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Good Pasadena cafe...

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to lounge in, write a bit and drink good coffee? making the journey for a change of scenery from WeHO...

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  1. I like Zeli Coffee Bar. It is on Colorado Blvd. near El Molino Ave., right in front of Vroman's Bookstore. The space is tight, but the drinks and pastries are decent.

    If you want more much more space, go across the street to Metropolis. There is much more space and seating, but the drinks and pastries aren't as good.

    If you get bored with those two options, you can try Zona Rosa, on El Molino between Colorado and Green St. It's a tiny little place, but I think they have extra seats upstairs.

    http://www.zonarosacaffe.com/

    Of the three, I like Zeli the best.

    8 Replies
    1. re: katkoupai

      thanks, that sounds like the neighborhood to hit.

      1. re: wideeyedraven

        You're welcome. :)

        Here's the exact address for Zeli Coffee Bar:

        695 E. Colorado Blvd.
        Pasadena, CA 91101
        Phone: (626) 356-9901

        If you like to read and write, Vroman's is a really good bookstore, and it is attached to the coffee bar. The movie theatre next door, the Laemmle Playhouse 7, serves Bulgarini Gelato, which many people like here. :)

        www.bulgarinigelato.com

      2. re: katkoupai

        Bean Town is Sierra Madre is nice, sit inside or out and it is such a cute little town.....
        http://rantsnravesnreviews.blogspot.com

        1. re: rantsnravesnreviews

          I second the Bean Town recommendation. It's nice and cozy

          1. re: rantsnravesnreviews

            Um, Beantown's great but it's a 15 to 20 minute drive from Pasadena (central) on the FREEWAY. Sierra Madre is not close to Pasadena even though it's technically adjacent.

            1. re: Reeter1

              it doesn't take me 15-20 to get to BEANTOWN even in bumper to bumper. coming from WeHo, take the 210 exit Baldwin, head north, cross sierra madre bl. and the coffeehouse is on the left. while you're there, TAYLORS OL' FASHION meats, one of the last great butchers is down the street. you can also saunter over to E. WALDO WARD for some famous preserves. sierra madre is charming small town america with the only existing volunteer fire department remaining in l.a. county. the town is celebrating it's centennial this year and has a phenom library for a small town. the infamous espresso scenes in "kicking & screaming" with will ferrell were shot at BEANTOWN.

              BEANTOWN serves FOSSELMANS ice cream and recently switched their beans to the award-winning KLATCH ROASTING...a huge improvement.

              it's a great place to hang out.

              1. re: Reeter1

                Why on earth would anyone take the freeway from Pasadena to Sierra Madre? The trip out Sierra Madre Blvd., or out Foothill and up Baldwin, is about as fast and much more pleasant.

                1. re: Will Owen

                  true, but the OP is coming from WeHo, not pasadena. another note, watch your speed on sierra madre blvd. and baldwin upon entering SM.

          2. Buster's.

            1. KALDI, off a small park in south pasadena on el centro. around the corner is BUSTER's and HEIRLOOM, or NICOLE'S. if you don't like the scene, it's just a short walk to another.

              3 Replies
              1. re: revets2

                all of these i'd do as well. Def the mexican mocha at Kaldi's, the english toffee ice cream from fosselmans at Busters, heirloom i'd have a sandwich as well as Nicoles....all within one block.......

                1. re: caitybirdie

                  I second Kaldi for their Mexican hot chocolate and atmosphere. I also like the craftsman-home-turned-coffee-house Zephyr for ambiance and tasty, large-cupped coffees. Buster's has some great desserts including the aforementioned Fosselman's ice cream.

                  Kaldi
                  1019 El Centro St
                  South Pasadena, CA
                  (626) 403-5951

                  Zephyr
                  2419 E Colorado
                  Pasadena, CA
                  (626) 793-7330

                  Buster's
                  1006 Mission
                  South Pasadena, CA
                  (626) 441-0744

                2. re: revets2

                  I spend a lot of time reading, grading, writing at Kaldi. Their coffee isn't great, but it's a really nice atmosphere.

                3. Jones Coffee Roasters is my favorite, and the chairs and tables they have inside, while few, are great.

                  www.thebestcoffee.com

                  537 S Raymond Ave
                  Pasadena, CA 91105
                  (626) 564-9291

                  I also recommend the Coffee Gallery in Altadena (just 5 minutes up Lake from Pasadena, much closer than Sierra Madre) or Swork in Eagle Rock (just 5 minutes to the west on Colorado).

                  www.coffeegallery.com

                  2029 Lake Ave
                  Altadena, CA 91001
                  (626) 398-7917

                  Swork
                  www.swork.com

                  2160 Colorado Blvd
                  Los Angeles, CA 90041
                  (323) 258-5600

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: altadenafoodguy

                    I like Jones, but I think the smell of all those beans would turn me into even more of a caffeine addict.

                  2. What's the story with Pasadena Coffee and Tea Company and some of the other places on Foothill/Walnut in Pasadena? Are these cafes or are they places that sell roasted coffee beans? I've driven by them a few times, and I'm just wondering....

                    Apparently there's a Pasadena Coffee and Tea Company in Pasadena (on Walnut) and a place called the Pasadena Coffee Company in Monrovia (website below).

                    http://www.pasadenacoffeecompany.com/...

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: katkoupai

                      If I recall correctly, Pasadena Coffee Co. has a few tables and chairs, the place is pretty small, and their coffee is not very good, which I was very surprised about, since they have their own roasting building a few steps away (I think that's what it is).

                      1. re: slacker

                        Right, the roasting building has caught my eye a few times. It seems so random to have a big roasting building right there, but it got me curious. Thanks. I'm also surprised that the coffee is not good. Too bad.

                    2. Ah, my favorite topic. I confess I'm not a drinker of regular coffee; I prefer mine drowned in milk and sugar or whatever. But I do like to hang out in coffeehouses.

                      Zeli - I think it's too small for lounging, but near Vroman's and around the corner from Zona Rosa. Chairs are the metal type, no sofa options.
                      Zona Rosa - comfy seating upstairs. Mexican mochas - yum! Minimal food choices.
                      Bean Town - My favorite, lots of pastries and food (sandwiches, soups), Fosselman's ice cream, comfy sofas and big wooden tables good for laptops but really packed in afternoon and evening. If you will hang out a while and might want lunch without having to leave your spot, it can be worth extra drive. Good people watching both indoors and out.
                      Buster's, South Pas - sometimes it makes me feel claustrophic (tiny tables, low ceilings). Has food and ice cream options. Closes earlier than it used to. In an interesting neighborhood.
                      Kaldi's, South Pas - I would like it more if the comfy seats didn't seem kinda dirty. Great people watching here too, especially if you want to sit outside with the smokers and dog walkers by the park.
                      Jones Coffee Roasters- not really a place people hang out, though it is clear they're adding more seating to encourage just that. Constant coffee roasting machine noise and smell could be distracting, but they know a lot about coffee. In a small office park, not a picturesque neighborhood.
                      Zephyr - Spread through many rooms of an old Craftsman house. Tons of comfy seating and tables. Good if you prefer quiet, because you can often have a whole room to yourself. Not good if you want people watching. They have pastries, sandwiches, and crepes. Immediate neighborhood isn't good for strolling.