Coffee Commissary: A Screenwriter’s Best Distraction

Tcho chocolate chip cookie at Coffee Commissary. (Photo: C.)
Tcho chocolate chip cookie at Coffee Commissary. (Photo: C.)

If there is a quintessential work-in-LA cafe list, Coffee Commissary, at least one of its three locations, should be on it. The one on Fairfax is an older branch, housed on the ground floor of an apartment complex, and it’s almost never not packed with laptop jockeys.

Coffee Commissary Fairfax is a Westside spot, and by that we don’t just mean in geography. Scan the laptops out and open, and you’ll spot at least two scripts on screen, hewing to that stereotype of (too) many folks in LA either writing a script or having finished one. (Note: Based mostly on empiricism, LA stereotypes seem to come to life with greater frequency on the Westside. Head east, or even south-ish, and you notice enough portraits that paint a whole different set of stories.)

It can nonetheless be an inspiring space to work in for aspiring screenwriters. Even if you don’t end up putting down more than 10 lines of dialogue, you’ll probably vibe from being surrounded by likeminded strangers.

Cross your fingers for an open spot outside if you’re vulnerable to aural distractions, otherwise you’ll end up trying too hard to concentrate. Coffee Commissary Fairfax plays its music in two settings: loud and louder. It’s made more stark by the largely concrete and steel interior, letting sound bounce a bit overmuch. So prepared to be almost defiant in your capacity to focus amidst the soul vocal stylings of Ohio Players.

Unlike its newer location in Burbank, the Fairfax one doesn’t offer any hot food. A more than decent selection of nonstandard takes on typical café snacks include Asian pear Danishes, Tcho chocolate chip cookies, gluten-free olive oil chocolate chip cookies, 9-grain muffins and autumn fruit cups.

Coffee Commissary: 801 North Fairfax Avenue #106, Los Angeles; (323) 782-1465. [map]

Ambiance: Loud. There is no aural respite from the best of the ’60s and ’70s — so loud that you’ll have to raise a few octaves just to have a proper convo.
Amenities: Password-protected wifi. One unisex restroom. Metered street parking. A few outlets alongside the concrete wall.
Drink/Food: A short list of coffee drinks made with beans from a handful of artisanal roasters like Coava. Housemade cookies and buttery pastries. Salted caramel rice crispies.