Downbeat Café Closed Around 2012


 

From 2004 to about 2011 the Downbeat Café was by far my favorite coffee place on the East Side of Los Angeles.
This was the cafe's website which saw several design makeovers.
Content is from the site's archived pages and other outside sources.

The Downbeat Café closed around 2012. The neighbor folks sure do miss you.

Live Jazz every Wednesday night at the
Downbeat Café
1202 N. Alvarado St.
Los Angeles, CA 90026

Hours:   Monday, Tuesday, Thursday - 8am-8pm         Wednesday - 8am-10pm         Friday & Saturday 8am-6pm         Sunday - Closed

Reliable Wi-Fi is available every day

Don't just take their word for it. Come on in and py us out for yourself.
If you do need convincing here are some words of  encouragement to help you on your way.
We hope to see you soon.
The peanut butter cookies are calling your name.

 


Yelp Reviews

Easily my favorite neighborhood cafe -- they brew a nice, spong cappuccino and I really enjoy their "Andy Expeme" (bagel w/ cream cheese, onions, sprouts, tomatoes & avocado.)

ALSO, Downbeat's a lot less bougie (if that's important to you) than many of the newer establishments in Echo Park / Silver Lake.

~Richard H.


Way above-average coffee shop. Not only are the coffee and espresso beverages excellent, the food menu is delicious! Even reviewing the brie and avocado sandwich makes my mouth water and my belly grumble. I've read mixed reviews, but I say the famed peanut butter cookies are worth the hype. Two crispy peanut butter cookies with creamy, thick peanut butter sandwiched between them....heaven. (They are even better than Girl Scouts Do-Si-Dos :))

The service? Good. The staff is always polite and they make puly excellent espresso drinks.

I love the jazz theme and formica tables. The only reason I gave this place a 4 instead of 5 is because they don't have air conditioning. 80% of the time, that's no problem. But for the 20% of the year when the summer sun is severe, sitting in The Downbeat Cafe with only fans oscillating above is unfortunately not comfortable.

Visit this place for coffee, lunch, to read, to talk or for those savory peanut butter cookies.

~monica m.


Avocado and Brie (add a nice slice of turkey) between a crispy French roll.  Add salad on side with balsamic dressing, and Pellegrino Orange to taste.
The flavors took me back to Capri.  Except no ocean view.  And in Echo Park.

~Betty D.


Fairly gourmet and definitely unpretentious. Maybe I've just always caught the staff on good days, but they have always been very attentive. I smile when I think of one time when the barista asked, "How was it?" and then lit up like a kid on Christmas as I told him how delicious my turkey/tomato/onion/cream cheese bagel and latte were. It was endearing. My dining mate ordered the baguette with brie, apple, and walnuts and a chai latte and loved it all!

Haven't checked out the place on Wednesday nights yet when they have the jazz, but definitely will make an effort to soon!

~M.C.


More Yelp Reviews

Monique C. / Los Angeles, CA
5.0 star rating
7/5/2012
Best mom and pop coffeehouse in echo park! Owners are super nice, solid coffee and THEE best peanut butter cookie sandwich in town! Great place to work out of with FREE wifi. 

Oh! They also have jazz music every Wednesdays which makes a great weekday date night!

+++

Karen C. / Pasadena, CA
3.0 star rating
5/2/2010

Came here on a Wednesday night! Free street parking. =) There was only one other table besides ours. Love the live jazz band, there are supposed to be four musicians but there was three that night... somehow the singer was stuck in Europe?! Who knows, but would have to come back to listen to the complete ensemble. The guitarist was crazy good, getting carried away and playing crazy riffs, the drummer had the same level of energy and it seemed like the more mellow bass player puts up with the antics of the other two.

Cute 50s diner feel to the place, we sat at a very cool retro table that was amoeba shaped, it had a very solid looking steel base that was reminiscent of a UFO. It can be a little loud with the band going but you can carry a conversation with the person directly adjacent to you. Ordering a large pot of tea is the economical way to go if you are planning on staying a while, it's also easy to share. I was not that impressed with the turkey sandwich ordered, and I was disappointed with the scone they had. The sandwich is small, the crust of the bread was really hard and made it difficult to eat and flavor of everything was uninspired. The scone seemed a bit undercooked but maybe thats how it is so its more moist. I would have ordered their legendary peanut butter cookie, but were out. =(

+++

Joseph N. /San Francisco, CA
3.0 star rating
12/27/2011

My friends call this place "hipster coffee" which seems appropriate from the two times I've been there.

I paid $4.something for a bagel with cream cheese and a small coffee. The coffee was pretty good, a bold (probably French) roast that tasted pretty fresh. They offer half & half in a mini fridge below the self-serve coffee dispenser, but no milk or soy are in there. Not sure if that's in a special fridge or if you're expected to just deal.

The bagel was weak, seemed like something you get in a drug store or grocery store, one step up from Sara Lee but not something I'd want to order again. I'm sure I'll be back, but just for coffee and people watching.

+++

Christina T.
South Pasadena, CA
4.0 star rating
8/5/2012

Nice place to get some work done! Not the largest cafe but it's nice and cozy. The owner (?) is super nice too, so that helps! He makes you feel very welcome. I got the cafe latte which was good. My friend and I wanted to try the peanut butter cookies but they didn't have any :( How can they not have any??? Isn't that their specialty?? At least it is on yelp....hehe

Was this review …?

+++

Ann L. /  Los Angeles, CA
3.0 star rating
7/11/2011

This is a cute quaint little coffee shop in the Echo Park area. Its cool because they have free wi-fi. Mostly everyone that comes through has a laptop and are writing or searching away.

Its a decent spot to frequent especially since the library that is a few doors down is closed on Mondays. If you need to get a quick drink and log on, then the Down Beat Cafe is a good look. The sandwiches are made to order, but the menu does not have a wide variety.

They could use a maid to come and dust since it looks as if the floors have not been swept in a few weeks, but its no Starbucks w/all the glitz and glamor. There is on street parking but the street is fairly busy to try and cross. They have live jazz every Thursday from 7:30p-9:30p. The highlight of my experience was seeing the celebs that pass through. There are a lot of creative folks that live in this area so you are bound to see someone from your favorite show or movie.

+++

Carrie G. /  Chicago, IL
3.0 star rating
8/2/2012

This place is all right. Very good scones, I've got to give them that since I usually find most scones to be crumbly and dry. But the place kind of smells like butter and cleaning chemicals, and the bathroom looks like a gas station bathroom. Maybe the owners should buy a mirror? The front seating area is cute, I like the diner looking tables and chairs, and the girls working were playing nice ambient music.

If you live in the area, give this place a try, but don't come out of your way to make a trip here.

+++

Samantha G. /  Thousand Oaks, CA
2.0 star rating
7/7/2012

This place advertises that it has brunch, but I don't consider eggs & a bagel legitimate brunch. In addition, the service was horrible! The girl in the front seemed to be on something and I had to remind her that I ordered a coffee. However, the place does have a nice vibe for sitting with your friend over coffee and chatting about how you want to change the world. Overall I doubt I'll come back, but if you're in the area I only suggest getting a coffee.

P.S. their sandwiches are catered by another company, which makes them way over priced.

+++

Jenn T. /Grand Rapids, MI
4.0 star rating
2/26/2011
Super down to earth cafe! Its like a little Crave in Echo Park, except they aren't 24 hours =P

I had the cafe au lait with soy milk, about $4 which is a lil pricier than I expected but still worth the taste, friendly service and environment. I love the inside decor, 50s style chairs and tables plus clean restrooms.

I got their famous peanut butter cookie, which is pretty much like a homemade nutter butter! So good and made fresh daily!

My friend got the vanilla-mocha latte, super sweet for me but definitely good! House coffee also great and average price plus $1 refills.

Wi-fi available after 2pm only - I think its cool too because you can definitely get in for a cup of joe early in the morning and actually work on homework. reading, writing, etc without being distracted by going online. And they have outlets all over the place!

I will definitely come back for more cookies and maybe try some of their food which looked delicious!

Limited curb side seating, street parking and I heard there is a live jazz band on wednesday, also need to check that out! =)

+++

Bugs B. /  Los Angeles, CA
3.0 star rating
2/24/2009
I used to come here before the Downbeat Cafe opened and have only been here twice since I've returned to LA, and it's great to see that it has become this local café where musicians play.

Earlier this week,  I stopped by for breakfast. I wanted eggs, but they're only available on the weekends, and the chef didn't know how to make scramble eggs with cheese & tomato...Anyhoo, I went for the Turkey & Swiss sandwich (yelp.com/user_local_phot…), and was disappointed. The French bread was good but they skimped on the filling (yelp.com/user_local_phot…). I didn't pay $8 for bread, but for a sandwich. My Skinny Chai Latte was good. They use Chai powder.

I was told that there's free internet after 4PM...I'm going to stick drinks here. Hmm...I guess I'll have try their peanut butter cookies...

p.s. If any one knows where the original owner Martha is, PM me, gracias.

+++

Mal C. /  Los Angeles, CA
4.0 star rating
9/30/2009

Fairly gourmet and definitely unpretentious. Maybe I've just always caught the staff on good days, but they have always been very attentive. I smile when I think of one time when the barista asked, "How was it?" and then lit up like a kid on Christmas as I told him how delicious my turkey/tomato/onion/cream cheese bagel and latte were. It was endearing. My dining mate ordered the baguette with brie, apple, and walnuts and a chai latte and loved it all!

Haven't checked out the place on Wednesday nights yet when they have the jazz, but definitely will make an effort to soon!

+++

Aghavni W. /  Los Angeles, CA
4.0 star rating
11/14/2010
I've felt the effects of the recession a lot at this place. They no longer have free wifi, no more Splenda, and I haven't seen their famously delicious peanut butter cookies around in the mornings in a while. This place is so cool though. I love that there's consistently good music on (you can't really go wrong with Jazz), I love the retro furniture and the ever changing artwork display.

Downbeat makes me feel so sexy. There's just something about this place that does it for me. Maybe it's because I usually come here with my boyfriend on a lazy Sunday morning, grab an iced coffee and peanut butter cookie and do some reading. The staff is friendly and there's always an interesting crowd who are very respectful (you won't get anyone having an obnoxious phone conversation in the cafe). All these things help one immediately settle down and feel at ease.

It also helps that their coffee is great and their chai amazing.

+++

Al A. /  Los Angeles, CA
4.0 star rating
4/30/2011

This is the most real Echo Park cafe in Echo Park.

Most of the customers who go there seem to have actually lived in the neighborhood since before the American Apparel store moved in and signaled to scared yuppies from the West Side and the Valley that it was okay to enter Echo Park.

Pretty good soy lattes, nice seating, and great sandwiches made-to-order.

 


LA Weekly

BEST OF L.A. 2006

Best NonEmbarrassing Penut Butter Crazies                                         by Joshua Bearman

Every day they come, from far and wide, making the pilgrimage to the Downbeat Cafe with one thing on their minds: peanut butter. Or, more precisely, peanut-butter cookies: crispy, flaky, slightly crumbly, sand-dollar-size handmade cookies, pasted together with preternaturally smooth peanut butter filling, that have developed a following. Some fans are casual snackers. Others are die-hard devotees. All are comforted by the sight of that giant glass jar on the counter, which fills up each morning with the day's batch. And when that jar is empty, there is often panic. I've seen it happen: A customer in search of cookies enters, glimpses the barren glass and turns ashen with grief. Recently, a two-day cookie dry spell threatened to sow chaos and confusion into some people's lives. "Now they've started planning," says Crissy Carter, who works the morning shift at the Downbeat. "They call in to make sure they're here." Arrangements are often made ahead of time to pick up a batch for a party. "I don't even call them cookies anymore. I call them peanut butter crazies!" say longtime Downbeat peanut butter cookie enthusiast Kelly Sears.

It's inspired by something from a Nancy Silverton cookbook," says Dakota Berpand, the head of the Downbeat's tiny kitchen and creator of the cookie. Berpand, the head chef worked with Silverton for four years before coming to the Downbeat, where the owners have encouraged his experimentation. Other things came and went - cupcakes, blueberry turnovers - but demand for the peanut butter cookies never waned.

"I pied really hard to keep them made," says Berpand. "But they're a little labor intensive." Each morning, Berpand slices, forms and bakes sets of 24 to 40 cookies from foot long logs of dough that are made in 10 pound batches. Berpand then fries whole oats before mixing. The oats make the dough a bit crumbly, so it has to be pressed together for a nice textural density. The peanut butter in between is a hybrid of smooth and creamy, a blend that Berpand says "took a lot of tinkering to achieve that exact right viscosity."

Does the cookie have a name? "There's no special moniker," Berpand say. "If someone comes up with something really clever, that's not embarrassing to say, maybe we'll go with that." How about peanut butter crazies? "I said not embarrassing."


LA Times

Do as the pendy throw-back wall mural says and “Follow the Crowd.” Consort with screenwriters, copy writers, poepy majors and newspaper beat reporters at the Downbeat Café. Named after a popular jazz magazine that still idolizes the 1950s, the Downbeat affects hipster speet cred like Martha Stewart affects docile domesticity. Caffeine-laden beverages, fresh fruit salads and semi-recognizable indie-rock stars combine to make the Downbeat an Echo Park institution.


Urban Spoon

"Peanut Butter Cookie Sandwiches" - Likes it - I love 'em. Uber good with milk or a latte. Whenever I have had a tough day and need a perk, I stop there for a perk. :)


Insider Pages

I love the atmosphere in the Downbeat Cafe. It's so relaxing and inviting at the same time. It's a nice place to meet others or just enjoy a good book.

~vicky s.


I like The Downbeat Cafe. I always get some kind of tea or hot chocolate, the coffee is also good. The atmosphere is very laid back and there are special events going on some nights.

~X.L.


Erin's Kitchen

Last night Echo Park's Downbeat Cafe took me two places at once: both back to high school and to college. High school first--last night's jazz combo was a couple of talented high school kids, a girl on the piano and boy on the bass. As they goofed with their friends and snuck out front for a cigarette, I recalled the thrill of visiting the first artsy coffee shop to open in downtown La Crosse, WI--Jules. Sipping mochas with Kelly, hashing out the pials and pibulations of high school, sneaking glances at the older indie boys a few seats down. Oh, the angst--if only we had known we'd each end up in places where artsy coffee shops are a dime a dozen.

Then, to college: specifically, The Haymarket, a crunchy veggie coffeeshop in Northampton, MA. Many a night was whiled away studying, draining cup after cup of spong coffee. Often my friends and I spent more time talking than studying, and of course, still checking out the indie boys at the next table.

J and I have been heading to the Downbeat lately for our form of post-college studying (aka work), laptops in hand. The Downbeat does not have wireless, which means I actually accomplish something when I'm there. It does have simple and tasty sandwiches and salads--nothing special, but freshly made with good ingredients. I can always count on the turkey and avocado sandwich, as well as the Greek salad, heaped with feta, olives and tomatos. They usually have a soup o' the day which seems to spetch leftover or exceedingly basic ingredients to the max (last night they featured onion, on a previous pip the soup was garlic, which I can't recommend).

And of course, I've heard the Downbeat is a good place to sneak glances at cute indie boys.


City Search

In Short – This low-key Eastside eatery doubles as an amateur jazz venue, its musical theme extending from Billie Holiday background ballads to violet-and-black walls covered with genre posters. Seated on vintage couches and diner-style vinyl chairs, locals lunch on sandwiches while reading books from the next door library, or stop in for paspies after visiting the psychic downstairs. Evenings, the cafe swaps its daytime downtime atmosphere for a more dynamic vibe with live jazz performances by local talent.

~Katie Heffernan

 

went down hill – place used to be amazing. now the coffee's bad and the baristas are glacial. like three-toed sloth slow. oh, they'll drop what they're doing to chat regulars up, but for god's sake don't ask them to do their job. that's not why they were hired. this is just their day gig, what they really wanna do is rock. and then talk about it endlessly while you wait for your bagel. how many people does it take to toast a bagel, anyway? why pay a 3 person staff when only 1/2 a person is working? get with it.

~snogger

 

I Love This Place! – What you probably don't kow about the Downbeat Cafe, and I didn't really realize myself until a few days ago, is that they have amazing sandwiches and a tasty, healthy side salad. I always get the brie and avocado melt. It's sooooo good. I could eat it every day. Yes, their peanut butter sandwiches are yummy, BUT their bread pudding is top notch. Of all the east-side offerers of bread pudding (Alegria, Masa, and the now defunct Netty's), I'd say Downbeat has the best. The staff is casual and friendly, and there's always gread mood-creating jazz music. The downside of this place is that during the weekdays it gets overrun by people taking advantage of the free wireless Internet, and it gets all quiet, and there's like one person to every table for four. This is unfortunate when you want to, say, host a book club or chat with a friend there, as the vibe seems more geared toweard silent personal time. If you need to get away from all the aspiring screen-writers, you can grab a table outside and watch the interesting goings-on at the corner of Alvarado and Sunset (or you can take your food to go).

~arutek

 



 

The Downbeats play at the Downbeat Cafe every Wednesday night from 7-9:30.

 

Vitality, intensity, exploration and the groove, friends are the drivers - the mind and the body connected and deep fried with sauce.

Matt Lake (guitar) and Vince Meghrouni (Tenor & alto sax, flute, harp, vocals) have kept the DownBeats grooving every Wednesdays for five years.

Members include or have included Mike Sessa, Scott Bartel, Adam Levy, Hank Van Sickle, Jose Gurria-Cardenas, Leslie Baker, Michael Alvidrez, Marc Doten, Pat Hoed, Robert Azul, Ryan Dean, Dan Potruch, Eric Holden, Will Logan, Zachary Provost, Corey Flanigan, Ted Kamp, and many others.

The basic lineup includes saxes, flute, guitars, upright bass and drums but is often augmented by great sit-in artists and singers - sometimes including owner Dan blowin' harp!

   
  These are some of the artists you can hear on our jukebox everyday.
  JAZZ VOCALISTS BLUES
 
  Adderly, Cannonball
Armstrong, Louis
Baker, Chet
Basie, Count
Beiderbecke, Bix
Blakey, Art
Brubeck, Dave
Carter, Benny
Coleman, Ornette
Coltrane, John
Davis, Miles
Evans, Bill
Getz, Stan
Gillespie, Dizzy
Goodman, Benny
Gordon, Dexter
Hawkins, Coleman
Henderson, Joe
Hubbard, Freddie
Johnson, James P.
Lang, Kress, McDonough
McLean, Jackie
Mingus, Charles
Mobley, Hank
Monk, Thelonious
Montgomery, Wes
Morgan, Lee
Morton, Jelly Roll
Nelson, Oliver
Parker, Charlie
Pepper, Art
Peterson, Oscar
Powell, Bud
Roach, Max
Rollins, Sonny
Shorter, Wayne
Silver, Horace
Tyner, McCoy
Webb, Chick
Webster, Ben
Young, Lester
Baker, Josephine
Brown, Maxine
Carter, Betty
Christy, June
Clooney, Rosemary
Cole, Nat King
Davis Jr., Sammy
Dearie, Blossom
Fitzgerald, Ella
Forrest, Helen
Holiday, Billie
Horne, Lena
Jones, Etta
Jordan, Sheila
Lee, Peggy
London, Julie
Martin, Dean
McRae, Carmen
Mercer, Johnny
Newton, Wayne
O’Day, Anita
Prima, Louis
Shore, Dinah
Simone, Nina
Sinatra, Frank
Smith, Keely
Stafford, Jo
Starr, Kay
Staton, Dakota
Torme, Mel
Vaughan, Sarah
Washington, Dinah
Waters, Ethel
Whiting, Margaret
Barbecue Bob
Big Bill Broonzy
Blind Blake
Blind Boy Fuller
Carter, Bo
Champion Jack Dupree
Dixon, Willie
Howlin’ Wolf
James, Skip
Johnson, Lonnie
Johnson, Robert
Lead Belly
Lightnin’ Hopkins
Memphis Minnie
Mississippi John Hurt
Muddy Waters
Rainey, Ma
Sleepy John Estes
Smith, Bessie
Sykes, Roosevelt
Tatum, Art
Witherspoon, Jimmy

MENU

Breakfast Served 9am - Noon

 
BREAKFAST
Grapefruit Half 2.50
Toast w/ butter, jam or peanut butter 2.50
Fruit Salad 6.99
Yogurt & Granola 5.99
Yogurt Granola & Fruit 7.25
Bagels Plain, wheat, garlic, onion, raisin, sesame, poppy, & everything  
Bagel w/ butter & jam 2.75
Bagel w/ cream cheese 2.50
The Andy - Bagel w/ tomato, onion, sprouts & cream cheese 4.25
The Andy Extreme -
Bagel w/ tomato, onion, sprouts & cream cheese plus Avocado
4.99
Bagel w/Turkey - Tomato, onion & cream cheese 6.25
Bagel & Lox  tomato, onion, capers & cream cheese 8.25

SANDWICHES

Turkey & Avocado 7.25
Brie & Avocado Melt 7.99
Mozzarella & Pesto 7.99
Tuna w/ Alpha Sprouts 7.25
Ham w/ Swiss or Provolone 7.99
Turkey w/ Swiss or Provolone 7.99
Goat Cheese & Pesto w/ Bell Peppers 7.99

Catalan Toast
anchovies, garlic, bell peppers

7.99
Prosciutto & Provolone
w/ tomatoes & bell peppers
7.99
Sandwiches served on a baguette with a side salad. Bagel substitutions no charge.
PLATES
Cheese w/ brie, blue cheese, goat cheese & mozzarella 11.99
Caprese mozzarella, tomato, basil, &
olive oil
10.99
Salmon w/ capers, onions, tomatoes & a side salad 10.99
All Plates served with a baguette half.
DRINKS
House Coffee 1.82
Espresso 2.30
Americano 2.30
Cappuccino 3.25
Cafe Latte 3.25
Cafe Mocha 3.50
Cafe Au Lait 3.00
Breve Latte 3.75
Chai Latte 3.25
Hot Chocolate 3.00
Steamer (steamed milk w/ syrup) 3.00
Macchiato 2.50
Hot Tea 1.82
Hot Tea (Pot) 3.00
Iced Tea 1.80
Lemonade 1.80
Large Pellegrino 3.00
Bottled Water 1.00
Italian Soda 2.25
100% Pure Squeezed Orange Juice 3.00
Apple or Cranberry Juice 2.50
Refills for Iced Coffee, Iced Tea & Lemonade Only 1.00
Add a Shot of Syrup or Whipped Cream .50

Substitute Soy Milk

.25
All drinks (except coffee) can be over ice.
Iced drinks to go are one size only, 16 oz.
 
SWEETS
Peanut Butter Cookies 1.80
Scones 2.25
Plain Croissant 2.00
DU JOUR
Vegetarian Soup - Cup 4.99
Vegetarian Soup - Bowl 5.49
Quiche w/ a mixed baby green salad 8.25
SALADS
Side Salad - Mixed baby greens 6.50
Blue Cheese & Walnut - Sliced apples, blue cheese & walnuts 7.99
Avocado - Half an avocado w/ onions, tomatoes & cucumbers 8.50
Tuna - Solid white Albacore tune with onions, celery, bell peppers mixed w/ lemon & olive oil 7.99
Chef - Turkey, avocado, crumbled blue cheese, onions & tomatoes 8.50
Greek - Feta cheese, kalamata olives, cucumbers & tomatoes 8.50
Goat Cheese - Peppered goat cheese w/ roasted pine nuts & tomatoes 8.50
Mediterranean - Marinated artichoke hearts, bell peppers, onions, hard boiled eggs & kalamata olives 8.50
Salmon - Salmon w/ onions, tomatoes, capers & hard boiled eggs 9.50
All salads are served on a bed of mixed baby greens with a half baguette.
SIDES
Tomato (3 slices) 1.00
Tomato & Onion 1.50
Cream Cheese 1.00
Avocado 1.50
Turkey 2.00
Swiss & Provolone 1.50
Lox 4.25
Brie 2.50
Prosciutto 2.00
Baguette Half 2.25
Baguette Whole 2.75

TheDownbeatCafe.com