Santa Monica

Southern California is so much more than iced coffee. In fact, café life is thriving in Santa Monica. Forgo the beach for a few and linger over a perfect pour over or frothy latte at one of these local favorites.

(Image courtesy of @groundworkcoffee)

Groundwork Coffee Co.

Handcrafting perfect cups of joe for 25 years, Groundwork Coffee Co. started on the boardwalk in Venice Beach, and has since spread to several locations around L.A. and up to Portland. But, of course, the original is always the best. As the first certified organic roaster in California, Groundwork’s mission — organic, fair trade and sustainable — is as authentic as their approach to each and every cup.

(Image courtesy of @caffeluxxe)

Caffe Luxxe

Coffee and conversation are on the menu at European-inspired Café Luxxe in Santa Monica. When friends Gary Chau and Mark Wain left the corporate world for the café world, they wanted to create something different. Caffe Luxxe sources and roasts their own coffees, serving espresso and hand pour-overs. A personal touch goes into every cup.

(Image courtesy of


Lo/Cal is a great neighborhood café; baristas learn names and orders from their regulars. They serve Stumptown on draft, and you can also take your cold brew to the next level by going Nitro. Savory empanadas and works of donut art from DK’s Donuts and Bakery (perfect for your Instagram post), make it a one stop shop for all day in the café.

(Image courtesy of @espressocielo)

Espresso Cielo

Two locations in Santa Monica and each are just blocks from the beach but at Espresso Cielo it’s worth staying inside and lingering over your cup. In fact, it’s encouraged. Single-origin coffees meet cute café interiors that welcome every type of coffee drinker, from book readers and Internet surfers, to first daters and families ordering to go.