In the pre-laptop era, Hemingway penned "The Sun Also Rises" at La Closerie des Lilas in Paris. Dorothy Parker held court at New York's Algonquin Round Table. And J.K. Rowling conjured Harry Potter in an Edinburgh cafe. But where do L.A.'s scribes plug in and tap out screenplays, teleplays and the occasional novel?
Clean and well-lighted? Uh, no. But the owners have made strides to make this goth-decorated cave of a coffeehouse more writer-friendly: increased lighting, softer music, electric outlets aplenty, wireless Internet access, and the cushy Moroccan back room, where fatigued wordsmiths can nap. Forest Whitaker writes here, and it's rumored that Jon Favreau, who once lived across the street, may have written "Swingers" within these all-too-hip walls. Open until 2 a.m. 5931 Franklin Ave., Los Angeles.
SEATTLE'S BEST COFFEE
Struggling artistes might scoff at the idea of meeting their muse in Starbucks' corporate cousin, on tony Montana Avenue, no less. No secondhand velvet couches here, and funky local art is supplanted by slick "blended drink" ads. Yet the spot serves as an office for several successful scribes. The library-like quietude, abundant outlets and a staff tolerant of "campers" have given rise to scripts such as the upcoming "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" and "The Mask" sequel. 1015 Montana Ave., Santa Monica.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday September 20, 2003 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 47 words Type of Material: Correction
Jerry Stahl -- The article in the Los Angeles Times Magazine about Los Angeles-area cafes in which writers pen their screenplays, teleplays and novels ("Lattes and Laptops," Sept. 14) incorrectly stated that author/TV writer Jerry Stahl frequents Lulu's Blue Plate cafe. He has never visited the cafe.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday September 21, 2003 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 46 words Type of Material: Correction
Jerry Stahl -- An article in the Sept. 14 Los Angeles Times Magazine about Los Angeles-area cafes in which writers pen their screenplays, teleplays and novels incorrectly stated that author / TV writer Jerry Stahl frequents Lulu's Blue Plate cafe. He has never visited the cafe.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday October 05, 2003 Home Edition Los Angeles Times Magazine Part I Page 4 Lat Magazine Desk 2 inches; 76 words Type of Material: Correction
The article "Lattes and Laptops" (Metropolis, Sept. 14) incorrectly stated that author/TV writer Jerry Stahl frequents Lulu's Blue Plate cafe. As Stahl explains: "Never having heard of Lulu's Blue Plate cafe--let alone set foot in it--I was surprised to learn that I actually write there. This may explain the gaps. Perhaps there are other cafes I write in that I don't know about. Perhaps I don't actually live in Los Angeles. Perhaps I'm dead. Who knows?"
Sparse and no frills like a log cabin, this quiet hole-in-the-wall is "more New Yorky and less sceney," says one of the barristas. Maybe that's why Charlie Kaufman digs it. Word around the shop is that Chuck wrote "Being John Malkovich" here. Beverage of choice: the bottomless cup of joe--strong, Italian stuff--for two bucks. 6917 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles.
COOGIE'S BEACH CAFE
You'll catch plenty of stars eating at this bright, airy, bustling family restaurant in the 'Bu, but during off-hours you might also spy plenty of local dream-weavers. Legend has it that the late Shel Silverstein wrote his final book, "Falling Up," here. 23750 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu.
LULU'S BLUE PLATE (FORMERLY LULU'S ALIBI)
This coffeehouse-turned-restaurant hosts several writers groups, as well as bigwig habitues such as author/TV writer Jerry Stahl ("Permanent Midnight") and author/screenwriter Hubert Selby Jr. ("Last Exit to Brooklyn"). A writer herself, owner Luana Flippin puts a premium on her customers' privacy; employees are strictly forbidden to hand out head shots or manuscripts. In need of a sugar fix? Try the deep-fried Twinkies in strawberry Grand Marnier sauce. 1640 Sawtelle Blvd., Los Angeles.
THE NOVEL CAFE
One of the few funky, boho hubs left in the gentrified Venice/Main Street area, this cafe/used bookstore attracts countless aspiring screenwriters and novelists. The die-hard regulars--many as dusty and musty as the old tomes that line the walls--can be quite territorial. Whether or not it's for wannabes, it's rumored that more than a few scripts ("Shadow Conspiracy," for one) have been born here. Open until 1 a.m. 212 Pier Ave., Santa Monica.