Yesterday I made my way down to Venice for some holiday shopping and a quick appointment on Abbott Kinney. After my appointment, I decided it was time for a coffee break and headed over to Intelligentsia Coffee, near the corner of Andalusia Ave. and Abbott Kinney. I noticed that there weren’t too many people in line–unusual if you’ve ever passed by on a Saturday afternoon–and decided to head in to try it out. I’ve heard great things about Intelligentsia, and I was not disappointed.
Even though the line is typically out the door, I never understood why until I reached the front of the line myself. What an interesting way to serve coffee! The shop is set up like a literal coffee bar in a semi-circle, where the baristas man their stations, ready to brew the perfect cup. I watched as the baristas greeted customers, dosed and tamped the coffee and steamed the milk. Each customer stands on the opposite side of the espresso machine as she waits for her order to be crafted. If you order a beverage that contains steamed milk, another barista comes over to the station to pour the milk in front of you, creating a beautiful design in the foam. I am a sucker for artwork in the foam on my lattes.
After receiving my professionally crafted drink, I paid the barista at the same station. No need to shuffle around the bar to a separate cashier. Each station is equipped with an iPad POS system, so it makes the entire transaction quite seamless.
After receiving my latte, I took a seat on a stool at a very long counter, which overlooks the entire production. The sun pours in from skylights above the coffee bar, and local Angelenos tap away at their laptops or chat with friends. the seating outside is also quite simplistic, as you saw in the first photo. It’s usually pretty busy out there. I personally enjoy watching the action as I sip my cup of joe, just taking it all in. If you’re a true coffee lover, Intelligentsia in Venice knows how to put on quite the experience.
I’m looking forward to visiting the other two L.A. locations soon. If you’re in the New York or Chicago area and have checked out any of those locations, please share! I hope to make it to at least one of them the next time I travel to these cities.
Have you ever experienced an Intelligentsia Coffee bar? Which one is your favorite?