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Metropolitan Cafe in Pasadena

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Unassuming cafe across the street from the Office Max--Vroman's complex on Colorado. I had been watching this space since "Cafe 5060" popped up at the new Archstone complex there... which was soon covered over by a tarp banner for Metropolitan Cafe. I'll spare you the narrative and give you a list...

PROS
-- beautiful large well decorated space with a mix of tables and reclining chairs... clearly a lot of $$ went into the interior of this place
-- free wifi
-- usually pretty quiet to study in
-- free parking
-- decent espresso, large selection of teas
-- nibbles range from pastries and cakes to granola bars and fruit (I think they're courting students here)

CONS
-- service can be irritatingly unprofessional... this place is a family biz and the college-age son and daughter man the counter. I'm not too keen on ordering from someone wearing huge goofy sunglasses indoors or listening to iPods or checking up on mySpace... but I do understand their hours are long
-- dubious commercial origins of some of the baked goods... like the muffins I'm almost certain are from Costco, they look like costco and i've seen them unwrapping a flat of them. Not that Costco muffins are that terrible but I just don't want to pay a markup on a costco muffin, feel free to disagree with me

Overall, I do recommend this place to anyone who wants to get some work done in a coffee shop. It's consistently the quietest one I've been to (people come singly with laptops) and there's a lot of table space. Prices are on-par with most independent places. As far as for the special cachet feeling you get from a quaint coffee shop... still waiting for a perfect one in Pasadena... meanwhile I will continue dropping into the smaller places in Pas and So Pas for that...and going west when I can...

Metropolitan Cafe
716 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91101, USA

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  1. I completely agree. This is a good review. I don't mind the service, but I do think the pastries are subpar. The strength of this place is definitely the space, itself. I think it's the largest coffee house on (or off of) Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena. I have often gone there simply because it is clean, new and spacious, with plenty of seats and tables. I find that this is a decent spot to meet with someone for coffee for those reasons.

    The pastries at Europane and Lovebirds, about 6 blocks up Colorado, are better, but those two places have limited business hours, in comparison.

    I actually like the drinks and pastries at Zeli Coffee bar (across the street at Vroman's Bookstore) more than those at Metropolitan, but again, space is an issue there.

    2 Replies
    1. re: katkoupai

      Funny, I was going to say the same thing about Zeli but I forgot the name of the place so I just left it out! :) That's probably my favorite coffee shop charm-wise around these parts but you really can't go there to study...

      1. re: amandine

        :-) Yes, it's hard to find a seat at Zeli, especially inside. They have a good hot apple cider, as well. They use real juice, as opposed to the powdered variety. :)

    2. Unfortunately, Metropolitan has closed down. I went twice when they were being evicted by the sheriff department and I guess they managed to pay their lease because they reopened about a week later. However, this time around I don't know if the sheriffs were involved, but they've been closed going on 1 month today. It really sucks because they were a good friendly family. They always looked so busy, but if you looked closely many of the people in there never purchased anything and if they did it wasn't much. I used to go there and stay for hours at a time, but I always made sure to spend at least $15 or more. Many would just buy a cup of coffee or tea and some even only got a $.75 banana. It's really sad because it was a great spot.

      3 Replies
      1. re: handycrafter77

        whoa! thanks for the update. that's a shame. it had horrible food and drinks but it was a nice space and a good addition to pasadena.

        1. re: Quik

          Yeah, I wasn't so cheery about their pastries or sandwiches. Don't like coffee or tea, but always got their smoothies which were quite awesome. It was a nice big space that will be missed. Walked by today again and the landlord left some notes on the door for them. Saying stuff like if they are not opened within the next 5 days they will get evicted, something like that it said.

        2. re: handycrafter77

          I passed by a couple days last week. Lights were on & look liked 1 of the the owners was inside. Their "stuff" appears to be still inside. But still closed.

          Evicted huh? I guess they couldn't meet their lease.
          It figures. A large space on expensive Colorado, money invested. How could they support their exps & make a profit by basically just selling coffee & tea. The non-drink menu was very limited & just average.
          Nice people but maybe no previous hospitality experience.