Santa Monica’s best coffee spots

Aside from being a popular beach destination, Santa Monica is also home to several cafes ideal for a post-sunbathing cooldown, a sun-kissed study spot or a quick caffeine fix. Prices run slightly cheaper than downtown, and many have a stunning ocean view. Here’s a short list of coffeeshops for your next venture to the coastal city.

Bluestone Lane

631 Wilshire Blvd.

Santa Monica, CA 90401

Hours: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily

The Grind: An Australian coffee shop, Bluestone Lane has slowly opened locations along the East and West Coasts, rivaling Blue Bottle in its international presence. It offers coffee bean subscriptions online, and is known for its “flat whites,” served in iconic blue cups.

The Cream: Bluestone is much more than a coffee shop — its menu includes cocktails and beers as well as a variety of toasts. The front outdoor seating features a wall that displays rows of potted plants, and its location next to a park also provides a burst of greenery.

The Roast: Though the cafe’s light wood furnishings lend it an open atmosphere, its backless benches can get very uncomfortable after a few hours. The table and chair height ratios aren’t ergonomically conducive, either, and regulars can be seen hunched over laptops.

Sidecar Doughnuts & Coffee

631 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Hours: Monday — Thursday: 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Friday — Saturday: 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Sunday: 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The Grind: More of a donut shop than a cafe, Sidecar offers fresh and novel offerings all day, changing their menu up regularly. Donuts are baked throughout the day in small batches. Beyond standard coffee offerings, the beverage menu is limited, but on the cheaper end — a latte runs only $4.25 here.

The Cream: Nothing goes better with a strong cup of black coffee than a freshly baked donut. Sidecar also excels in presentation — its bright white donut boxes are ornamented with its logo in gold calligraphy. Donuts ordered “for dine-in” are laid on asymmetrical white plates.

The Roast: Because of the nature of small batch baking, some donuts don’t quite hit baking standards, and some customers are served slightly under or over baked donuts. However, the staff is very accommodating, and subpar donuts are readily replaced with new ones.