The Talking Stick is an independent coffee shop on Ocean Park that hosts a different event every night of the week. I hate that about most of the coffee shops around here. What if I want to talk, or read, in relative quiet after work? I'm SOL. Literati Cafe is blissfully event-free, but it's not usually quiet and it's too big and shiny to have that authentic coffee shop feel. Cacao is also eventless, but there you might have to deal with hostile, black-garbed smoker types.
One of my friends is a die-hard knitter (and awfully good at it, too) so I went with her to the Talking Stick one night to check out her Stitch 'n' Bitch group. The Talking Stick has a cool pillow room where you can sit on the floor and surround yourself with a mishmash of pillows. Very cozy, if you don't mind that many a person has been there before you.
Pre-event, The Talking Stick was blissfully quiet, except for the buzz of the lights hanging from the installed ceiling. I ordered a Greek salad, which was quite good. It used regular black olives, not kalamata olives. I emailed them about it later, and the guy who responded said he'd never heard of them, but he'd keep it in mind. So if you see kalamata olives there, that was me!
No matter who is working, they're always incredibly friendly, which is so much better than the pervasive rudeness and indifference that we so commonly deal with in LA.
I also had a blended mocha, which I really enjoyed. It had a strong coffee flavor and wasn't overly sweet like the drinks at major coffee chains. Actually, I didn't even realize how insanely sweet those drinks are until I had this one. The latte couldn't stand up to a Seattle latte, though--too much air in the foam and not enough oomph in the brew.
Once the knitters arrived, well, 20 women gabbing predictably raised the volume quite a bit. Had I not been a part of the group, I probably would have been pretty annoyed.
Overall, I adore The Talking Stick. Its friendly employees, quiet atmosphere, and cozy decor transport me out of the chaotic superficiality of LA and into a world where I actually feel at ease. I would go before 7:00 PM though to enjoy the quiet. They also have free WiFi.
The Talking Stick
1630 Ocean Park Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90405
Talking Stick Website
Other Area Coffee Shop Reviews:
18th Street Coffee House