A second Blackwood Coffee Bar is now open in Los Angeles, expanding a vision of co-owner Carlos Antonio that combines coffee, fine art and interior design.
An array of colored triangular tiles back the wood-clad bar that anchors the shop and serves as a kind of art installation all its own against the adjoining white-walled gallery space. Like specialty coffee, the art on display within the new Blackwood spot is intended to be an accessible luxury.
“The gallery space is an extension of my design aesthetic, featuring a new artist every two months,” Antonio told Daily Coffee News. “The exhibitions will vary from a singular artist to a collection of artists. The art ranges from $375-$8,000, meant to be inclusive and accessible to different tastes and patrons.”
For most of his professional life, Carlos Antonio has focused on home and retail interior design and art curation. In 2002 he began designing unique jewelry pieces for high-profile clients. This year Antonio launched his own brand of scented candles.
“The spaces are designed to feel evocative,” Antonio said of the two Blackwood Coffee bars, the first of which opened five years ago on Sunset Boulevard. “A mixture of coffee culture and lovers of design and art — each one of the spaces has their own sensibility, based on the neighborhood they are catering to.”
The new WeHo location on Santa Monica Boulevard near La Brea echoes some interior elements of the original shop, including at the bar with a La Marzocco GB5 espresso machine paired with Mazzer grinders for the espresso. Both shops also depend on Curtis and Fetco equipment for batches of drip coffee.
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“The mosaic walls are anchors of the spaces,” Antonio told Daily Coffee News. “Just like spirit-based bars, [the back walls] are the jewels of their spaces. Our coffee drinks have a mixologist influence to them; we wanted the space to reflect the complexity of our drinks.”
Blackwood’s coffee drinks include a cold brew made with a house cashew-milk horchata and Aztec chocolate bitters; or a sparkling espresso made with fresh orange zest. All drinks are based on Blackwood’s house Sunset Boulevard Blend, which is roasted for Blackwood by Southern California’s own Caffe Luxxe.
“We worked with them to develop a darker European-inspired roast with notes of cocoa and cherry,” Blackwood Coffee Co-Founder Keith Wixson told DCN. “The most important thing for us in developing our roast was that the rich flavor profile we wanted held up no matter how it was used or how the drink was prepared. It was critical that the roast’s integrity could be experienced as espresso, cold brew, or the base for our organic vanilla bean latte. We want to offer our customers a unique experience, so we do our best to only feature things that are created for us, or made in-house.”
The second Blackwood Coffee Bar is now open at 7253 B, Santa Monica Blvd in West Hollywood.
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Howard Bryman is the associate editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. He is based in Portland, Oregon.