Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Groundwork Coffee Company – 4/5 Stars

Groundwork Coffee Co.
$ Coffee & Tea, Breakfast & Brunch, Caterers
1501 N Cahuenga Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028

Smoking is for melancholic people who smell bad. And somewhere in the 400-year-old European tradition of smoking and public houses came a place to hold the spittoons of black bile. It was called the PATIO. The Spaniards called it el PATIO.

There’s zombie-like and bloodthirsty desperation that smokers have to light a cigarette on the patio, and they will interrupt your conversation, rip your pocket open and throw quarters at you to light upon the patio. I am on a patio almost every day and there is a ring of being let down when the cigarette ends. The problems that are released with the smoke don’t quite fully make it out of the throat and stay stuck in it. The friends want to go home, people are being kicked out and coffee doesn’t quite resolve it. But why the patio is important is that it is kind of an abject and quiet object, a place to let the collective stream of smoke and hubbub be released. So it helps until it doesn’t.

Groundwork USED to have a patio, two patios, sort of. One at the side of the window along Sunset and one in front at Cahuenga. Up until about a year ago, it was good. Then they got rid of the tables on Sunset, then the tables on Cahuenga disappeared. Maybe homeless people used to take over the areas more than the baristas at Groundwork would like, but things were mellow when the homeless weren’t kicked out. No schizos spitting at people behind the windows (there’s a guy on Sunset who spits at the window if he sees you in it), no threats of arson, no flailing milk carts. But now the chairs were replaced with an empty windowsill, no more sitting outside, no more gazing at Sunset and Cahuenga Blvd. No incredibly hot, beating light.

I got seasonal affective disorder having to be inside. All of the windows at Groundwork want me to be outside. And while I could still see everything outside, I can’t interact with it! I enjoy drinking their Venice blend (the medium one). But the strong roast is good too. And I can deal with a lot of metamorphic changes that they made to simplify their look, but the disappearance of the patio and the pour-your-own-coffee bar feels like they threw the baby out with the bath water.

‘Keeping it simple stupid’ is a very zen concept and I do like that sometimes they leave containers of their salads, wraps or sandwiches that didn’t sell on the windowsills at night. As I was biking away on Sunset one night, I told some homeless guy asking for change that there were salads in front of this place and he was completely unimpressed with the idea of having to walk two blocks for a container of salad and didn’t move. Hollywood.

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