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May 22, 2012 04:45 PM

Laptop friendly cafe/restaurant/bar close to South Bay?

I've perused the boards and searched Google for the entire work day searching for a place to eat/drink/work near the South Bay and have come up with nothing! Usually, when I need to work on after-work projects, I head over to Panera but 1) the one by me closes early, 2) I'm so tired of their menu offerings and 3) I need alcohol. :-P

I need to find a place with some good food and alcohol. Yami Teahouse in Lomita (near Torrance) has great Taiwanese food offerings but no booze. I'm thinking maybe Baleen's lobby lounge would work but I don't know if it's appropriate to linger there?

A place like Zinque in Venice would be great but it's just a tad too far for my Redondo Beach home base. I've never been to Zinque but based on Yelp reviews and other blog writeups it seems to have more than just coffee house pastries...and even better, it has wine at night!

Does anyone know of any other place that offers wine, food, outlets for your laptop and doesn't mind lingering? Looking for recs in the South Bay (as far north as El Segundo, as far south as Palos Verdes, as far east as Gardena).

NYC has so many of these places! I have to believe LA can at least offer 1 or 2?!

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  1. Did you ever find a place that fits the bill?

    1 Reply
    1. re: weirdboy

      I sure didn't. I did, however, go to Zinque and it's exactly what I'm looking for! They have plenty of outlets, delicious food (albeit limited offerings), coffee AND wine! They even have a parking lot to circumvent the crappy Venice parking. But it is definitely further than I want to drive.

      I also went to Baleen and while they don't mind if you lounge in the lounge, their tables are tiny and more coffee table height than ergonomic-OSHA-sanctioned-work height. The food is pretty good and happy hour options are great. But as the sun dips, the lighting becomes romantic which is, again, not so great for people trying to work.

    2. closest thing to that is tea station.

      1 Reply
      1. re: raizans

        I would probably agree with the Tea Station recommendation for what you want especially if you thought Yami Teahouse was any good. I would go to Yami for the drinks and free wifi and lounging, but not certainly not for the food, which I thought was pretty horrific. Greasy, bland, just plain god awful. Not cheap for what it is, either! It's sad. I'm always hoping to find a good Taiwanese place in the South Bay, but it seems like there are none.

      2. Funny, I posted a question very like this a while ago, and the best suggestion I got back - hotel bars. Since you mentioned El Segundo, I will say that I frequently do after-hours work at the Second Story Lounge at the Belamar Hotel. It's a nice space, never loud or crowded (unless you happen upon a corporate party), they definitely don't mind if you linger, and there is a full bar and menu. The food is decent, the drinks are quite good. And everything is very reasonably priced, given that it's a hotel. Wi-fi is free, and if you grab a seat near their host station up front, you can steal an outlet.

        More of a hole in the wall, but I also sometimes go to Gambrinus on the Redondo pier. It's a tiny place, but if you're friendly with the bartenders, they'll give you their wi-fi key. Decent beers on tap and really delicious Russian food. They don't mind if you linger - it's usually not crowded. They do have live music once in a while though, so it's not always ideal for working.

        Good luck, and let me know if you find any other places!

        5 Replies
        1. re: heinous

          Re Gambrinus. Did not know they had wi-fi key available, but that's good to know. (Too bad Naja's next door doesn't.) The good news about Gambrinus is that, in addition to outstanding beer selection, they have great perojkis.

          Aside from other suggestions listed in posts above, I only know of Standard Station (El Segundo, at Grand and Standard). They have wi-fi key on request and outstandingly friendly service, but food is only so-so. Since that's closest to my house I have gone there frequently.

          I'd love to know of any other wi-fi and laptop-friendly spots between E.S. and Redondo. Perhaps in Manhattan or Hermosa? Always on the lookout for something other than Starbucks (and where you can get a beer with wi-fi).

          1. re: cagey

            Oh, and I just went for work/drinks at Gambrinus last Friday. Was there for 4 hours, and they were super cool. Had the blinis and the stroganoff (currently on special), delicious as always. :)

          2. re: heinous

            I have never tried using wifi there, but according to Yelp, Brewco in Manhattan Beach has free wifi. They have a decent menu and their tap last has become pretty solid since they changed over from being a brewpub a couple of years ago. However, the crowd can vary between sedate and raucous.

            Another possibility is 1321 in downtown Torrance. Again, I haven't used the wifi there but they do list as having it available. The crowd there is typically fairly laid-back, although the bar area can get pretty loud and busy during happy hour and on the weekends.

            One more that I have discovered lately is Tortilla Cantina in the same little area of Torrance. They have a good tap list and decent happy hour menu, and when I have been there on weekdays, even during happy hour it doesn't get too crazy, especially compared to 1321 nearby. I have seen others using laptops there, so I assume the wifi is usable.

            1. re: weirdboy

              I don't need a wifi connection usually, so can't speak to that, but I've been enjoying an early evening camped out at Select Beer Store in Riviera Village about once a week. It gets busy on weekends, but it's quiet enough during the weeknights that you can usually grab a table and a beer and no one bothers you. Great beer selection (about 6-8 taps + beers you can buy from the cooler for a couple dollar corkage fee). Good focus on local beers. No food, but they encourage you to bring it in or order it for delivery there. Standing Room is close enough that picking up a burger there and then heading to SBS for a beer makes for a good time.

              Definitely a place I don't want to talk about too much for fear of its being overrun, but they deserve the good word and the business.

              Select Beer Store
              1613 S Pacific Coast Hwy
              Redondo Beach, CA 90277
              (310) 540-1221

              1. re: weirdboy

                Interesting! I never thought about 1321, but that's a great suggestion. I go there often, but haven't been since their kitchen revamp, and I hadn't thought about it as a work/drink place. I will have to check this out. Agree that it can get rowdy while the big games are on, but for the most part, it's pretty chill, and they don't seem to mind when you linger... especially if you keep drinking. :)