Fact*: At any given time, at least 83 percent of the world’s Instagram feeds feature one latte awash in the blown-out splendor of the Gingham filter. Orchestrating the perfect coffee still life—a gorgeous cup positioned just so, a tiny spoon resting gracefully against a saucer, flakes from a buttery pain au chocolat littering a rough-hewn wood table—is pretty much a social media rite of passage. Throw in a magical tiled backsplash, a brightly patterned floor, and a prop chair (to stand on for the dream aerial angle, obviously), and you’re all but guaranteed to rack up the double taps. Here’s where to go in your neighborhood for the best shots, both of the espresso and iPhone variety.
*This is not a fact.
How do you one-up every other marble-tabled, tile-floored, succulent-bedecked cafe in town? You invoke the power of unicorns, specifically in the form of rainbow-colored lattes that look like what would happen if Lisa Frank was your barista. There’s bright colors and swirly starburst designs, and if that’s not Instagram gold, then what is?
The cups are custom designed, each coffee is served with a stick of Pocky, and the entire ceiling is blanketed in a thick layer of moss, like some sort of life-sized hipster diorama. The menu is equally unique, offering bruleed donuts and shakeratos—a cult Italian iced espresso drink.
LaB Coffee and Roasters
LaB Coffee and Roasters take their name to heart: the company serves their brew in beakers emblazoned with the chemical sign for caffeine. The snacks, from seasonal jam ricotta toast to luscious muffins, are equally photogenic.
Intelligentsia may have its roots in blustery Chicago, but the outpost at Sunset Junction—what with its arched window and large outdoor patio—is L.A. through and through. The quality of the coffee is consistent, and the vibrant tiled floor, made by the local company Granada Tile, makes for a solid here’s-my-coffee-and-also-my-feet shot.
The offerings at this low-key Aussie cafe are as beautiful as they are delicious (and that doesn’t even cover the architecture). The stark white facade, tasteful interior decor, and outdoor area studded with succulents make this an ideal stop for a quick breakfast and a new cover photo.
Known for having cups and neon signage emblazoned with their signature slogan—“But First, Coffee”—this L.A. micro-chain’s commitment to branding caters to social media-savvy millennials. Aka you.
Everyone loves dinosaurs, but Dinosaur Coffee loves them a lot. A line drawing of a Stegosaurus adorns their cardboard sleeves, and Jurassic-era touches can be seen all around the shop. The hideaway, which brews coffee from San Francisco’s Four Barrel Coffee Roasters, is brought to you by Ben Hantoot—you know, the dude who invented Cards Against Humanity.
The hole-in-the-wall shop on the edge of Sawtelle Japantown specializes in a technique called siphon-brewing, which looks like a mad chemistry experiment but produces a delicate, delicious cup of coffee. Bonus: every order is served with a tiny cookie.
Patterned plates, smooth wooden coasters, and nitro flights would be enough to amp up anyone’s Instagram feed. Add dramatic chandeliers and sleek couches, and your coffee becomes the least interesting thing in the photo. One wall is even a shade of “millennial pink,” a lovely, serene background for those Larder Baking Company croissants.
Tucked into the soaring, freshly-restored Art Deco lobby of the Southern California Edison Company Building in the Financial District, this Portland, Oregon chain’s first L.A. outpost might be the most historic and glamorous spot for a coffee. You’ll want to snap pics of the marble columns, modernist furniture, cute treats from Donut Snob, and, of course, expert-level latte art.