Best Coffeehouse (1999)

Warehaus 57

A true coffeehouse is more than just a purveyor of caffeinated refreshments, it's a community center. Since Lauren Tellman set up a coffee counter in her fashion-design studio four years ago, Warehaus 57 has evolved into a haunt for Hollywood's artistic residents. On a recent Saturday night, FIU professor Lynne Barrett read a short story about an Elvis impersonator from her book, The Secret Names of Women, as Tellman covered her mosaic tabletops with complimentary dumplings, cheeses, and pastries. For act two attention shifted from the back of the New York-style railroad space to the stage in the front window, where the band A Kite Is a Victim played ambient melodies. Young couples, aging hippies, and seniors paused outside to watch and listen. Some wandered through the store, bemused by Warehaus 57's eclectic contents: thrift store knickknacks; packets of incense; used books on film and femininity, decorating and dogs; magazines from Black Book to High Times; and Tellman's chainlink corsets and googly-eyed bustiers. Others stopped at the long wood counter to order a cappuccino with Illy, a rich, smooth Italian espresso that Tellman patiently layers with frothy milk. Mellower regulars might be satisfied with the zesty simplicity of Herbal Orange Spice, setting the tea on a wagon-wheel table while sinking into a book or plotting a revolution.


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