieves a nice balance. “You [could] get a beer when we open and a coffee when we close,” Kroha says.
The food menu is made up of a variety of sandwiches, sweet and savory toasts, and pastries from local bakery Bread Lounge. Kroha designed the menu to feature “simple things that go well with coffee, wine, and beer.” “Simple” doesn’t speak to the quality here though—Mega Bodega’s sandwiches can include house-pickled veggies and the best-quality charcuterie and meats available. “Everything is about sourcing the best ingredients we can, even using the same pastrami as Langer’s Deli,” Kroha says, mentioning LA’s most famous pastrami institution. The turkey sandwich, another popular item, is made with Mary’s free-range organic turkey, pickled onions, and avocado. Highlighting the variety of libations is the Smorgasbord, a bread, cheese, and meat plate that’d satisfy any happy-hour craving.
In the future, Mega Bodega plans to hold events highlighting all of their offerings. A tap takeover is in the works, which will showcase some of the various new breweries in Downtown LA. Kroha also plans to expand on the coffee he offers, with a possibility of rotating local roasters monthly.
As Mega Bodega closes its doors for the night, you can glimpse the popular Mega Man videogame from the 1980s, representing one more note to the cafe's ambience. At the end of the day, that's what Kroha wants to cultivate: a community spot driven by the same lighthearted fun we used to get from those old consoles.
Tatiana Ernst is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and photographer. Read more Tatiana Ernst on Sprudge.