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Los Angeles, CA 90013
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We’ve yet to occupy a setting as fabled as the Bradbury Building. Born of eccentric circumstances in the late 1800s, the Bradbury shapeshifts as fluidly as a character actor, but its bare bones are nothing short of breathtaking.
A storied film location for Hollywood since the 1940s (see Blade Runner, The Artist, and White Cliffs of Dover), the building was a legacy project of gold-mining millionaire Lewis Bradbury. After an argument with the original architect, Bradbury unexpectedly chose a complete novice, George Wyman, to draw the plans for the building. Wyman was inspired by visions of a futuristic utopia from the book Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy.
The Bradbury’s facade of sandstone and brick opens to a luminous interior where a glass ceiling pours light onto the five-story atrium. Italian marble, Mexican tile, and polished wood adorn the walls. Wrought-iron handrails wrap the balconies, and birdcage elevators soar through the space.
Jo Nagasaka of Schemata, the architect behind our Tokyo cafes, infuses the majesty of the Bradbury with a dose of simplicity in our ground-floor cafe. The understated lightness of Baltic birch wood on the counters contrasts with the flooring, which has been sanded to reveal the building’s original terrazzo tile and concrete.
The cafe also hosts our first library, where guests can buy books or just lose themselves momentarily in an author’s world. Profits from all book sales benefit the nearby Library Foundation of Los Angeles.
Espresso and pour over coffees are complemented by breakfast, lunch, and pastries. And, in the spirit of a period film, where a rendezvous isn’t complete without a stiff drink, Bradbury has a Cold Bar—a zero-proof bar for transforming single origin, Oji, and cold-brewed coffees into mixed, iced, poured, shaken, or stirred concoctions.
With the LAPD’s Office of Internal Affairs located in the building, you might just feel like a character out of a Raymond Chandler novel. Surely, with an Oji Old Fashioned in hand, you’ll be more than ready to investigate any sticky situation.