You can’t find a more LA coffee shop than Alfred- Alfred Coffee is truly a cultural and societal staple in Los Angeles. I first visited the flagship shop back in 2017 when I was on a college Spring Break road trip through LA before I moved here, and I remember being taken by how beautiful the space was.
Fast forward two years to when I’ve made Los Angeles my permanent home, and now I get to work 0.3 miles away from Alfred Coffee on Melrose Place- I’m still just as taken.
Seven years from its initial opening on Melrose Place in 2012, the brand has gone international, with locations from Tokyo to Texas. This post is only about the two locations I’ve been to- but I’m betting the others are just as easy on the eyes as the Melrose Place and Brentwood locations.
Alfred Coffee Melrose Place
Believe it or not Alfred Coffee is not named after someone named Alfred. It’s named after Alfred Street here in LA. Alfred’s founder is named Joshua Zad. He’s a commercial real estate developer who never thought he’d be absorbed into the competitive LA food and beverage industry- but by combining his real estate intel and entrepreneurial spirit (and of course, a strong need for caffeine) in 2012 he signed the lease for 8428 Melrose Place.
Melrose place- well known by name from its 90’s TV show origins- has in real-life been a traditionally sleepy street off of Melrose Ave, housing retail like boutiques and antique shops. But when this coffee shop took hold of the area’s fashionable inhabitants after its 2012 opening by enticing celebrities like Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid, and most recently Mila Kunis (there’s actually a pretty good chance you’ll see someone famous if you hang out there for a while on the weekend), its name garnered attention from the common folk (like me) to also seek a taste.
Alfred has skyrocketed to fame through its aesthetically pleasing design elements present in all of its standalone shops which are frequently instagrammed with the famous #ButFirstCoffee tagline.
Its success has been credited not only to their enjoyable cuppa joe (they roast Stumptown which I’m drinking home brewed, as I write this!), but also the enjoyable environment in which you drink the coffee and then share it with 800 (or 100K, depending on who you are) of your closest Instagram followers. In fact, it was just named one of the top 10 most Instagrammable cafes in the world by Insider.
Alfred Coffee Brentwood
The Alfred in Brentwood is the third location to open among the franchise, and is located on a cute, busy street-corner on San Vicente. The parking is a nightmare and the prices are through its cozy one-story roof but the patio is dog friendly and sun bathed with a buzzy atmosphere that matches the caffeinated vibe of the space. I wouldn’t recommend it as a place to sit down and get work done, but it’s a great place to meet up with a friend for a chat as well as people (or pooch!) watch.
I was there on a Saturday morning, when patience is key, (especially when you haven’t had your coffee yet) and the line was consistently out the door.
Both shops serve a variety of healthy fare- salads, sandwiches and pastries from Farm Shop (I’m sure Gwyneth is a frequent flier at the Brentwood Alfred outpost).
There’s just something to be commemorated about the general air of happiness which surrounds the Brentwood location. Maybe it’s the plethora of Vitamin D shining onto the patio from the California sunshine, maybe it’s all of the smiling puppers on the patio which make you realize that life can’t be that bad- or maybe it’s the abundance of caffeine. Any way you put it, it’s a nice place to be if you don’t mind spending a pretty penny on a cup of coffee and experiencing some true Angeleno vibes.
The two shops definitely carry different atmospheres. The OG location on Melrose Place in my opinion is more spacious, classical, quieter, and somewhere you can sit for a while in peace admiring the (real) brick and ivy of the shop’s exterior.
The location in Brentwood is like the younger sister Melrose Place’s outpost. A younger crowd, more chaos and a brighter interior and exterior- this one is somewhere you go if you don’t mind a bit of noise and drama.
I would like to be able to eventually visit every Alfred Coffee eventually (quick trip to Tokyo, anyone?) but for now I’ll sit back and observe every #ButFirstCoffee hashtag continue to tell the story as the brand continues to grow.
Alfred Coffee Melrose Place: 8428 Melrose Pl, Los Angeles, CA 90069, Alfred Coffee Brentwood: 11908 San Vicente Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90049
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