One of the perks of being a (mostly) freelance writer — always a change of scenery. I do a lot of my work out-and-about, at various places on the Westside of Los Angeles. My writer-friends are always asking me what I think of certain spots so I figured, what the heck, why I don’t just review them all? First up is the Coffee Bean on North Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills, which is not to be confused with the Coffee Bean on South Beverly Drive (just a few blocks away) or the one on Beverly Blvd (about a mile away).
Location: Heart of “downtown” Beverly Hills on the corner of N. Beverly Dr. and Little Santa Monica Blvd. (Do people still call it Little Santa Monica? Or is just South Santa Monica now, which is confusing because it runs parallel to North Santa Monica?)
Parking: It’s near two city-run garages that offer free parking for up to 2 hours before 6pm. Nice.
Seating: By my count, at least 20+ inside. Another 10+ outside. In total, 8 two-tops, two “lounge-y” areas with more plush seating, one larger table that three or four people could sit around, and two bars. One is a communal “power bar” that seats 7 with individual outlets for every seated patron. There’s also a slimmer bar against the wall that sits another half-dozen people who don’t care about power (or having their backs stared at by people waiting for their drinks).
Food & Drink: Same selection as any other Coffee Bean as far as I could tell.
Typical Customer: Appears to be mostly people who don’t want to wait in line at the more crowded Starbucks across the street. The power bar attracts laptop wielders willing to sacrifice space for some much needed juice.
Amenities: Public bathroom. Lots of the aforementioned electrical sockets.
Wifi: Typical Coffee Bean wifi (i.e. requires a passcode that is readily visible on their infotainment screen). At 11:50am on a Monday, with two laptop users, a guy on an iPad, and a couple smartphones appearing to be on the network, the download speed was 4.38Mbps. I haven’t run this official speed test anywhere else yet, but based on personal experience, I have a feeling it’ll beat the other coffeehouses in the neighborhood (two Starbucks, a Peet’s, and another Coffee Bean). The upload was a dismal 0.51Mbps. So don’t plan on Skyping, but you know what? You should never Skype at a coffeehouse anyway. It’s tacky and hogs the bandwidth. Also worth mentioning: My Dropbox folder had no trouble syncing over the wifi, but my Google Drive folder was “unable to connect.”
Music: Currently playing “Dig A Little Deeper” by Peter Bjorn and John.
Distinguishing Trait: The gas fireplace fully encased in glass that produces no heat. Any perceived warmth comes from the emptiness of your soul (or the people sitting around you, as around it are the most popular places to sit).
Ability to do work here: Pretty good, actually. There’s almost always seating, and because it’s never all that crowded, it’s never all that loud. If you have a meeting anywhere in Beverly Hills and want to get some work done before or after, this is an excellent choice.