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.
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.
|1532 SUNSET BOULEVARD • LOS ANGELES • CA 90026 • USA|
|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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