One of your favorite cocktail bars has turned into the hottest coffee shop in town. This past weekend Melrose Umbrella Co. debuted its brand-new coffee service and daytime hours (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.), making it the most provocative combination of liquor and caffeine since Four Loko.
Now you can stroll into the Melrose Avenue cocktail bar in the a.m. for coffee geek-caliber java, plus breakfast pastries by Farmshop, and, starting next week, some morning sandwiches by chef Eric Greenspan. He even hinted at a Monte Cristo variation called the Three-Card Monty, which has us all excited. The best part is, if you have nothing else to do with the rest of your day there’s the tempting option to stay through to day-drinking craft cocktails starting at noon. After all, you can bring in your laptop and just work from here. There is WiFi. How many coffee shops offer the same?
Amazingly the bar looks as gorgeous in the daylight as it does at night, something that a lot of bars don’t have in their DNA to pull off. That’s because owners Zachary Patterson and Austin Melrose expressly designed it to create a community space where people can basically hang out all day. “What’s greater than after a bender when everyone gets together in the morning, cooks a big ol’ family breakfast and talks about all the fun stuff that happened the night before?” explains Patterson about the motivation for what is essentially a second business.
He didn’t just plug in a coffee shop here. It was a year in the making with plans to start up when the bar first opened last year. But because of a not-good electrician the bar didn’t have the correct amperage to run an espresso machine safely. Add to that and the fancy espresso machine they researched and bought was pooh-poohed by Nick Griffith (former Tonx co-owner turned Honeycut bartender). Now with the electricity all fixed up, a brand-new espresso machine blessed by Griffith, a coffee menu R&D-ed, and a new barista, the coffee program is ready to go.
But this is just the beta version of a program that’s still evolving, according to Patterson and barista Matt Sala (a former Intelligentsia retail educator). They’re looking to add even more coffee creations, like non-alcoholic coffee drinks. Patterson wants the coffee here to be as culinarily respectable as his cocktails and to be able to pair it with food. The syrups will be made in-house; currently there’s house-made vanilla syrup for those who crave some flavor in their latte. Califia coconut-almond milk, which Sala says is the best complement to coffee, is the alternative milk option. The vanilla coconut-almond latte is Patterson’s coffee drink of choice.
But, there won’t be any pourovers here. The point was to create an experience that can’t be duplicated at home with a Hario coffee dripper and drip kettle. “You can’t do what I can do with an espresso machine, period. Between the water filters, the technology, the care,” explains Sala. “To me that’s a big part of coffee. The community built around it, that experience. You’re talking about a trained professional that studies this as opposed to someone at home trying to replicate it,” adds Patterson.
So bring in your laptop and enjoy a cuppa and a cocktail later. Today the coffee shop will offer brewed coffee for a buck from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in celebration of National Coffee Day.
Melrose Umbrella Co., 7465 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, 323-951-0709 or melroseumbrellaco.com.