My Favorite Coffee Shops - Arts District
When it comes to coffee in LA, there are 5 things you need to consider: vibe, work space availability, PARKING, coffee (of course), and service. Based on these 5 things, this week I’ve made a list of my top 3 café picks for LA’s Arts District. Let’s start with #1. Can you guess what it is?
#1 Stumptown Coffee Roasters - “Stump”
Vibe: Stumptown is originally from Portland, Oregon and it definitely matches that Portland vibe, which actually fits the Arts District pretty well - grungy, city vibe is how I would describe it. More seating outside than inside, so really enjoy it during the Spring/Summer seasons.
Work Space Availability: There definitely is space to sit (more outside than inside), but there’s rarely a time that Stumptown isn’t pretty busy, so finding space to open your laptop can be kinda hard. It’s an easier place to meet up and sit with friends, maybe read a book, but not my number one choice for working.
Parking: Free parking - let’s goooo! I actually don’t have too hard of a time finding a spot - people are always coming and going. There are some parking spots on the same side of the street and in the alley next door, but the majority are across the street. So if you don’t mind jaywalking, you’ll be fine!
Coffee: My favorite in the Arts District! My go-to drink here is a hot vanilla latte. I’ve always enjoyed the coffee here.
Service: Really nice and welcoming. If they ever get your drink wrong (which is hardly ever), they’ll gladly remake it for you. It doesn’t take long to get your drink, either!
Final Thoughts: This is my #1 cafe pick of my list. It has a reputation for being one of LA’s best, and I would agree. Plus, super cool that they roast in house, which you can see through the glass panes behind the espresso machine, and also that they do coffee tastings weekly and open to the public. Love Stumptown!
#2 Verve Coffee Roasters - “Verve”
(Ok, it’s technically in DTLA, but let’s let that go. Hehehe…)
Vibe: Cute! If you’re ever looking for a place to take a “coffee pic”, this is it. The greenery all over the front area definitely creates a trendy environment for you to enjoy your coffee. My fave vibe of my list for this reason alone!
Work Space Availability: Pleeeenty. If you need to work or study, this is the right place. So much seating outside and inside, and actually surprisingly quiet as most people have their headphones on minding their own business. Don’t get me wrong though, I’ve had plenty of coffee dates here with my girlfriends and you can chat and laugh without getting glares or stares.
Parking: Good luck! The worst of my list. There’s plenty of paid parking available, but not very many free parking spots if any, now that I think about it. This is the one reason why I don’t come here as often as I’d like. I guess between vibe and parking, parking really is the deciding factor here. That’s DTLA for you!
Coffee: My go-to here is called “The Missile”. Here’s how Thrillest describes it, “a dose of their cold coffee concentrate brewed using the Seabright House Blend spiked with house-made Turbinado sugar syrup. The result tastes like a mix of vanilla and caramel, with a striking similarity to melty ice cream.” It’s boooomb!
Service: Verve is normally very busy, but no complaints. It may take a bit longer than other coffee shops, but not by much. You can find a spot, set your things down, grab a cup of water or use the restroom, and your drink will be ready by then.
Final Thoughts: I literally come here for the vibe and how cute it is if I’m being honest. The coffee is always good, but I have to be in the mood to spend $10 on parking or $5 on a meter if I walk half a mile. If not, “thank you, next…!”
#3 Blue Bottle Coffee - “Blue Bottle”
Vibe: Clean. Minimalistic. Bright with all the surrounding windows.
Work Space Availability: Decent. More than Stumptown, but less than Verve. One large table, a hightop bar, and the bar around the barista area. It’s never full when I go, so you have a good chance at finding a place to sit down.
Parking: They have their own lot, and plenty of street parking close by if their lot is full.
Coffee: So they don’t serve vanilla lattes. Boooo. So this is my mocha spot. Reputable coffee, always tasty, but takes the #3 spot on my list (because they don’t have vanilla lattes, not because the coffee tastes bad).
Service: Very friendly, but their helpfulness is always what stands out. I still forget they don’t have flavored lattes, so they’ll gently remind me I can sweeten a regular latte or try their New Orleans cold brew to satisfy my sweet tooth. Still, ehhhh… They also help me pick out a pastry when I’m in the mood for one.
Final Thoughts: If you have a taste for simple, you’ll love Blue Bottle. For me, it’s the Plan B since Stumptown is so close, but it’s a nice alternative when I want to switch things up.
I almost always choose a coffee shop based on vibe, that’s mainly my thing - if the vibe is cute and bright, I’m happy. I know other people prefer to pick their favorite coffee spots with maybe coffee in mind, or just based on parking. Let me know in the comments below how you choose your favorite coffee shop. What’s your favorite coffee shop?