Uplifters Kitchen

October 21, 2014 — Leave a comment

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:  2819 Ocean Park Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405
Hours: M-F 7:30a-5p, Sat 8:30a-4p, Sun closed

Uplifters Kitchen is an aptly named little coffee spot on Ocean Park near the EA buildings in Santa Monica. This new spot opened in June and added a little caffeinated brightness to an already surprisingly pedestrian street.  Serving Stumptown Coffee and an appetizing array of snacks and small meals, Uplifters really put a smile on my face.  Add to that casual friendly service and excellently brewed coffee and this is a clear winner.  The location is small, with just a few seats outside on the sidewalk, so not the place for a long business meeting unless you’re there on a perfect day.  For a quick bite and brew, absolutely.

Meal Friendly:  Yes
Meeting Friendly: Very Casual only
Work Friendly: Not really, no long term seating
Wifi: No


Address:  1331 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291photo 1

Hours: M-Thurs 6a-8p, Fri 6a-10p, SAt 7a-10p Sun 7a-8p

Intelligentsia’s ubiquity has made it almost too trendy, but the location in Venice along Abbot Kinney reminds us why the brand gained attention in the first place. Bright airy space is combined with industrial metal and wood to create a beautiful coffee shop that is also one of the largest in town. Service is fast but still feels personalized, with a unique set-up that lets you stand inches from your coffee while it’s being made. Add free wifi and plenty of seating and the amazing hand brewed coffee is almost unnecessary to enjoy this place.  Almost. But they know their coffee too, favoring light fruity brews lately. This is the perfect weekend spot to read a book or use as a casual meeting place.

Meal Friendly:  None

Meeting Friendly: Casual, semi-casual
Work Friendly: Yes, if you’re not looking for privacy
Wifi: Yes

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The Refinery

November 18, 2013 — Leave a comment

RefineryAddress:  413 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401
: (310) 986-2776
Hours: M-Fri 7:30a-6p, Sat 8a-6p, Sun CLOSED

The Refinery is a stylish cafe in downtown Santa Monica that’s opted for open space over packing in seating. The cool interior and countertop like side tables are refreshing after the hyper tight floorspace in most local cafes. Last time i was there they had  single origin beans from northern roasters I hadn’t seen anywhere else, and the baristas were quick and competent. This has quickly become a favorite place for me to break out my laptop when traffic makes travel east impossible. Casual meetings here are also fantastic, since it’s relatively quiet and the seats and tabletops are are apart.

Meal Friendly:  None
Meeting Friendly: Casual
Work Friendly: Very, limited seating
Wifi: Yes

Refinery Cup


Cognoscenti Coffee

October 29, 2013 — Leave a comment

Cognoscenti CoffeeCognoscenti Coffee Beans pic1Address:  6114 Washington Blvd Culver City, CA 90232
Hours: M-Sat 8a-5p. Sun 9a-2p

Cognoscenti is a fresh little gem of a cafe located in the Culver City arts district. This area may be unfamiliar to people who’ve only hit up the central theater and restaurant district a couple miles west, but it’s definitely an up-n-coming neighborhood worth checking out.

Cognoscenti Coffee itself doesn’t disappoint.  They’re situated in a bright colorful space that fronts directly onto Washington. First thing through the door you’re presented with a wider array selection of gourmet beans for sale than I’ve seen anywhere else in town.  The pour-over brews are also unique and cycled regularly.  I was stoked to be able to get a Ritual brew I haven’t seen outside of SF.

Sunday morning they do a tiny Thai brunch over hotplates that was surprisingly tasty.

Cognoscenti Coffee Food PicMeal Friendly:  Somewhat (Sunday especially)
Meeting Friendly: Casual
Work Friendly: Very, though seats are limited
Wifi: Yes


September 29, 2013 — Leave a comment

IMG_2325Address:  9543 Culver Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232
Phone: (310) 845-1700
Hours: M-F 8a-5p, Sat 9a-5p, Sun10:30a-5p

Akasha is a restaurant at the southern end of Culver City’s pedestrian district, with a full semi-distinct cafe nested in a corner. I’d thought the noise and flow of the restaurant wouldn’t work with the cafe, but in practice there’s enough separation that its not an issue.  Comfortable seating and nice wood tables make this a great spot for a more serious face-to-face, and the bustling atmosphere adds some energy if you want to pull out your laptop.  They brew Intelligensia coffee and offer a long list of specialty drinks.  Fast excellent service also adds to the vibe.

Meal Friendly:  Yes
Meeting Friendly: Yes
Work Friendly: Somewhat, a touch busy
Wifi: Yes

Cafecito Organico

September 28, 2013 — Leave a comment

IMG_2335IMG_2334Address:  29169 Heathercliff Rd. Malibu, CA 90265
Hours: M-Fri 6a-8p, Sat 7a-8p, Sun 7a-7p

Cafecito Organico is the child of organic coffee roasters Cafe O Muerte, who many people may recognize from the Hollywood and Silver Lake Farmer’s Markets.  The recent opening of Cafecito Organico in Malibu brings a taste of the east side coffee scene to the beaches.  Located in Point Dume Plaza, Cafecito is a bright open space with a large central bar, an attached bookstore, and tons of casual seating outside.  They pretty much insist you to stay awhile.  The drip coffee is fast and delicious, usually one of their own roasts. Lattes are made the way they should be – small, strong, with a good creamy finish.  Perfect for a quick weekend chat, though not the place I’d expect to get a lot of work done.

Meal Friendly:  None
Meeting Friendly: Casual
Work Friendly: Somewhat, seating mostly casual
Wifi: Yes

Balconi Coffee Company

September 8, 2013 — 1 Comment

Address:  11301 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064
Phone: (310) 906-0267
Hours: Mon-Fri 7a-10p, Sat-Sun 10am-10p

IMG_2302In terms of quality coffee, Balconi is absolutely one of the best places in Los Angeles. They use high quality coffee siphons to brew your choice of single origin beans, and the experienced baristas are attentive to every detail to improve the taste.

This is first and foremost a coffee experience. If you’re into smelling the raw grinds, watching the brewing process, and taking a few minutes to savor something special this is your spot. It’s not always fast, but it’s always worth it.

They don’t care if you break out a book or laptop, but there’s no wifi and limited seating beyond the small coffee bar.

Meal Friendly:  Pastries, small selection
Meeting Friendly: Friendly coffee lovers meetings
Work Friendly: Not really
Wifi: No