Part community space, part coffee shop and part fundraiser, Hollywood’s Liberation Coffee House gives the neighborhood an inclusive new spot to grab a latte—and as of today, it’s officially open.
The colorful 1,600-square-foot café launched this morning at the base of the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s flagship campus after a few days in soft-open mode, and now the operation’s in full swing with California’s Verve Coffee, locally made pastries from L.A.’s own Bakers Kneaded, a culinary job training program and more than a few nods to LGBTQ+ history.
“It’s all been very intentional—from our partners and the products we’re serving to the design of the space and staff that we’re hiring—to foster pride, passion, and warmth in this community-driven space,” says Erin Muscatelli, the manager of the LGBTQ Center’s café and catering program. “It’s a really good way to introduce the Center to the outside community who might not know a lot about us.”
Bakers Kneaded’s croissants, cookies, gourmet pop tarts and more fill the pastry case, while other items like the breakfast pizza, Thai chicken salad, breakfast burritos and daily parfaits get whipped up by members of the LGBT Center’s three-month culinary arts training program, which prepares LGBTQ+ youth and seniors for employment in the restaurant industry. But it doesn’t stop there: Revenue from the café gets routed right back into the program, as well as other programs at the Center.
Given the statewide ban on indoor dining you won’t be able to spend much time inside Liberation Coffee House for now, which is a shame; the space features a number of details worth exploring, including photos of LGBTQ+ leaders and moments in history and a picture of the LGBT Center’s own “liberation house,” founded in 1971, where homeless LGBTQ+ Angelenos could find room and board for $1.50 a day.
The colors around the space, both muted and vibrant, riff on the Pride flag’s themes of life, healing, sunlight and nature with varying shades of red, orange, yellow and green, while the shapes, color and “simple lines” also take a page from the work of artist and gay activist Keith Haring.
And while we don’t know exactly when indoor dine-in service and gatherings will resume—letting us perch at some of the café’s tables or sink into its couple of bucket chairs—we’ve got plenty to look forward to when it does: Eventually Liberation Coffee House plans to use its space for gallery showings, lectures, celebrations, networking mixers and other LGBTQ+ community events. And given the recent closure of the queer-owned Cuties coffee shop, another community pillar, keeping these few spaces alive is more crucial than ever.
In the meantime, take a peek inside the new coffee shop, below, then stop by any day of the week for to-go foods and a full espresso bar.
Liberation Coffee House is now open within the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Anita May Rosenstein Campus, located at 6725 Santa Monica Blvd in Hollywood, with hours of 7:30am to 2:30pm Monday to Friday.
Correction: This story initially listed hours of operation as daily; currently Liberation Coffee House is open Monday to Friday, with hopes to open daily. The hours have been updated to reflect this.