The 10 Best Hollywood Coffee Shops for Screenwriters
This story first appeared in the Jan. 10 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
You've got an agent and projects in the pipeline, but Soho House hasn't taken you off the waiting list. What's a homeless hack to do? Gone are the days when Quentin Tarantino and Charlie Kaufman huddled over watery cups of joe at House of Pies -- Los Angeles has become a sophisticated coffee town. Shops that are self-consciously "third wave" (translation: artisanal) prevail, as do prep methods such as pour-overs and siphoning, both of which allow for brewing ground-to-order cups. And one never can know too much about a bean's origins, from its pinpoint geography to the altitude where it was grown. In 2014, two of the most buzzed-about nouveau roasters -- San Francisco's Four Barrel Coffee and Seattle's Caffe Vita -- are set to join L.A.'s piping-hot scene, further setting coffee lovers' hearts aflutter. For writers determined to enjoy a properly prepared cup while pounding out Oscar-worthy prose, these coffee shops come close to the new holy trinity: impeccably sourced brew + indulgent staff + ample wall outlets.
Alfred Coffee & Kitchen
8428 Melrose Place, West Hollywood; alfredcoffee.com
Tucked into Melrose Place's fashion row, this bilevel brew spot quickly became a magnet for writers who love the fact that there's an entire floor with no staff presence -- which means hours of guilt-free laptop time. "It's very hipster with their Rag & Bone uniforms," says fan Maria Arena Bell, a producer and former head writer on The Young and the Restless, who swears by the double-shot nonfat cappuccino.
➻ THE COFFEE Portland, Ore.'s Stumptown Coffee Roasters (which recently opened its own downtown L.A. cafe at 806 S. Santa Fe Ave.).
➻ HOT SHOT The Gibraltar, a "short latte" in a lowball glass with two espresso shots and 4 ounces of milk.
801 N. Fairfax Ave., West Hollywood; coffeecommissary.com
Hard-to-find roasters and unlimited free parking make Coffee Commissary a daylong destination for local writers. No matter how crowded it gets, there's always room along one of the communal bars. Celebrity sightings include Sophia Bush and Amanda Seyfried. Next door is L.A.'s most well-known butcher, Lindy & Grundy, featuring meat from humanely raised animals.
➻ THE COFFEE Coava (Portland, Ore.), Victrola (Seattle), Sightglass (San Francisco).
➻ HOT SHOT The Cubano, a cinnamon-infused cappuccino.
6114 Washington Blvd., Culver City; popupcoffee.com
His pop-up coffee stand earned owner and head barista Yeekai Lim a cult following, which accompanied him to his first permanent spot inside Atwater Village's Proof Bakery and now to his Culver City shop. Director and Slamdance co-founder Dan Mirvish (2012's Between Us) is a fan of taking meetings there.
➻ THE COFFEE Four Barrel (San Francisco), Bows & Arrows (Victoria, British Columbia).
➻ HOT SHOT The Cortado, similar to a Gibraltar.
2100 Echo Park Ave., L.A.; fixcoffeeco.com
Sure, purist-minded Fix has great coffee and knowledgeable baristas, but two other draws are "outdoor shade and plugs outside," says Andrew Knauer (The Last Stand), who's there almost daily. He has his ratio down of what to spend while working there: "Five dollars an hour plus $1 in the tip jar every time I get something. You don't want to be that asshole who doesn't tip."
➻ THE COFFEE Intelligentsia (Chicago), Handsome (L.A.), Verve (Santa Cruz, Calif.).
➻ HOT SHOT A straight-up 6-ounce cappuccino. Says a manager, "It's not defined by a big dollop of foam on top."
930 Broadway, Suite A, Santa Monica; funnelmill.com
This coffeehouse, which serves its own roasts, draws a slightly older crowd of writers -- some of whom might be attracted by the no-cellphone policy ("It was requested by an Oscar winner," says owner JC Ho). If you're after a rarefied coffee kick, try the $80-a-cup Kopi Luwak, brewed from beans that have passed through the digestive tract of the Asian palm civet -- can't get more single-origin than that.
➻ HOT SHOT The vanilla latte, with homemade vanilla milk; Tahitian vanilla beans are fermented in the milk for three days.
➻ BRING-HOME BEAN Panama Geisha Esmeralda, Lot 2 ($75 for 8 ounces), made from unwashed beans that give a fruitier flavor.