[Quick note: Our apologies to readers. Our main writer took a break from posts to recover from wrist injuries.]
Pasadena has never had a shortage of cafés. Well, that is, enough to set up for a half day of reading.
Up until five years ago, if you’re a laptop jockey in search of pour over coffee with solid wifi and perhaps an outlet or two, you’d have to run with a corporatized chain, almost always crammed with students from CalTech or PCC. A café with a combo of good food, coffee, wifi and plenty of seats was rare.
It’s not that there weren’t any alternatives, but you’d come across one with turnout that never quite reached the level to prevent its inevitable shutter. (There was a super cute café on Fair Oaks with an outdoor patio. Before this, there was a café on Raymond with enough outlets and spots to offset its mildly bad coffee, spotty wifi and nebulous religious affiliations.)
Popping up about two years or so ago, Float Pasadena on Lake Avenue is a mostly outdoor café that gives locals a needed option outside of chains. Situated at the back of a West European-style arcade, it’s opted for an interpreted Americana throwback.
And so, Float makes good on its name. They have a menu of ice cream floats classic and seasonal. Come summer time, they run a weekly float series that pairs the fizzy icy treat with showings of family friendly film favorites like Princess Bride and Up.
By location and by design, the café gives a certain fantastical vibe. You know you’re in Pasadena and yet you might feel like you’re elsewhere — maybe a remote town where local bistros trump fast food chains and women dress like they’ve stepped out of an Anthropologie catalog.
You can probably do your best daydreaming or sharpest brainstorming here between ambiance, stacked deli-like sandwiches and coffee drinks constructed with your choice of beans. It provides for a retreat of sorts — another reason, however fanciful, why it befits its name.
Float Pasadena: 380 S. Lake Ave #106, Pasadena; (626) 844-3488.
Ambiance: Often subdued, conducive to an afternoon of musing with a pen and paper or juiced up laptop.
Amenities: Unlimited wifi. One outlet inside. Public restroom slightly off-site.
Drink/Food: Pour over coffee made with your choice of beans. A small, but impressive menu of made-to-order sandwiches. Ice cream floats made of ingredients from small batch producers, featuring more unique flavors like lavender soda poured over lemon custard ice cream and topped with a honey drizzle.