In LA, coffee is king. It doesn't matter whether you're a morning person or a night owl, working on a script or going on a friend date, a solid coffee shop is as necessary to your neighborhood as the nearest taco stand. Good java may be a little harder to find in the Valley, but when you do, there's bound to be plenty of free Wi-Fi and ample space to enjoy your drink. Here, we've rounded up the best places in Studio City and Sherman Oaks for a cold-brew, latte, espresso or whatever gets your heart palpitating.
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The breakfast sandwiches at Coffee Fix, a narrow coffee and tea shop on Moorpark Street, are a force to be reckoned with, a monstrous pile of scrambled eggs, ham and cheese on a toasted bagel. But you can make your home here with just a cup of coffee, too (go ahead, settle in for a while—their Wi-Fi is unlimited and free). For the sweet-toothed drinkers, there is Cafe Vanilla and Caramel, Macchiatos and Hot Chocolate, as well as a long list of blended beverages like the Chai Chill or Chocolate Peanut Butter. Want it straight? Their regularly daily brew is an affordable $1.50, which you can sip on slowly at the window counter while watching people go in and out of the Studio City library branch across the street.
Formally a private home, Aroma Coffee & Tea Company has transformed itself into a restaurant and cafe where you can grab a coffee to go or order a full meal to enjoy in one of the many seating areas. The inside of the restaurant boasts a homey, library-like ambiance (perfect for a quiet read), while the outside is more casual with multiple seats on the back patio and some tables on the sidewalk, so you'll never have trouble finding a spot to sit. Order a cappuccino with one of Aroma's cakes or pies that taunt you from beneath a glass case—we recommend a massive slice of the peanut butter and chocolate cake.
Belwood Bakery is like a little slice of Paris—in a Studio City strip mall (they also have another location in Brentwood). Ignore the awkward placement of this quaint shop and follow the smell of freshly baked bread instead, which leads you inside a coffee shop that shows off baskets of loaves on a shelf and rows of cookies and cakes under a glass counter. The coffee is nothing special; for a regular cup, you pour the coffee yourself from a tureen, and their cappuccinos are comprised of more milk than is necessary. But the sandwiches are worth pulling off Ventura Boulevard for (try the rosemary chicken sammie), and the pastries are the best kind of breakfast indulgence. Sit outside on their ivy-enclosed patio, or escape the Valley heat by taking advantage of the AC blasting inside the cafe.
Part art gallery, but mostly coffee shop, M Street Coffee serves as the neighborhood meeting spot for Sherman Oaks' denizens and Valley creatives. A standard coffee and tea menu is offered (their Caramel Royale is the way to go when looking for a little indulgence), but the range of milk options is as varied as the dairy section at Whole Foods: soy, rice, almond and more. Gluten-free snacks are on hand as well, and a great selection of pastries (we recommend the banana bread—toasted!—with a thin slathering of butter). Settle into the couch or find an open table, where you'll likely be surrounded by regulars: a cartoonist who might draw a sketch of you if you ask, a screenwriter tapping away at her laptop (Wi-Fi here is free for two hours), a woman who makes her own flower crowns and hats. Oh, and the cutest kids in the neighborhood, who are fawned over by the staff and who will likely have their first cup of coffee at M Street.
This is not your typical LA bistro. Stepping into Sweet Butter Kitchen feels like you've fallen down the rabbit hole and ended up in a quaint New England cafe, where delicate details adorn the shop's outdoor patio and indoor coffee counter. Sandwiches, salads (the Goddess Salad is as heavenly as it sounds) and small entrées are offered for breakfast, lunch and and early dinner (the cafe closes at 6pm), and you can even pick up a picnic box to go for a planned outing. While waiting in line (and the lines do get long during weekend brunch hours), peruse the cookbooks and homemade jams that fill bookshelves along the walls. And don't forget the baked goods to go along with your cappuccino—Sweet Butter makes some stellar cookies and cakes that you'll smell before you even get to the door.
If you miss the jumble of chairs infront of The Coffee Roaster entrance, don't worry—your nose will lead the way. A Sherman Oaks staple since 1987, this homey little coffee shop continues to roast beans from around the world in-house (hence the giant roaster and bags of beans to the left as you enter). A small bar with a couple stools is the only place to sit inside, but feel free to shop around while Tracey Meehan—the motherly owner who is normally behind the counter—pours your drink. Prices are steep (a small 8-ounce cup of drip coffee goes for $3.75) but it's the quality here that sticks out. The daily brew changes every 24 hours, but there is also a rotating list of medium brews on the menu, as well as fresh pastries and a jar of chocolate biscotti that is a must for dunking. More of a tea person? Tins boasting all kinds of flavors line the wall for purchase, as do coffee paraphernalia ideal for at-home brewing.