There's no shabby chic at Jumpin' Java Cafe, which opened in March next to the upscale Wine Bistro restaurant in Studio City, just around the corner from CBS. There are no slipcovered mauve or purple couches, no velvet drapes, no crackle-painted tables to park your bowls of coffee upon.
It's simply a small, coffee-oriented cafe that began offering live acoustic music on the weekends just a month ago. It's young, but it already has grabbed a loyal local clientele, including one couple who have taken their evening coffee there almost every night since the place opened.
THE SCENE: Umbrella-shaded tables litter the sidewalk in front of J.J's Ventura Boulevard address. On a Saturday night at 10 p.m., good-looking, twenty-something couples lean toward each other over steaming cups, their conversations drowned in boulevard sounds. A group of friends sip iced mochas and share desserts. A pair of wide French doors are swung open, allowing those outside to enjoy the music, and letting those inside share the breeze.
THE CROWD: Owner Roland Shany, a 24-year-old graduate of Cal State Northridge, says the age range varies. On this night, it's a younger crowd, composed mostly of half a dozen girlfriends of Sloane Heller, a sophomore on summer vacation from UC Berkeley and an off-duty waitress at the cafe, and musician friends of the night's entertainment, 31-year-old guitarist-songwriter David Moore of San Fernando.
THE GOOD: Moore's voice has a rich, creamy quality befitting a mellow coffeehouse. He's worth coming to hear, and on many cover tunes, he's joined by various musicians. You might look up from a cafe au lait , for instance, to see a cellist, a violinist, or another guitarist or two playing along. The coffee is hot and fresh, and the cafe offers a range of pasta entrees--priced under $8--gourmet sandwiches for under $5, salads and tasty soups.
THE BAD: Nothing substantive to report. One suggestion: Moore should play more originals. The two he played were captivating, and most of us would rather hear something new instead of Kansas' "Dust in the Wind."
THE WORD: "We come here because it's open late (until 1 a.m.), it's comfortable, and everybody's friendly," said Linda Quan, 32, of Toluca Lake. Quan and her friend, Ken Ninomiya, 31, of Studio City, boast that they were among Shany's first customers--and remain two of the steadiest. "It's just a nice place to come after working late, to relax," Quan said.
Jumpin' Java Cafe, 11919 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, (818) 980-4249. Open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. seven days a week. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Comedy on Wednesday nights beginning at 9:30 p.m., live acoustic music starting at 9:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturday. Checkers, chess, cards, Plato and Dostoevsky available.