Lurching near the beehive of activity that is Sunset and Alvarado is a brick building, painted bright blue on each end and sorely graffitied everywhere else. Tucked in that building is the Downbeat Cafe.
Inside it's got a hint of art deco typeface and a feel of a different, more jazz-infused city. Vintage Down Beat magazines hang in a dreadfully crooked pattern on one wall, over a vast employees-only stairway that vanishes into ominous depths. The ceiling high above is a somber lavender. Retro kitchen chairs are parked next to battered laminate tables with kitschy boomerang designs on them.
There is always at least one laptop per two patrons, and the scarf-and-textbooks ratio is high. Some have complained of an unnecessarily aloof hipster presence, but so far we've been treated quite well.
Despite intriguing lunch fare such as a prosciutto & provolone sandwich and a caprese plate (mozzarella, tomato, basil, olive oil), Downbeat Cafe is a breakfast stopover for us. Their bagels come from Brooklyn Bagel Bakery and are always toasted perfectly warm and raspy across the top. I always have a wheat bagel with butter and jam, and Bianca recommends the "Andy": tomato, onion and cream cheese, hold the sprouts, or the "Andy Extreme" which adds avocado to that.
Combine that with a double café mocha over ice, expertly made with high-quality bitter chocolate, and I can pause to appreciate a quiet morning before continuing on.
Street parking is along busy Alvarado, but it's often easy if you come before nine in the morning. On Wednesday a group called the Downbeats play bop jazz.
( Categories: Cuisines (by Region), Los Feliz/Silver Lake/Echo Park, American, Coffee/Tea/Desserts, Sandwiches/Burgers/Hot Dogs )
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