Woodcat Coffee Bar

The Woodcat (it's a hare, by the way) logo from the wall behind the counter in Echo Park, Los Angeles.Woodcat Coffee Bar was a chance find that both made my day and reminded me of why I started the Coffee Spot in the first place. That I found it is entirely down to Kyle, the manager at Stumptown Coffee in New Orleans, and his wonderful team, who made it one of their top Los Angeles picks. A pick that, serendipitously, was a ten-minute walk from my hotel, which I’d booked over a month before. Naturally, I had to start my solitary day in Los Angeles with coffee at Woodcat.

A friendly, neighbourhood place, Woodcat is a labour of love from owners, married couple Janine & Saadat, who, having failed to find any good coffee on moving into the Echo Park neighbourhood, decided to open their own shop in September 2014. Starting on a shoestring, they had plenty of support from the local community, while Saadat built pretty much everything using reclaimed materials, giving Woodcat a wonderful, homely feel. Woodcat serves Flat Track Coffee from Austin, Texas on espresso and filter, where it’s joined by the occasional guest roaster. There are several signature drinks and a selection of teas, plus a range of savoury and sweet goodies if you’re hungry.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Woodcat Coffee Bar, on the south side of Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park, Los Angeles.
  • This is the view heading west along the street, where nothing really shouts out coffee...
  • ... except for the simple message on the A-board. Let's go in!
  • The central glass door is flanked by a window either side. On the right is a communal...
  • ... table between the window and the counter (which we'll come back to).
  • There's also a two-person window-bar in the window to the right of the door.
  • Off to the left, there's nothing in the window, although a three-person table...
  • ... projects from the wall right by the window.
  • Beyond this is the retail section and a small takeaway station.
  • On the other side is the counter, which takes up much of the right-hand side.
  • You can sit at one of three stools at the front of the counter, by the espresso machine.
  • The counter continues down the side, where you'll find the till...
  • ... followed by four more stools next to the cake display.
  • Back to the left-hand side, and opposite the counter is a five-person wooden bar.
  • The remaining seating is at the back in this little niche, starting with...
  • ... another three-person table projecting from the left-hand wall.
  • Finally, right at the back, there's this four-person table with benches.
  • I liked Woodcat's bright, bold colours, plus the decoration on the walls, starting with...
  • ... these limited edition prints on the left-hand wall by local artist Kyle Smith.
  • The Woodcat logo is itself a work of art. Woodcat is a Sctos word for hare, by the way...
  • ... which explains the pictures in the bathroom...
  • ... which also has one of the nicest requests to wash your hands that I've seen.
  • More art and mirrors, this time from behind the counter.
  • Meanwhile, the flowers on the tables were a nice touch.
  • The installation on the wall on the right-hand side was made by Saadat, who used...
  • ... various upcycled pieces and cast offs, including this woodworm-riden piece of wood.
  • Talking of things that Saadat made, all the furniture is his too, including these stools...
  • ... which come in a variety of sizes.
  • Obligatory light-fitting shot. And strange thing hanging down from the ceiling.
  • It's worth a second look, don't you think?
  • The retail shelves are off to the left-hand side. There's the usual coffee-making kit...
  • ... as well as some lovely cermaic cups (and an old, not for sale, motorcycle petrol tank).
  • I was particularly taken by these custom cups with the Woodcat logo.
  • Finally, there's coffee for sale from Flat Track in Austin, Texas...
  • ... including the house espresso blend, Dogspeed.
  • Topo Chico is a Mexican sparkling water pioneered by Woodcat. Now everyone's selling it!
  • To business. The counter is on the right-hand side...
  • ... with the espresso machine, a Faema E61, facing the windows at the front.
  • You order your coffee (and everything else) at the till along the left-hand side.
  • You'll find the seasonal drinks, the tea selection, and the breakfast tacos down here...
  • ... while the main menu, complete with filter choices, is on the wall to your right.
  • If you're hungry, there's also a cake selection, which can be found to your left.
  • Filter coffee is at the back of the counter...
  • ... while standing at the till, you get a great view of the E61 in action.
  • Alternatively, sit at the front of the counter for a different view of the iconic machine.
  • I started off with a cortado made with the Dogspeed blend.
  • Nice latte art.
  • No prizes for guessing where I sat to drink my coffee!
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Located right on Los Angeles’ famous Sunset Boulevard, Woodcat Coffee Bar is in the Echo Park neighbourhood, a couple of miles north of downtown. It was also a ten-minute walk from my hotel, although I doubt I would have ever have known about it without the tip-off from the staff at Stumptown in New Orleans. Buried in a line of single/two-story shops, cafes and bars that run along the south side of Sunset Boulevard, you could easily miss Woodcat, with its simple, square front. That said, the top half of the façade is given over to a large sign with the single word, “Woodcat”, although there’s nothing about it, other than the tall, narrow, A-board, that says coffee. It really is a place for those who know.

There’s a single glass door in the centre, flanked by two large, almost square windows, each of which has its own bench outside. Inside, it’s an equally simple space, long and open. The counter is set about one third of the way back on the right, with an enclosed block behind, home to the toilet and some storerooms. This leaves an L-shaped space for the seating.

There’s a bar in the right-hand window, with a six-person communal table occupying the space between it and the counter, where a broad, projecting counter-top provides space for three stools. Facing the gorgeous Faema E61 espresso machine, these are perhaps the best seats in the house.

To the left, a small, three-person table projects from the wall by the other window. This is followed by a small retail selection, with beans from Flat Track Coffee (which Janine & Saadat are partners in) and various guest roasters. Beyond this, a long, thin, wooden bar runs along the wall, matching the counter on the right-hand side. You’ll find the till here, where you order, in the middle of the counter, beyond which is the cake display and four more stools, although I suspect that this is seating of last resort, since, if the busy Saturday morning when I visited is anything to go by, you’d mostly be sitting in the middle of the queue for the till!

The remaining seating is beyond this, another projecting table on the left-hand side, followed by a four-person table right at the back. The bulk of the actual seats are upcycled wooden stools of varying heights, all made by Saadat, but there are also some metal chairs for the two tables. There’s plenty of light at the back, by the way, with borrowed light from the windows at the front, plus a pair of small windows high up in the back wall.

The mainstay of Woodcat’s coffee offering is Flat Track’s Dogspeed seasonal espresso blend. If you want filter, there are usually two choices. During my visit, it was the weekly blend, Mix 18, from local roasters, Yesplz, which was joined by Flat Track’s Mexican decaf. For my first coffee of the day (and my first coffee back in Los Angeles), I decided to keep it simple, ordering a cortado. I was rewarded with a lovely, rich, chocolately drink, the cortado providing the perfect ratio of coffee to milk. I also got a second one on the house, since the barista made another by mistake! What an excellent welcome back to Los Angeles!

December 2019: Woodcat Coffee Bar was a runner-up for 2019’s Best Neighbourhood Coffee Spot Award.

www.woodcatcoffee.com +1 213 537 0147
Monday 06:00 – 18:00 Roaster Flat Track (espresso) + Flat Track & Guests (filter)
Tuesday 06:00 – 18:00 Seating Tables, Bars, Counter
Wednesday 06:00 – 18:00 Food Breakfast, Lunch, Cake
Thursday 06:00 – 18:00 Service Counter
Friday 06:00 – 18:00 Cards Amex, Mastercard, Visa
Saturday 07:00 – 18:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 07:00 – 18:00 Power Yes
Chain No Visits 13th April 2019

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4 thoughts on “Woodcat Coffee Bar

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