So the best new years’ resolution I’ve ever achieved is ‘become a regular in independently-owned coffeeshops I love.’ And as a screenwriter living in Los Angeles, this basically makes me a god. Or just someone who drinks way too much coffee.
Anyways, here’s my ultimate ranking of the top 4 Los Angeles coffeeshops to write your screenplay in:
Coffeeshop #1: Paper or Plastik (Mid-City)
I found this gem six years ago and haven’t stopped taking all my dates/friends/networking drinks/acquaintances/mortal enemies since. If you and I have met up for drinks or coffee, it’s probably been here.
This coffeeshop is a cool, hipster spot that’s part ballet-studio, part coffeeshop, part cafe. It’s got some incredible food, dope specialty lattes (like a cinnamon whiskey latte!), and cool events. They often play movie soundtracks and other great music so if you forget your headphones, you won’t go uninspired.
- Easy, free street parking (v important!!) on Ogden Drive and all the surrounding streets with no restrictions other than street cleaning. They also opened a free lot I believe across the street but I’ve never had problems parking here. Don’t park at a meter, there’s plenty of free spots.
- Friendly baristas, nice atmosphere, lots of natural light. It’s just an inspiring space and most of the people that come here are artsy and probably writing podcasts told entirely through voicemails from your ex trying to get their stuff back.
- Great happy hour. Between like 4-7pm they have a great happy hour with cheat beers on tap and also wine. If you like to write your screenplay while drinking craft brews, highly recommend this spot.
- This place has a no-laptop policy on weekends, and on weekdays some prime tables inside don’t allow laptops either. This can easily be an upside if you need an incentive to work offline and get easily distracted by things like Twitter (unlike me, I have a very healthy relationship to social media!!) It also has very few outlets if you do snag a laptop-friendly table.
- Can get a bit busy, and the outdoor patio is right off the street so it’s a bit loud. I’ve never had trouble finding a spot, though, just avoid brunch hours on Sundays.
THE FUN TRIVIA CORNER:
- Natalie Portman trained in this studio for Black Swan
- This was one of the first coffeeshops I discovered in LA and I basically live here when I’m not working in a writers’ room so come say hi!
Coffeeshop #2: 18th Street Coffeeshop (Santa Monica)
Kind of the redheaded stepchild of coffeeshops, legend goes that Bob Dylan founded 18th Street Coffeehouse. I still tell that to people even though I’m pretty sure that’s not true. Whatever. If you say “legend goes” you can say whatever you want.
Anyways, legend goes I wrote an Emmy-award-winning pilot here.
- 18th Street has a beautiful, cobblestone patio. It’s a great place to get some sunshine, and the patio is enclosed so the street noise isn’t super loud, and there’s a bubbling fountain. They have a no-dogs and a no-cellphone policy which means people aren’t going to have super loud arguments with their coke dealer while you’re working on the Next Great American Heist Film.
- They adore regulars. Seriously, become a regular and you become family. It’s the same few people who work here, so it’s nice to come back and be recognized as you toil in obscurity over your sci-fi film about fully automated gay space communism.
- Everyone who comes here seems to either work in the industry or is a car salesman. I don’t know if this counts as a perk, so take it or leave it.
- Comfortable furniture and free wi-fi. The seating is super comfy — shockingly rare for Los Angeles coffeeshops) and the wi-fi is free through a Time Warner Cable hotspot. (Just sign in through your cable provider.)
- Parking can be a bit dicey, so I mostly just come here when I’m getting my car serviced around the block. There’s plenty of 2-hour meters and also some free spots in the alleyway west of 18th street designated for customers that you can park in for all of eternity (probably.) So if you’re looking to work for longer than two hours, it may take you a bit to find appropriate parking so that you can write your quirky workplace comedy set in a nuclear power plant.
Coffeeshop #3: Bricks N’ Scones (Larchmont)
This coffeeshop operates out of this cool house north of the trendy Larchmont main street. They have Bricks, they have Scones, I really don’t know what else you need to write the next great American Novel about eco-friendly paper straws.
- There’s a lovely outdoor patio that’s separated enough from the street that it isn’t too loud and gets some nice shade during summer months so your characters can throw shade on the page.
- It’s walking distance from the rest of Larchmont (and more importantly, a Chipotle) so you can grab some food after a writing marathon.
- There’s a cute upstairs as well, this place has a lot of nooks and crannys to post up in to write, and it looks kind of like a repurposed castle with a chandelier and round walls inside.
- This place can get crowded, so it can be tough to find a table.
- The parking is pretty easy, but once again most of the streets are metered/have a 2 hour limit. You’ll have better luck parking on the northwest side streets, some don’t have time limits if you’re planning a marathon work session on your podcast told only through the NSA’s recordings of American citizen’s private phone calls.
- Nic Cage is rumored to have killed a man over an improperly made flat white. Or was the murderer someone who had plastic surgery to make him look like Nic Cage in order to kill a barista who resembles John Travolta? I don’t know, no real coffee connoisseurs drink flat whites anyways.
Coffeeshop #4: Bodega (Santa Monica)
This coffeeshop turns into a wine bar at like 3pm so if you want to get wine drunk after writing your feature film biopic about the founder of Tinder, this is a great place to do it!!
- The baristas here are super friendly, and I’m sad I no longer live on the westside because this was one of my favorite Sunday morning writing spots.
- The coffee here is particularly great, and they have a nitro coldbrew that’s sure to wake you up.
- They have lovely windows that open up and make the place feel light and airy, perfect for summer mornings. It’s also right next to the Santa Monica pier, so you can head on down to the beach after a writing sesh.
- The couches are super comfy and great for daydreaming and brainstorming gruesome ways to kill people for your next horror film.
- If you need outlets, there aren’t a ton here. You’ll have to sit at the bar, and it’s not as pleasant as sitting by the windows.
- It can get a little crowded. That’s why I prefer early Sunday mornings here.
- Parking’s a bit tough, but on Sundays the meters on one of the side streets east of Bodega are turned off and you can park there all day.
So, that’s my list. If I missed one of your favorite spots, get @ me on Twitter, I’m @AmyMSuto.
Happy writing and caffeinating!