In Santa Cruz, beach-goers, surfers and mountain bikers frequent
Verve Coffee Roasters‘ popular cafes. Verve’s mission to source relationship-based direct trade coffees, paired with friendly and approachable customer service, has made them a success in their hometown. When it came time to expand, they looked to Los Angeles as their next California frontier—starting with an espresso bar, designed by LA’s Studio MAI, in the downtown fashion district. This month, they opened a new cafe in the Melrose design district and enlisted another local studio, Commune Design (whose recent credits include The Elder Statesman’s first ever brick-and-mortar).
When Verve founder Colby Barr showed CH around the new location, he had a hard time choosing his favorite place to sit. Barr, who founded Verve with Ryan O’Donovan, has spent much of the last few years planning and implementing the launch of their Los Angeles cafes. Pamela Shamshiri of Commune has certainly succeeded in creating a space worth all the stress, sweat and time. The new space features gleaming copper counters, velvet banquets, sleek metal and leather bistro chairs, and a picturesque patio. We settle on the velvet benches and sip Tres Leches Cappuccinos made with the coconut water, hazelnut, cashews and almonds in Juice Served Here’s 06 concoction.
“We love that Commune designs a lot of residences,” Barr tells us. “For Verve we want our spaces to feel more like homes than restaurants.” He cites being inspired by iconic Californian architecture and design, from Herman Miller to Eames. “That vibe of that really resonates with us and with Commune.” The goal for the space was to create a welcoming gathering space for the neighborhood that was light and airy.
Verve and Commune approached the space as a quintessentially Californian project, created by two companies who draw inspiration from living in the golden state. Shamshiri—a founding partner of Commune—says, “We are both California-based companies focused on the experience and feelings that a space can give you.” The original building they started from was designed to evoke a French cottage. Both Verve and the Commune designers share a love for the way coffee and food is displayed in Scandinavian countries. The idea was to transform the space to evoke their California take on that aesthetic.
They looked to spaces in Stockholm, Melbourne and New York for inspiration, then set out to create a California version of luxury. “The idea was to keep a very warm feel by using materials that would age naturally and develop a personality with time,” says Shamshiri. “We kept elements like the classic steel windows, but redesigned it so that it would fit the project.” She chose copper counters and table tops, French Oak herringbone flooring, and cement tiles for the patio.
The menu features unique coffee drinks, Juice Served Here beverages (including a juice flight), pastries, and soon: breakfast and lunch options. There’s also coffee brewing equipment and beans for those who want to take the Verve experience home. To keep the momentum going, next year they’ll launch a roastery and cafe in the DTLA Arts District.
Visit Verve’s new cafe at 8925 Melrose Ave, West Hollywood, CA.
Images courtesy of Spencer Lowell