Since Urth Caffe opened in 2008, the Arts District in Downtown L.A. has become affectionately known as the “Coffee District,” home to some of the top third wave coffee purveyors in the city. Read on for the best places in the Arts District to get your caffeine fix and more.
Blue Bottle Cafe - Arts District
Months after announcing its acquisition of Handsome Coffee Roasters, Oakland-based Blue Bottle opened its first L.A. location in July 2014. According to the Blue Bottle website, the Arts District space on Mateo Street offered “a glimpse of all that Downtown Los Angeles has to offer. The more time we spent in the region, the more impressed we became – by the quality of the Handsome team’s work, by the weather, by the neighborhood’s population of creative and industrious bootstrappers.” Blue Bottle features a rotating selection of blends and single origins as drip coffee, the L.A.-exclusive Dandy Espresso, and the ever-popular New Orleans–style iced coffee, a chicory-infused cold brew.
The Daily Dose
Discreetly located down a brick-lined alley off Industrial Street, Sarkis Vartanian’s Daily Dose is a popular coffee shop and cafe that serves a variety of coffee and tea beverages, as well as a seasonal food menu with whimsically-named dishes made from locally sourced ingredients. The 16-ounce Buena Vista is a popular order, featuring two shots of espresso, two teaspoons caramelized sugar and 14 ounces of milk. The Farmer is one of L.A.’s best sandwiches, described as a “vegetarian behemoth that weighs a full pound and packs a rainbow’s worth of ingredients between slices of toasted Kalamata olive bread from nearby Bread Lounge.”
Groundwork Coffee Arts District
Located on Traction Avenue in the former Novel Cafe space, the Arts District location of Groundwork Coffee is the latest outpost of L.A.’s homegrown coffee and tea destination, originally founded at Venice Beach in 1990. In addition to its signature organic coffees, Groundwork offers an expanded food menu featuring house-made baked goods, salads, sandwiches and more. The Traction Avenue space features a minimalist interior of exposed beams, brick walls and plenty of locals with open laptops.
Stumptown Coffee Roasters
Stumptown Coffee Roasters opened its 7,000 square-foot facility in the Arts District in September 2013. Located just steps from Bestia and Bread Lounge, Stumptown features a retail bar, roastery, training lab and warehouse. The space is dominated by the roastery, which includes a 60-kilo Probat roaster. Espresso shots are pulled in the front bar from a custom La Marzocco Strada MP. Stumptown has been ahead of the game with the latest coffee trend, nitro cold-brew coffee, which is served on tap or available in cans. Coffee cuppings (tastings) take place at noon on Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.
Urth Caffe Arts District
Established in 1989, Urth Caffé touts itself as “America's first exclusively organic coffee company.” Urth Caffé exclusively carries its own brand of premium, fresh roasted whole bean organic coffee and hand selected fine teas sold under strict quality and ethical standards. The company opened its bustling Arts District location at the Barker Block lofts in 2008, well before the area’s current renaissance had begun in earnest. The most popular house blend is the Manhattan Mudd - dark roasted, strong and highly aromatic. Other offerings range from the lightly roasted Rainforest to the full-bodied Milano.
Zinc Cafe & Market
There’s much more to Zinc Cafe & Market than a morning cuppa joe. Located on Mateo Street next to Blue Bottle, this lively neighborhood gathering spot offers Intelligentsia coffee, hot teas from Art of Tea and a selection of healthy beverages like the Breakfast Drink (orange juice, flaxseed oil, banana and silky tofu). To nosh, there are specialties like avocado breakfast toast (smashed avocado, butter, radish salad, chives, lemon zest), various egg dishes and omelettes, and counter service with a European display of pastries and baked goods. Locals will stop by throughout the day, whether it’s an alfresco lunch of wood-fired pizza beneath olive trees, or after work for a craft cocktail at Bar Mateo.