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best restaurant/coffee shop/bar to write at

hey guys,

long time lurker, first time poster. Was wondering if some fellow hounds could help me out. I'm looking for something pretty specific here. Basically I want a place that my writing partner and I can hunker down for long hours, be a little loud, write, and tell raunchy jokes to each other without worrying about being listened in on by other people, fighting for seats, and getting kicked out because we finished eat two hours ago and the waiters wants to trade us out for new customers and more tip money (not that I blame them btw). Wireless is not necessary (and actually undesirable given our ADD issues). Outlets are a plus but aren't even completely necessary because I do a lot of writing in notebooks.

Here's what I'm NOT looking for: a coffee shop destination where you encounter boatloads of other writer types ala 18th Street Cafe in Santa Monica, Insomnia in Melrose area, Literati in Westwood, etc. Places where you have to be quiet, fight for outlets etc. I'm also not really concerned with food quality. Weird or interesting ambiance is a plus.

I know people are probably reticent to give away their secret finds, so I'll give away two of my favorite places in the hopes of spurring dialogue:

Clifton's Cafeteria in downtown. Food is kind of gross and overpriced, but it's amazing for so many reasons: Three levels of spaciousness. You can buy lunch at noon and hang out until close at 7:00 PM. Get a snack in the afternoon whenever you feel like it. Free coffee dispensers on every floor. Bizarre forest theme. Power outlets. Cons: parking is rough and pricy b/c it's downtown. Bathrooms are foul. Lots of stange customers (a plus for me, but maybe a con for others..)

Getty Museum Cafes: Food is good. Views are amazing. You can hang out and write all day and go check out art if you need a break. Parking is free if you're a student. Cons: only outlets I've found are in the research library where you have to be super quiet.

If anyone else has some good spots, I'd love to hear about them. I'm near Melrose/La Brea but locations don't have to be around there. thanks

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  1. Sabor Y Cultura in Thai Town has lots of writers (look you're not going to be able to avoid them in this town) but you can be loud, it's air-conditioned, there are plenty of outlets, and the food doesn't suck that bad. The only really bad thing about this place is lack of parking in the immediate vicinity. They give free internet if you buy something.

    1. I hate giving this out, but geez, if you're considering Clifton's...
      Farmer's Market at 3rd and Fairfax: the upstairs dining area, above the toy store.
      Pros: lots of room to spread out, great coffee and food, cheap parking if you get validated, Barnes and Noble is right over in the Grove if you need reference stuff. They never kick me out before ten.
      Cons: hopeless wifi, but that's a plus for me. limited power outlets; bring a powerstrip if you can. Kids can get noisy.
      We actually wrote 95% of a screenplay right there- even spread our PostIts out on the biggest table to get the scenes in order.

      1. Lost Souls Cafe downtown is not bad, but it's a little dark for me (literally not enough lighting).

        Shim Book Cafe is not bad on Wilshire near Vermont. It's a Korean place that is unabashedly Christian. The food isn't that great though.

        1. If you look through this thread you may find some ideas. While some of the suggestions are places like Literati (which you have already dismissed as the kind of place you are looking for) there are others that may work.


          1. The Bourgeois Pig in Hollywood (Franklin between Tamarind and Bronson) fits almost all your basic needs.

            Pros: The place is loud enough that you can be loud with it -- most people hang out for long periods -- the tables have outlets (not sure about the wifi situation)

            Cons: parking is impossible (I take the DASH) -- when I say it gets loud I mean it gets LOUD esp. after dark -- not much real food on the menu to speak of -- and if you're serious about avoiding other writers, this probably isn't the place to go

            Bourgeois Pig
            5931 Franklin Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028

            2 Replies
            1. re: maxzook

              Thanks guys. I'm excited to try a lot of these. One thing I think I didn't make clear enough is that I'm looking for alternative to standard "writerly" places because I'm writing with a partner.

              I love Lost Souls, Bourgeois Pig, etc. when I'm writing by myself, but start to feel a little self-conscious at places like that when writing with another person.

              So the Farmer's Market and Thai town suggestions sound especially awesome. Places with hustle and bustle where you can blend in and not be bothered for long periods of time. Places where you can bat around lots of bad jokes without having to worry about the mustachioed, Castro-hat-wearing hipster giving you disapprovingly looks through his horn-rimmed spectacles one booth over.

              Does that make sense? Thanks to everyone who's replied so far.

              1. re: bibbles

                yep, bibbles the farmer's market would be the place to go.

                or how about trying the very egalitarian at times leaning Phillipe's the Original, park in the lot (don't know if they have a time limit), grab a 9cents coffee and a homemade donut or two to get you through to lunch, and then for a late or early lunch get one of their french-dipped sandwiches, a potato salad or some coleslaw, or perhaps a cup of meaty chili, and maybe a slice of pie and you're good to go. you won't feel too self-consious due to all the surrounding commotion although there will be lulls in traffic. don't know why no on has mentioned this place. and it's great to write, at the end of the day, at a historic landwmark.


            2. There is also Massimo's Mud Spot on La Brea and I want to say 8th. It's a tiny place and I have not sampled the food. But, there is free wi-fi and it's a nice, quiet atmosphere. There is some outdoor seating. And if you are there past 5pm, the bar next door opens up. Little Bar. So you can slip in for a pint or two of inspiration.

              And I have not gone inside to report on Black Dog I think it is called which is west of La Brea on Wilshire on the north side of the street.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Ehkoh

                Massimo's looks like it just recently opened. Past by it a number of times, while tredging down La Brea. Looks really interesting.


              2. Have you been to Philly West on Westwood Blvd. just south of Santa Monica Blvd? It is a dark, divy little neighborhood sports bar, but its proximity to UCLA draws an intellectual local clientele. Rarely crowded, I have no idea if there are outlets out where the tables are. Surprisingly good food -- the best Philly cheesesteak on the westside (north of Big Mike's) and an even better flame-grilled cheeseburger, either around $6. The main reasons I mention it is that there is a free shared parking lot in the back, I think they'd be patient with you as long as you bought something, and it is a fairly loose place. But it is small enough so that you won't have any privacy.

                It is a different topic, but is team writing a social event that is appropriate in a public, profit-making place or should it be done in an office or den? I foresee problems when that lurker at the next table beats you to the studio with what you think is too close to your idea.

                1. Joxer Daly's in Culver City would be a good choice. I go there to read a book or bunch of newspapers. Get a booth, order from the menu with a beer or soda and you're good for a couple of hours. Hit the end of lunch rush and stay as long as you like. You can be loud, it's a bar. It empties out after lunch so you'll have place almost to yourselves. I don't know if htey have wifi, I don't care since email is the last thing on my mind when I'm there. You won't find writerly types there either. It's on Washington blvd just east of Sepulveda.

                  Joxer Daly's
                  11168 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Endsinavowel

                    Is this place just east of the Hoagies & Wings that used to be Markie D's? Isn't the Alibi Room right about here too? I'm trying to figure out when to get some of those Kogi tacos.