The Arts District Becomes the Coffee District of Downtown Los Angeles

2012-10-21 16.24.51

A reason why the Arts District is becoming the place to work and live.

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Portland’s Stumptown moved into a 7,500-square-foot space on Santa Fe Avenue in September. Handsome Coffee Roasters celebrated its one-year anniversary at 582 Mateo St. in March. Urth Caffe, the first specialty coffee house to move into the then-predominantly industrial area back in 2008, keeps increasing sales of whole bean coffee from its headquarters at 451 S. Hewitt St.

They’re not the only ones brewing up business.

Santa-Cruz based Verve Coffee Roasters is planning to open a training facility and tasting room in the neighborhood dotted with industrial brick and concrete lofts. Citing the area’s growth, co-owner Colby Barr said he’s looking forward to participating in the Arts District’s “evolution.” The temporary training center will open above Bestia, he said. Additionally, Zinc Café which will be more restaurant than coffee, will also be pushing caffeine drinks when it debuts at 580 Mateo St. early next year.

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Then there are the other places to sit down and grab a double decaf cappuccino or a half-caf, nonfat double pump mocha: Novel Café has long had a spot on Traction Avenue, and Daily Dose is a small cafe on Industrial Street near the Toy Factory and Biscuit Company lofts.

So, what is it about the Arts District, which comprises approximately 52 blocks and has only a few thousand residents, that makes it a percolating coffee district?

Representatives of the three big roasting companies all point to the increasingly vibrant community. The neighborhood in the last few years has experienced a commercial and residential renaissance, and these days common sights include parents pushing strollers and loft dwellers walking dogs, running, bicycling and skateboarding. Additionally, hundreds of new apartments and condominiums will be opening in the next few years, bringing even more customers through the coffee houses’ heavy glass doors.

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“Community develops around restaurants and coffee bars. It’s a historical precedent, and it certainly rings true here,” said Anthony Carnazzo, general manager for Handsome Coffee, a 3,500-square-foot establishment with concrete floors, a high ceiling and interior windows that offer a peek at its Probat roaster. Carnazzo believes the more amenities a neighborhood offers, the better it is for everyone in the area.

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