Your Guide to L.A. Coffee Houses… ’90s Style


In 1992 I met Bill Clinton, had my first (legal) cocktail and was a regular at Kelbo’s enjoying Joey Cheezhee under the Coco Bowl. I also discovered the craziest, most wonderful coffee house called Motor On In, which opened twenty years ago today. I quickly became friends with owner Ginny Glass, who created the green and gold curlicued wonderland on a side street near Culver City.  The pre-Starbucks coffee house invasion in Los Angeles was inspired by the original beatnik joints like Venice Beach’s Gas House and Pandora’s Box on the Sunset Strip, which were long gone by the grunge era. Motor On In burned brightly for a short time, but disappeared back into the ether like Jabberjaw, Pik Me Up, Café Onyx and so many others. Which were your favorites? Here are twelve survivors that still sport mismatched furniture, wacky art and sometimes even board games with missing pieces. A dozen chances to caffeinate yourself… ‘90s style.




11609 Santa Monica Blvd

Los Angeles, CA 90025


Stir Crazy

6903 Melrose Ave

Los Angeles, CA 90038


Aroma Coffee and Tea

4360 Tujunga Ave

Studio City, CA 91604


Lucy Florence Coffee House 

5671 W Pico Blvd

Los Angeles, CA 90019


Insomnia Café

7286 Beverly Blvd 

Los Angeles, CA 90036


Bourgeois Pig

5931 Franklin Ave,

Los Angeles, CA 90028


212 Pier (Formerly Novel Café)

212 Pier Avenue

Santa Monica, CA 90404


Casbah Café

3900 West Sunset Boulevard  

Los Angeles, CA 90029



4150 Riverside Drive,

Burbank, California 91505  


Catalina Coffee Company (Formerly Yesterdays)

126 N Catalina Ave

Redondo Beach, CA 90277


Coffee Gallery

2029 Lake Ave

Altadena, CA 91001


Cow’s End

34 Washington Boulevard

Venice Beach, CA 90292