AS A WRITER I pretty much exist between two worlds at once: the “real” world, and my imagination. But I still need somewhere to work. These 10 cafes in LA range from the high-end to the homely to the chic. They all offer great drip coffee and espresso, and you won’t get any dirty looks when you bring out your laptop.
I love to go here if I land in the city after 10pm, or if it’s the middle of the week and I’m not in the mood to swig beer and take shots. The Bourgeois Pig is open till the wee hours — which isn’t that common in LA — and although it’s in a popular location, it never gets too noisy. There’s a pool table in the back room which is decked out like an enchanted forest and is watched over by a stuffed owl. The kitchen is open late too, and the Rotisserie Chicken Panini makes my mouth water just thinking about it.
5931 Franklin Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90028
Normally I go to cafes to work whilst drinking a latte, and I’ll eat elsewhere. But I love the sandwiches at The Cow’s End and would rather eat a sandwich there than at a restaurant or deli. There’s a study lounge upstairs that’s nice and cozy to work in.
34 Washington Blvd
Venice, CA 90292
3. Café Audrey
Named after Audrey Hepburn, Café Audrey is a great place to work during the day. It’s bright and cheery and they don’t blast the air conditioning. It’s a chic set-up, not just the usual tabletops and benches, and there’s a section with overstuffed chairs where you can relax with your drink or reread your manuscript for the umpteenth time. The afternoon crowd consists of locals and not a lot of tourists.
6701-B Hollywood Blvd
Hollywood, CA 90028
As a coffee enthusiast and frustrated barista, I always stop by Intelligentsia. It’s in every hipster travel guide, including my own, but there’s a good reason it sets the bar for other indie coffee shops: they offer freshly roasted coffee, perfectly noted cappuccinos, and a knowledgeable staff. I prefer the Sunset Boulevard location as it’s smaller and most of the customers do carry-out, leaving the tables for me and my mobile office.
3922 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90029
The menu at Handsome Coffee Roasters is for purists: coffee, espresso, or espresso and milk. Their lattes are made with Clover whole milk, and are so sweet and frothy that you don’t need sugar — which is good, because they don’t offer any. Their latte art, however, is Instagram-worthy.
There’s a see-through glass that provides a peek of the roasting room, and don’t be intimidated by the sleek décor and the models-slash-baristas: they’re very friendly and will teach you the ways of the bean. There also isn’t any WiFi, but that’s what is so great about this place. It’s my choice spot if I’m downtown and need a place to stop, take a well-prepared latte, and jot down some notes while avoiding a sugar high.
582 Mateo St
Los Angeles, CA 90013
K-town is known for its cafes, and DRIP is worth taking the trouble to find. The prices aren’t high, the food is delicious, and they offer free parking. Because of this, many of the patrons are students, and the ambience is library meets downtown museum.
3525 W 8th St
Los Angeles, CA 90005
The first time I saw Demitasse I was a bit blue about having to postpone a trip to Europe, but after walking in here that all went away. Their espresso machine is a thing of beauty. They offer all the usual café fare and they do it well, with smooth espressos and yummy sandwiches. But they also have items that you can take home and brag about. “Oh you’ve never had an oatmeal latte? Well, when I was in LA…”
135 S San Pedro St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
8. Stir Crazy Coffee Shop
Stir Crazy is one of my favorite places to hunker down if I have a deadline. They offer bottomless cups of coffee, comfortable seating, and great service, meaning you just have to worry about the words.
6903 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038
In my opinion, Coffee Commissary has hands-down the best drip coffee in LA, and is perfect for iced coffees. It’s an industrial-style space with friendly staff, and they have the most deliciously chunky chocolate chips in their cookies. If I’m not pushed for time I order two and enjoy the people-watching.
801 N Fairfax Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90046
Susina’s has amazing combinations of cakes and teas. Pretty much everything on the menu is divine, but I think the berry blossom cake and coconut crème tea (served in a mini French press) is definitely the way to go. This is a very popular spot, but isn’t ridiculously crowded if you go early or late. They have paid WiFi, but the ambience is more conducive to note-taking and composing love letters to the boy you met at the bar last night.
7122 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
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Juliet C. Obodo
Juliet C. Obodo is the author of Writer’s Retreat New York City - Best Cafes, Restaurants & Coffee Shops for Writers, Bloggers & Students and The Written in the Sky Trilogy, both available on Amazon. She is based in New York City, but travels out-of-state once a month and internationally every two months in search of the perfect cup of coffee. For more hip travel tips visit her blog Traveling*Indie*Writer*Chick.