I like to write at home in the mornings, but find I get more done in the afternoons if I’m close to espresso machines. This is true despite the fact that after noon, I drink only decaf. Basically, it’s the smell of caffeine that keeps me productive —
Picky writers can’t just go to any coffee shop though. We need good working spaces with comfy chairs and tables. We need decent wifi and electric outlets for our laptops. We (or at least I) need good reading light. And we like to be able to hang for a few hours without feeling like we’re overstaying our welcome.
Which is to say — I’m really putting together this best coffee shops list for me. I often find myself stuck in a part of town I don’t know very well — usually before or after some event — because I don’t want to drive home until after rush hour ends. Now (or more accurately, soon, when I finish this 5-part guide covering most L.A. neighborhoods), whatever area of Los Angeles I happen to be in, I know where I can stop to read or get some writing done while I wait for traffic to clear.
Burbank: Romancing the Bean
This coffee shop has a lovely, light-filled interior with lots of tables for two as well as a bigger communal table that invites friendly conversations with fellow coffee drinkers. The coffee’s organic, the staff very friendly, the slices of cake gigantic.
Do arrive with your laptop fully charged, because while the wifi is strong the outlets are not plentiful. In addition to coffee, tea, and pastries, Romancing the Bean offers a local, organic sandwiches-and-salads menu. I recommend the cold nicoise salad!
North Hollywood: TeaPop
Tea lovers will especially like this place, which offers a whole bunch of different loose leaf teas as well as tea lattes and milk teas (as far as I can tell, the milk teas are basically tea lattes on ice). If you’re as picky about your lattes as I am though, you might want to ask some questions before you order. I asked for the Soy Matcha — a matcha-soy milk-honey combo — sans the honey, only to discover that their matcha itself was super-sweetened.
The staff here is also sweet though — and made me a Buck Roo instead. Enjoy the little piece of fake lawn on each of the wooden communal tables, the sunlight streaming in from the windows, and the spacious outside courtyard. Don’t miss the mural on the north wall, with its many crazy tea pots! Thanks to Rachael Warecki for introducing me to this place.
Sherman Oaks: M Street Coffee
This coffee shop is one of those places that gives you a unique wifi code when you make a purchase; the code’s good for two hours. Despite that time limit, M Street is a nice writing spot that packs a lot of people into its smallish space! Last time I stopped by, all the tables were taken — but I found a friendly latte drinker willing to share hers. We balanced our laptops and lattes precariously on the tiny table — and luckily nothing spilled —
A couple things to keep in mind: M Street closes rather early — at 6 pm on weekdays. And about the picture above: I found out the hard way that they can’t do latte art for tea lattes! If you want a heart on your drink, get a real latte — They’re yummier too. Thanks to Zach Behrens for introducing me to this place.