HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >


Good places to have a drink, eat a meal and work on computer or read for a couple hours

I often find myself looking for just that sort of place: decent food for under $20 an entree, good beverage selection, but not so noisy and crowded with 20 somethings that it doesn't look baldly out of place to be reading a book or working on a computer.

The best place I've found so far for this kind of evening is Barbara's at the Brewery, and the only drawback there is that the food isn't exactly given a lot of love in the kitchen.

I spend a lot of time in Atlanta and Steinbeck's fits my needs perfectly there. Could anyone recommend a spot in LA, preferably Eastside? (I have a feeling that there are probably more than a handful of spots like this on the Westside, so don't hold back those recommendations.)

Thank yous

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Plate 38 in Pasadena fits this. The staff have been really cool when I've done work there on my laptop at random times of day. It's just beer and wine but they have good selection of each. It's never crowded as far as I can tell.

    Plate 38
    2361 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91107

    1 Reply
    1. re: cant talk...eating

      I've eaten there once for breakfast and another time for dinner and you're right it could totally work.

      1. Might try the new-ish Rosewood Tavern on Fairfax. The food hasn't gotten a lot of love from critics, but it's entirely fine to good. And the room is great. And as long as you're not there after 10:00 pm on weekends, the places isn't usually too packed.

        Ditto the also still new-ish Fat Dog just a couple blocks north of there. Not quite as popular or authentic Tavern-y, but it might fit the bill.

        Rosewood Tavern
        448 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

        The Fat Dog
        801 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046

        1. I certainly see plenty of the activity you are describing going on at the Novel Cafe on Ocean Park Blvd. in Santa Monica...and they have two other locations as well (all linked below).

          Novel Cafe
          212 Pier Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90405

          Novel Cafe
          1101 Gayley Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90024

          Novel Cafe
          2901 Ocean Park Blvd Ste 125, Santa Monica, CA 90405

          4 Replies
          1. re: Servorg

            Actually they've got a total of 7 locations now, I think, including two more in Santa Monica, one in Westwood, one Downtown, and a new one in Korea Town. http://www.novelcafe.com/locations/

            I spend a lot of time at the one on Traction...although they really are just very casual coffee shops, with marginal food and no booze. I gather the Barbara's & Steinbeck's references are pointing more to pub and gastropub type settings. Not sure if booze is a minimum requirement. Mr. Mouther?

            1. re: wutzizname

              Thanks for the update on the growth of the Novel Cafe empire...I had no idea they had increased in size so quickly. I note that they now own (for how long I have no idea) Maxwell's Cafe on Washington Blvd. at Walgrove. Maxwell's was a place I used to frequent when I could go off hours in the middle of the week to avoid the normal mob scene there.

              1. re: Servorg

                maxwells was good, and had some really good egg dishes until they changed up their ownership i believe or just changed their menu.

              2. re: wutzizname

                I do like booze, but it's not an absolute requirement I guess. More like an 80% requirement.

            2. come to think of it, I was also in san francisco last month and walked into a number of places for breakfast and lunch that also had beer or wine and encouraged lingering. I think that's the main thing i'm looking for: a place that encourages lingering, nibbling and slow consumptions of beverages the way most coffee shops expect you to sit around and relax a bit

              2 Replies
              1. re: mr mouther

                That's a tough one. I guess LA Mill might work like someone mentioned. As well as the Coffee Table.

                Coffee Table
                2930 Rowena Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90039

                1. re: kevin

                  unfortly the coffee table is closed