If you've visited Downtown LA's Grand Central Market, you've witnessed its beautiful chaos: fruit vendors and spice sellers, whiskey stations and gourmet food stands, cheesemongers and delicatessens, loudly echoing laughter and blazing neon lights. At its very end, just before Hill Street, stands G&B Coffee: a beacon of sleek simplicity and a breath of fresh air.
This beautiful coffee bar gleams in bright white and marble, accented with pops of purple neon and vintage-style milk glass lamps. In some ways, it feels like it's from another place and time, but look a little deeper and it's clearly very modern and cutting edge. This is a 360-degree operation; if you want to stand in a line and wait for your coffee, you can. Or, you can belly on up to the white marble bar and order your cappuccino just like you'd order a cocktail. If you can nab a barstool, you can settle in and chat with the baristas, get cozy with a book, or merely sit back and witness the ballet of coffee production as it unfolds before your eyes.
As the saying goes, one must "learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist," and it's as true for coffee as it is for anything else. Before founding G&B Coffee, founders Kyle Glanville and Charles Babinski (the "G" and the "B," respectively) learned from some of the best pros while working at Intelligentsia, the famous coffee roasting company that many argue is responsible for establishing a coffee scene in Los Angeles. Armed with that solid background, they followed their dreams and ventured out on their own, starting their coffee business as a pop-up at the hugely popular Sqirl. Their popularity exploded, and within months, they had opened not one but two coffee bars in Los Angeles - first G&B in a stall in Grand Central Market, then Go Get 'Em Tiger in cozy Larchmont Village. Both locations are setting the standard for great coffee in Los Angeles, and G&B's recent redesign also sets it apart as a beautiful, functional, and unique space that attracts locals and tourists alike.
It's not just good looks and cool vibes at G&B - they're backing it up with some seriously delicious coffee and treats, too. The shop rotates between coffee beans from a variety of different roasters (49th Parallel, Heart, and Ritual, to name a few), frequently considering new options through blind taste testing to ensure they're choosing the most delicious option. They're also sticklers for milk quality, offering only whole milk or their house-made almond macadamia nut milk. The menu features creative, seasonally-rotating offerings as well, including the "Business and Pleasure" and the "Espresso Dark & Stormy." While sister shop Go Get Em Tiger serves up full-on breakfast and lunch, G&B offers a pared down menu that's mouthwatering nonetheless - I watched the staff cook up a few of the yeasted waffles, and they were torturously beautiful. And don't get me started on the gorgeous chocolate chip cookies.
Now, on to the main event - my cappuccino, which to my delight was served in a simple little glass so that beautiful separation of coffee and foam was visible for all to see. Its body was creamy and smooth, with a luscious velvety texture (thanks to that aforementioned excellent whole milk). The flavor was delicate and understated. At the beginning of the taste, it was a bit fruity, reminding me of black currant, and at the end it rounded out to a mellow toasty flavor. Topped with some gorgeous latte art, this was a really lovely cup of coffee!
And because we're also homemade almond milk enthusiasts, we had to sample something with their fresh-daily almond macadamia nut milk. We went for the Turmeric Almond Macadamia, which was beautifully creamy and warming, slightly sweet with a satisfying hit of spice. The milk itself is excellent - it's a must-try if you're a fan of almond milk.
In a sea of overwhelming options, with the flurry of color and neon lights, the cacophony of loud conversations and music, and of course, a few painfully long lines (I'm lookin' at you, Eggslut), G&B Coffee is an island of simplicity, serenity, and of course, great coffee - the perfect spot to stop and calm your overstimulated nerves.
G&B Coffee - 317 S Broadway #C19, Los Angeles, CA 90013