Whether you’re lucky enough to call it home, or just visiting for this weekend’s US Coffee Championships in Long Beach, Los Angeles is one of the most exciting coffee scenes to explore in the world right now. We love the old standbys and classic cafes, but for visitors the question is always “what’s new?” Lucky for you, your trusty Sprudge staff is ready to help, having exhaustively covered the best and the brightest of recent café openings over the last year.
If it’s been a while since you visited LA, you’re in for a treat, and below I’ve laid out a few essential recommendations for exploring what’s new in this diverse and wonderful city. I hope you find the always evolving and growing coffee scene in southern California to be welcoming and delicious!
Verve Coffee Roasters
How can a new coffee bar capture the imagination of the massive LA coffee scene? Well, building an over-the-top cafe and serving some top-notch coffees and fine juices is a good start. Check out all of the pretty and yummy here in Sprudge co-founder Zachary Carlsen’s in-depth coverage and photos.
Though you may first expect to find something Jurassic-Park-inspired, Dinosaur Coffee is in fact a gorgeous and airy space in Silver Lake, filled with light and crowned with a curved ceiling piece reminiscent of a wooden 3D dinosaur puzzle. The stunning design combined with Japanese ceramic cups filled with Four Barrel coffee, and delectable pastries by Farmshop, make this newcomer a must-see.
This new outpost of Café Dulcé, the venerable Little Tokyo bakery and coffee bar, is nestled inside the 777 Alameda Building on the American Apparel factory campus. The building itself houses a number of factory outlet stores, and the attractive, modern lobby cafe the Dulcé team has created is well worth a visit.
The cafe features Heart Coffee Roasters of Portland, Oregon along with other rotating selections on espresso, batch, and manual brew, plus stellar tea lattes. And don’t miss the donuts! Green tea, red bean, Fruity Pebbles, they’re all to die for.
Document Coffee Bar & Gallery is located just steps from the historic Wiltern Theatre, and serves up PTs Coffee, Temple, and other rotating roasters in an awesome local gallery space that double as the perfect quiet cafe in which to work during the day.
Blending aspects of Koreatown’s rich cafe tradition with their own fun takes on coffee and community, Document is a great example of the breadth of the Los Angeles scene.
Since day one, Woodcat in Echo Park has been a local favorite. Serving Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters from a vintage Faema espresso machine, this cafe feels instantly welcoming and lived in. The neighborhood of Echo Park is booming with coffee right now—Andante recently opened a second location, Tierra Mia serves up their horchata lattes on Alvarado, and Blue Bottle is soon to follow in the Jensen building.
Los Angeles is a city full of vibrant neighborhoods, each overflowing with food, drink, and, increasingly, coffee. Here are some of our favorite areas to check out:
If you are heading to Los Angeles this weekend, there are some new spots in Chinatown worth a visit. In the Far East Plaza on Broadway, Andy Ricker opened Pok Pok Phat Thai while Alvin Cailan of Eggslut offers his take on a Tokyo ramen shop upstairs at Ramen Champ. And don’t miss the Cognoscenti coffee cart in residence at Scoops Ice Cream.
Grand Central Market
Even if you have already been to G&B, Grand Central Market is always worth a visit to see what’s new. Recently Sticky Rice added a noodle counter and rebuilt their original space. Press Brothers, once a tiny juice cart, is now a full stall next to Eggslut. And G&B remains the best place to grab a cup of coffee and accidentally run into all sorts of coffee friends and colleagues. Plus McConnell’s ice cream is there… nuff said.
The Arts District remains a focus for Los Angeles coffee, from the bigger news like Blue Bottle’s moving in, to the more boutique, like the fact that Blacktop Coffee now serves their Sightglass coffee alongside a breakfast menu created by Handsome alum Tyler Wells, featuring trout toast, avocado toast, eggs, and muesli, plus pastries by Sugarbloom including a kimchi-spam-musubi croissant. Guerrilla Tacos parks out front on Thursday and Friday. All of this is near Poketo and Apolis for shopping and Würstkuche for sausages and beer.
The new Blue Bottle on Abbot Kinney is near our favorite Japanese imports shop Tortoise and not too far from Gjelina and Gjelina Take Away. For more sweets and savories not to far away on Sunset Avenue, the new Gjusta Bakery is the home of our new obsession the baklava croissant and other fun treats served with Sightglass coffee. No trip to Venice would be complete without visiting Nicely Abel Alameda serving Four Barrel at Menotti’s.
Koreatown is the place to go. The Line Hotel has Roy Choi’s POT and Commissary restaurants and caFe in the lobby (read all about it in our interview with the chef here). Around the corner is the newly renovated Hotel Normandie with Cassell’s for burgers and Le Comptoir for a hyper-local prix fixe dining experience by Gary Menes. And for modern takes on cocktails check out the new The Normandie Club. It’s top notch.
Check out Tien Nguyen’s guide to all things coffee in Long Beach for all your competition-adjacent coffee needs.
You want fancy food? You want sweets? While you are in town tweet to @juliewolfson for more recommendations. And welcome to LA!
Julie Wolfson is a Sprudge.com desk writer based in Los Angeles. Read more Julie Wolfson on Sprudge.