Philz Coffee, a 15-store company from San Francisco, recently opened its newest cafe in Santa Monica – its very first venue outside of the Bay Area. Philz was founded in 2003 by Phil Jaber, who has been experimenting with coffee for more than 25 years. His focus is on unique combinations of beans and on the art of pour-over coffee (no espresso-based drinks here). Absolutely do not miss the iced mint mojito coffee, which sounds a bit strange but tastes wonderful.
Philz is located right on Santa Monica Boulevard near 6th Street, in a new mixed-use building with apartments above. The vibe on the sidewalk is urban and sophisticated, a testament to the growing vibrancy of downtown Santa Monica beyond the Third Street Promenade.
The cafe itself is very open, with lots of seating, big windows and counters facing the sidewalk, a bench outside, and of course a doggie bowl. On the entry wall there’s is a very cool large map of Los Angeles, made of wood. Nice to see our L.A. boulevards celebrated, especially by a San Francisco cafe!
On the days I have visited the extremely friendly staff seem to really care whether you enjoy your drink. There’s no no coffier-than-thou attitude. The ordering process is part of the enjoyment. The head of the wait line is fairly far from the counter, so there’s a lot of friendly calling out for the next person and announcing when drinks are ready. It reminds me of a market hall with vendors calling out their wares. Very different from the hushed, sanctified atmosphere cultivated by some high-end cafes, especially ones where everyone seems to be plugged into something with earphones. Philz is bustling and communal, with lots of lively conversations. On a recent weekday afternoon, it was filled mostly with younger people, apparently from nearby tech companies, epitomizing the vibe of our own growing Silicon Beach. Philz has that essential urban liveliness that have always made the best cafes not just places for a great drink, but great places to be.