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Coffee Shops in Pasadena

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Zona Rosa is hands down my favorite coffee shop in Pasadena. I just absolutely love the vibe of the place. However, I'm lookin for something new. Anybody got any recommendations for some great coffee shops with a very relaxed enviroment?

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  1. I like Zeli Coffee Bar, attached to Vroman's Bookstore, but the inside can feel cramped. The small patio in front can be nice. It's just around the corner from Zona Rosa, on Colorado, near the corner of El Molino Ave. :)

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    Zeli Coffee Bar
    695 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91101

    1. I like Zephyr on Colorado (just east of Sierra Madre Blvd). It's in a craftsman bungalow and you can hang out and play cards or read on the couches.

      1. Cafe Culture
        1359 N. Altadena Dr.
        Pasadena
        626.398.8654

        Buster's
        1006 Mission St.
        South Pasadena
        626.441.0744.

        1. I like Metropolitan Coffee and Tea. They are right across from VROMAN's next to US Bank. They have free wifi, good tasty coffee and ice blends. Lots of comfy couches and plenty of tables for studying or gossiping with friends. Their tea selection is great too. The only thing I don't like much is their pastry. The few times I've had some, they have been stale or just tasted really old. It's family owned and the children run it as far as I know. The daughter is super nice, but the son can be an ahole at times. They also sell sandwiches that are HUGE, but too pricy. I'd rather go down the block across from Target for some food.

          1. ditto on BUSTERS. also NICOLE'S (more of a market/deli) is pulling good coffee as is KALDI, both on el centro.

            BEAN TOWN in sierra madre has a good vibe and is recently serving beans from KLATCH ROASTING, one of the best roasters in SoCal.

            all have better coffee than ZONA ROSA and a good vibe.

            2 Replies
            1. re: revets2

              Is Kaldi the one that's right on a corner? The one with no signage? Or at least I never could see a sign as I drive by.

              1. re: slacker

                Kaldi is the one on the corner right by the library.

                Busters is the one right by the train tracks if i remember right.

                Both good. I really like beantown too a) cuz its closer to me in arcadia and b) cuz they serve fossilmans ( busters does too if i remember right)

            2. Jones Coffee Roasters at 537 S Raymond Ave is awesome. In addition to having the best coffee in Pasadena and possibly in L.A., it is a completely unique experience inside: the big roasters and grinders are all in the same, warehousey space as the counter, tables, and chairs. It feels like you are in someone's very eccentric loft, or possibly in a lounge in a coffee factory, or maybe just in an incredibly cool coffee shop in Pasadena.

              1. If voting on the ten-odd selections listed, i've been to almost all except cafe culture in altadena. kaldi's the fave even though they didn't have any good food.
                -- kaldi for late hours, proximity to cool things, and cool staff (i was here most often)
                -- bean town in sierra madre for laidback family atmosphere, coffee and fosselman's ice cream!
                -- jones coffee roasters for coffee, its a cool roasting facility and really nice people, but didn't know they were open late or not.

                That was the benefit of zona rosa, the late hours. zeli would close by nine or so, equator wouldn't but it usually meant paying for parking. zephyr has the nicest patio, but i never fell in love with it. buster's just felt cramped and upstairs it was easy to smell the cleaning chemicals from the bathroom. it's a great location during the day, just not a coffeehouse for nighttime.

                1. oh geez, forgot my favorite coffee and bakery is euro pane. But it's closed early, so its not technically a coffeehouse hangout. But the food is the best in the city -- and arguably the best bakery in the Eastside of LA.

                  1. Anybody know of late night coffee bars/shops? There used to be a place in Pasadena called The E Bar which was open past midnight, but it closed and I haven't found any places like that since. Any suggestions could be either in Pasadena or the surrounding cities (Glendale, Burbank, Studio City, Van Nuys, etc).

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: mrshankly

                      Considering this is Pasadena/SGV, you won't find too many late late night options. iBrowse Coffee & Internet in Alhambra is open until 1am every night (disclosure: I am a partner there.) Zona Rosa in Pasadena and Antigua Coffee in El Sereno are supposed to be open till 1am on Fridays and Saturdays, but I have tried to go to Antigua twice on the weekends only to find them closed.

                      1. re: mrshankly

                        We hung out at iBrowse a lot, but if you don't mind driving to Monterey Park there's places open till 3AM.

                        Regent Cafe
                        1411 S. Garfield Ave., Alhambra
                        626-289-9398
                        They are open until 1 AM Sun - Thu and until 3 AM on Fridays and Saturdays.

                        It's a Hong Kong style coffeeshop, so you can get coffee-tea mixes and various Chinese drinks. And Garden Cafe is more of late nite Chinese food, but it's also open late. I have a feeling there's stuff in Ktown, but I can't remember any, some of the locals might have suggestions?

                        1. re: StephP

                          I wouldn't really call Regent Cafe a "coffeeshop", at least not in the sense that we are using it in this thread. They are more of a restaurant, along the lines of JJ's, but more casual than Bacalli.

                          1. re: stochasticgirl

                            i'd agree with that assessment. but when i lived in the area, sometimes if i was studying late, i didn't care if it was a coffeeshop or a restaurant, as long as it was open later than 1am, people studying and hanging out, hot drinks, and wasn't Dennys.

                      2. Should I be surprised that no one has mentioned the Equator?

                        It used to be the kind of place I went out of my way to frequent -- and I've never lived anywhere near Pasadena. But since they remodeled, the last few times I've been there its was almost deserted -- almost as if someone had sucked the life out of the place. I'm sorry to say I think it might not be there much longer ...

                        ... but I'm going to link for old times' sake.

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                        Bean Town
                        45 N Baldwin Ave, Sierra Madre, CA 91024

                        Euro Pane Bakery
                        950 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91106

                        Zona Rosa Caffe
                        15 S El Molino Ave, Pasadena, CA 91101

                        Equator
                        22 Mills Pl, Pasadena, CA 91105

                        Zephyr
                        2419 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91107

                        Cafe Culture
                        1359 N Altadena Dr, Pasadena, CA 91107

                        Kaldi Coffee & Tea
                        1019 El Centro St, South Pasadena, CA 91030

                        Buster's Ice Cream Stop
                        1006 Mission St, South Pasadena, CA 91030

                        Jones Coffee Roasters
                        537 S Raymond Ave, Pasadena, CA 91105

                        Metropolitan Coffee & Tea
                        716 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91101

                        Ibrowse Coffee & Internet
                        11 W Main St, Alhambra, CA 91801

                        Antigua Cultural Coffee House
                        4836 Huntington Dr S, Los Angeles, CA 90032

                        Regent Cafe
                        1411 S Garfield Ave, Alhambra, CA 91801

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: maxzook

                          I tried Buster's in South Pasadena today. I had the Mexican coffee, which was okay, and a toasted whole wheat bagel (with oats on it), plus a side of hummus. My eyes lit up when I saw the great selection of Fosselman's ice cream there, but I didn't get any ice cream today. The bagel was very good. I really liked the location-- it's right by the train tracks in South Pas. :)

                          1. re: katkoupai

                            Its a pretty kool area. Nice to walk around with all these interesting shops (I wouldn't buy anything from them but they're fun to look in imo). Next time try heading a block south to El Centro and you can scope out Kaldi as well. I dunno why but i've always gone here instead of Busters, might just be a force of habit from growing up around there. they have a good selection of drink and I've always gotten great service from the Baristas.

                            You can also chill for a bit at the Fair Oaks Pharmacy. Its a nice change if you're looking for a place to chill and talk and/or study mid day and don't wan't coffee. they have an old school soda fountain which is always a nice thing to enjoy.. Only knock is it closes early ( think 8 weekdays and weekends except 6 on sundays)

                            But I agree with you. When i do make it to busters its really hard to stay away from that fossilmans.

                        2. Zephyr is by far my favorite. Great relaxing atmosphere, excellent drinks and food, reasonable prices. If they had Wi-Fi (which you can poach from their neighbors sometimes), I would consider moving in.

                          1. I support the recommendations for Zephyr and Bean Town. I went to Zona Rosa the other day and quite enjoyed it. Just a quick question though-do the stairs lead to more seating or is it like an employees only area? There's a fairly new coffee place that opened up in Sierra Madre, very close to Bean Town called Steamers. The decor and the atmosphere is nice and relaxed, but their coffee isn't the greatest.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: crystaw

                              The stairs at Zona Rosa lead to the upstairs seating area. Be careful, though, as I have slipped down those very narrow steps.

                            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 mostly metal and this place is usually too packed for hanging out on weekends.
                              Bean Town - Sierra Madre, sorry. My favorite, lots of pastries and food (sandwiches, soups), Fosselman's ice cream, comfy sofas and big wooden tables good for laptops. If you will hang out a while and might want lunch without having to leave your spot, it can be worth the 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, Pas- not really a place people hang out, though it is clear they're adding more seating to encourage 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, also not good if you're having a lively conversation with a friend because it's so quiet, everyone can hear. They have pastries, sandwiches, and crepes. Immediate neighborhood isn't good for strolling.
                              Panera Bread in Pas - free WiFi and has a cozy fireplace, but the coffee is bad! blech!
                              Le Pain Quotidien in Old Town - Pastries are good but pricey. And the coffee drinks are also good but sooo expensive. Like $6 for a latte.
                              Metropolitan Coffee & Tea - I heard the atmosphere was very corporate. Haven't tried the coffee.
                              Steamers, Sierra Madre - I haven't been inside but I like that they have the walk-up window so you can still have your yummy drink when you have your dog with you. Looks like they have Wifi and it's a pretty large room with lots of seating. Always see lots of people hanging out inside.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: CookieEater

                                Great list. I like Zeli the best, but I agree that it is too small.

                                Metropolitan Coffee has a great space, but I do not like the beverages as much. I did not like the pastries there very much either. Both times I tried them, they seemed old and store-bought.

                                I recently tried Allure in Pasadena on Colorado Blvd. The space is very nice, and they have a full food menu. The breakfast sandwich was very good. They also have hookahs.