Intelligentsia Venice Preview and Photos

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Behind Intelligentsia’s massive wooden gate, Venetians will soon find specialty coffee secrets.

In December, I reported what to expect from Intelligentsia Venice. Last Friday, Intelligentsia Coffee Director of Innovation Kyle Glanville led me on a tour of the Venice construction site with barista Ryan Willbur and company technical specialist Nick Barnett. It may be hard to imagine based on the following photos, but Intelligentsia founder Doug Zell and Glanville should open the company’s cutting-edge Westside branch by early March.

Glanville expected Intelligentsia Venice to open this month in the former Scentiments flower shop, but there was a construction delay. They discovered 30% of the wood in the walls was rotten. Intelligentsia made the structural improvements. Now it will be a quick build-out. After all, Ana Henton of MASS Architecture & Design and partner Gregory Williams designed the coffeehouse to revolve around four custom-fabricated “pods.” The structure itself certainly isn’t incidental, but it’s not the focal point. For further explanation, see the previous post. Join me on a tour of Intelligentsia Venice, beginning on Abbot Kinney Boulevard.

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Imagine ivy-lined walls and tiered seating along Intelligentsia Venice’s entryway.

Live ivy walls that follow the trajectory of the sun will cover off-white stucco walls in this entryway. The ivy will grow on chain-link. Four stalks will host white globe lights at the top. Tiered bench seating and bench tables will run along the right wall. A plateau of incandescent lights will cast a glow over customers.

It will be a natural transition from the sidewalk to the frameless glass-fronted doors that signify the entrance. A King James sized guest book will be mounted on a podium for people to sign in.

Here’s a view of the coffeehouse from the glass-fronted doors. Time to use your imagination. As soon as you enter, a barista will greet you at a butcher block counter, which will host Anisette croissants. Glanville would also like to see two muffins and a scone, but he’s not sure where he’ll source them from yet. He’s also not positive where the gelato will come from for the affogatos. Underneath the front counter, there will be a rolling chilled sushi case that will hold nighttime tarts.

Moving front to back, the left and right walls will feature scaffold-like shelving to support banks of coffee bags. Further back on the left, shelves will house retail grinders and brewers.

A concrete floor will lead to concrete steps and a concrete landing in back. You’ll find a stack of cushions. Just grab one and take a seat. A roll-up door in back is designed for deliveries and to provide circulation. Out back, the city is currently building a metered parking lot, which will house well over 100 parking spaces.

The high ceilings will continue to house four skylights, two up front and two in back. Expect dimmable lighting inside. The ceiling, exposed ducts and walls will all be painted white.

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Kyle Glanville expects DJs to rain down beats on Intelligentsia Venice customers on weekends.

On Friday and Saturday nights, customers will be treated to spinning from the DJ booth above the kitchen. “I wanted to do a turntable in Silver Lake and everybody laughed at me,” says Glanville. “I always thought it was a nice touch.”

As for the coffee, there’s a chance Intelligentsia might not stock decaf. “It’s very difficult for decaf to be delicious,” says Glanville. “We want everything to be delicious.” As a result, skim milk is out, but customers will find 2%, whole and soy milk.


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

Blog Comments

[…] Coffee & Tea’s latest location, currently under construction in Los Angeles’ Venice Beach. The concept includes featuring five different stations where five separate baristas personally […]


He Wishes His Decaf Were Dead « Brave Little Roaster

[…] Beach is going to introduce some radical new concepts. Tucked way at the end of Food GPS’s latest report, Kyle casually alludes to the chance they may not be carrying decaffeinated coffee there. […]

[…] Well, the wait is nearly over: after a few construction delays, Intelligentsia’s groundbreaking Venice location is scheduled to officially open its doors in March, featuring four innovative custom-fabricated service “pods” designed by MASS Architecture & Design, and even a DJ booth above the kitchen (pictured above). For more info and images of the build-out, visit Food GPS. […]

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