Current Obsession: LA's Coffee Scene

Coffee Bar at Menotti's Coffee Stop in downtown LA.

Almost overnight, Los Angeles has gone from a city content with “coffee”—over-roasted, overrated, and only somewhat drinkable—to a mecca for cutting-edge coffee experts in search of nuanced espressos and inventive lattes. Here are a few of our favorites from this new crop of game-changers. 

 Photo by @dylanandjeni

Menotti's Coffee Stop

The name comes from Cesar Menotti, the largest distributor of wine and spirits during the Prohibition era. And it seems that Menotti’s founder, barista Christopher “Nicely” Abel Alameda, has taken the moniker to heart, creating a beverage emporium so hopelessly addictive that customers endure serious weekend wait times to order. Not that anyone minds, since Nicely’s Venice destination is the textbook definition of a great coffee shop: dialed-in espresso, talented baristas serving Cat and Cloud beans, and quality tunes from a vinyl system. And if you’ve been waiting to try LA’s signature iced E & T (espresso and tonic)—Menotti’s take is, hands down, our favorite.

56 Windward Ave
Venice, CA


Bar Nine Collective

Zayde Naquib, a long-time barista known for helming a Mike D-curated “coffee installation” at MOCA, teamed up with Jereme Pitts to create this innovative roaster-cum-café, which boasts the first Modbar espresso system in LA. The Modbar features a touch-screen panel to control dosage, temperature, and water pressure, engineering an endlessly repeatable perfect shot. Located in Culver City’s industrial Hayden Tract, Bar Nine is definitely a coffee geek’s paradise, sourcing single-origin, single-variety beans from Panama and Ethiopia (and roasting it all on-site). Our caffeine hack? Try a latte with Bar Nine’s house-made hazelnut milk.

3515 Helms Ave
Culver City, CA


Coffee for Sasquatch

Claire Ackad’s female-led Coffee for Sasquatch is a decidedly bright, airy, design-focused interpretation of a West Hollywood gourmet coffee bar, featuring a living plant wall and furniture sourced from Stockholm. At the counter, one finds Ritual beans brewed on a three-group La Marzocco espresso machine, and a heavy emphasis on pour-overs and cold brews, which match perfectly with the café’s floral-themed treats—think vegan rose cake from Insatiable More, and an affogato-style "tea-gato" with McConnell's lemon berry ice cream in Kilogram hibiscus tea. Our sweet spot? The Cubano: a judiciously sweetened Cuban-style latte.

7020 Melrose Avenue
West Hollywood, CA


Cognoscenti Coffee Bar

Named one of the 38 essential coffee shops in America by Eater, this modernist coffee bar in Culver City was founded and designed by Yeekai Lim, who left the world of architecture to follow his passion for coffee (becoming one of LA’s preeminent baristas in the process). Sourcing a massive selection of beans from roasters around the country, Cognoscenti is the perfect destination for a late morning or early afternoon pick-me-up, with espresso and single brews prepared by well-trained baristas. No matter what brew you choose, be sure to pair it with an otherworldly chocolate chip cookie from Lim’s other enterprise: Proof Bakery.

6114 Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA


Paramount Coffee Project

This Sydney import—nestled amidst Fairfax Village’s shoe and skate shops—combines the talents of three coffee-obsessed friends: Jin Ng of Paramount House, Mark Dundon of Seven Seeds, and Russell Beard of Reuben Hills. Together, this trifecta serve up Australian concoctions like flat whites and long blacks from an ever-changing lineup of roasters, including Marvell Street from Australia and Oregon’s Heart Coffee. While the brews are stellar, be sure to sample this shop’s innovative take on Australian treats, like the vegemite butterscotch shake. While not for the faint of heart, we think it’s a gift from the umami gods.

456 N Fairfax Ave
Los Angeles, CA


Dinosaur Coffee  

What do you do if you’re the guy who dreamed up Cards Against Humanity, and you’re really, really, really into coffee? Ben Hantoot and his wife Michelle—a former barista—took their love of amped-up gatherings and created the playfully addictive Dinosaur Coffee, designed by MASS Architecture. Serving Four Barrel espresso in an airy room perfect for conversation and community, this Silver Lake shop boasts habit-forming specialty drinks like cardamom cinnamon cappuccino and coconut cold brew, as well as a variety of pastries. But the big win is to hit them up during lunchtime on Tuesdays, when yummy Guerrilla Tacos parks outside.

4334 W. Sunset Blvd.
Silver Lake, CA

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