When it comes to finding a "third place" outside of work or home to meet a friend, read a book, write fiction or just chill with a cappucino, I go for Coffee Bean. In particular, two Los Angeles stores in Santa Monica and Westwood have excellent atmosphere, featuring a large patio with a roaring firepit in the center.
The service at those two locations is excellent due to cheerful baristas who are always appreciative of friendly small talk. I typically order a cappucino in a regular cup, ideal for sipping and more fun than the standard plastic to-go container cup, or one of their vast selection of teas, a recent favorite being Strawberry Cream.
Other perks include free wireless internet (suck on THAT Starbucks), nearby parking and a consistently good crowd of fellow coffee afficionaods out to study or chat with a friend. And particularly in Santa Monica, expect the crowd to include a few stylish folks coming in and out, which makes for great people watching.
My one small complaint would be the horribly designed chairs, that lean way too far back and force you to lean forward while working or talking.
So if you're looking for a good place for your caffeine fix that's open late, typically open until 11:00pm or later, hit up Coffee Bean...but know beforehand...even if you're not going there to meet someone, you just might. ;)
So my version of heaven (and hell!) is getting a enormous blended coffee drink as big as my head and going window-shopping in a sunny city that's not unlike Los Angeles. This scenerio is remarkably similar to the "Stars! They're Just Like Us" spread in US Weekly. And what do the stars drink besides Starbucks? Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, of course! Besides In-n-Out Burger, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf is another reason I'm glad I moved to California. I was also impressed that they're mostly kosher, too. … more
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (sometimes shortened to simply "The Coffee Bean") is a Los-Angeles based coffee chain, owned and operated by International Coffee & Tea, LLC. The company was founded by Mona and Herbert Hyman. The first store opened in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Brentwood in September 1963. The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf celebrated its 45th anniversary during the month of September 2008. The Coffee Bean has locations in San Francisco, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Honolulu and all over Southern California including Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Barbara and Ventura. Many "Coffee Beans" found outside of California are franchises, Singaporean entrepreneur Victor Sassoon has opened locations throughout Southeast Asia, and Hawaii's stores are franchises. Several Southern California Ralphs supermarkets feature full-service Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf kiosks in their stores.