Gum Tree is a cozy café and shop just a few blocks away from the Hermosa Beach Pier. Founded by an Australian and Angeleno married couple, the friendly rustic café echoes those native to the ‘land down under’. The cafe boasts organic fare where you can order Vegemite for your toast just as readily as Nutella. They even have an Aussie specialty called Milo, a cacao-based beverage. With its adjoining boutique, the Gum Tree serves as a great detour from the pier path.
This open-air café continues Hermosa Beach’s cultural exploration with a French-inspired theme. Café Bonaparte sits directly on the pier, with outdoor seating that allows for shameless people-watching while enjoying a warm crème brûlée. Their menu even pays homage to its shorefront heritage by naming three iced coffees after each of the Beach Cities. The Hermosa Ave has a touch of hazelnut syrup that feels like the perfect caffeine oasis on a SoCal summer day.
Move north along Pacific Coast Highway just above Hermosa and you’ll find yourself in bustling Manhattan Beach. Not as close to the oceanfront as some other bistros but North End Caffe is still worth the short distance from the shore. This dining gem was featured on a Food Network show for its Kahlua Pig Egg Rolls, though the owner’s Italian sabbatical is noted in many of the other dining options. The Medici and Capri espressos take on a gourmet twist with added citrus zest. North End Caffe caters separately to each meal of the day, so there’s sure to be something to satisfy an empty stomach no matter what time you pop in.
Made to resemble a traditional beach shack, Two Guns Espresso Café in Manhattan Beach perfects the art of simplicity. Clean lines dominate the indoor décor while brightly colored juice offerings border the counter. The coffee menu itself consists of only a few staple items yet word of mouth consistently celebrates their Flat White. Lounging in one of the tangerine-colored stools on their shaded porch with a cold-pressed coffee is the ideal way to catch a refreshing breeze of salty air.
The southernmost of the Beach Cities, Redondo Beach has more of a small town feel than some of the other oceanside dwellings. ‘Big’ is definitely the idea at Catalina Coffee Co., with giant board games and coffee mugs practically begging customers to sink into a comfy armchair. Yet it maintains a cozy feel with its welcoming fireplace and floor to ceiling bookshelves. Catalina Coffee Co. manages to blend coffee house with beach culture for an especially inviting experience.