LA WRITING SPOT REVIEW #2: The Wannabe ‘Bucks (Starbucks @ Robertson & Beverly)

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This is my 2nd Westside coffeehouse review.  You can read the first one here.

Location:  The corner of Beverly Blvd and Robertson Blvd, near The Ivy, at the end of a street full of high-end boutiques you should never actually buy anything at.

Parking:  Metered parking on the street, but if you take a moment to drive through the nearby neighborhood, you should be able to find a free spot that’s good for a couple hours.

The Vibe:  It’s technically in West Hollywood, but the atmosphere is all Beverly Hills circa 1995.  The place is a magnet for well-to-do locals who have nothing to do during the day (and the tourists who love them).  At least, the locals want you to think they’re well-off. They love to talk rather loudly about their latest “projects,” making sure everyone in the establishment knows they’re a producer/entrepreneur/investor/whatever.  Posturing like that doesn’t bode well for authenticity.  Either way, because most of the clientele are not confined by “jobs,” the place is always busy.  Fun fact:  If you see a tourist with a really nice camera that looks like he hasn’t showered in a week, he’s no tourist at all!  He’s actually a paparazzo waiting for a reality “star” to show at one of the many Kitsons on the block. (Yes, I said many Kitsons, as in more than one. FYI: The last time an actual celebrity shopped at Kitson was in 2006.)  How do the paparazzi know when a wannabe celebrity is coming to the block?  Because the “star” tips them off.  (Another thing that doesn’t bode well for authenticity.)

Seating:  Inside there’s room for about 16 to sit (6 two-tops, 1 larger table).  Outside there are several more tables, but they’re mostly lined up against a long bench with oddly placed armrests that limit the number of people who can sit there.  Whether inside or outside, if you can find a seat, the good news is that it’s probably within reach of an electrical outlet.  The outlets can be hard to spot (one is even in the ceiling), but they are there if you look for them.

Wifi:  Typical Starbucks wifi powered by AT&T.  As I write this, with four customers using laptops and a few more using tablets & smart phones also possibly on the network, I’m getting a maximum download speed of less than 1Mbps.  0.89 to be exact.  That blows.  It’s so slow, I couldn’t even post this review from the cafe. I had to cross the street to use the wifi at a Coffee Bean to post it.  Because Starbucks’ wifi networks aren’t password protected, there’s probably a lot more people on it than there appears to be.

Food & Drink:  It’s Starbucks.  If you find yourself actually coming in here and waiting in line for something to drink, it’s only because you really wanted to tell people you went to Starbucks.

Music:  Currently playing something that I can’t make out.

Distinguishing Feature:  The $100,000+ car with a handicapped placard parked just outside at an expired meter, driven by an asshole who clearly has full use of all their limbs and not a single shred of decency.

Ability to get work done here:  If you need Starbucks-branded coffee and can find a seat, sure, you could get some work done if you really have to.  But you’ll need headphones, a high tolerance for Persian cologne, and blinders if you’re easily distracted by sideboob.  Otherwise, just cross the street where the larger Coffee Bean offers more seating and better Wifi.

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