Austin Mackin 11 a.m., March 7
The Lazy Hummingbird: Coffee and Culture in OB
In the comments section of my bit on Industrial Grindl, a reader suggested I visit Lazy Hummingbird coffee in Ocean Beach. I've now done so, and I still think that it's got a totally fantastic name.
The little coffee shop has been open for about six months and seems to be generating a loyal following of caffeine-deprived OBecians.
Much like Industrial Grind, the Lazy Hummingbird can be a bit of a trick to find. The shop has signage, and it's on a fairly developed stretch of Santa Monica in OB, but half the building is a FedEx store and the residual injunction to "PRINT PACK SHOP" is still emblazoned on the purple awning above what is actually the charming little coffee stop.
The entire shop has a lovingly hand-lettered, organic feel that stands a strong counterpoint the the ultra-slick, Euro-cool aesthetic that's almost normative in coffee shops right now. Much like the surrounding neighborhood, Lazy Hummingbird carries a bohemian majesty that is if anything enhanced by its unlikely co-habitation with the office supply shop.
Gentle, acoustic jams fill the air and late-afternoon sunlight spills in from the big windows, which together creates a very cozy vibe that could easily induce prolonged stays.
The espresso is on point, flavor wise. And the prices are on the cheaper side of reasonable. Ordering a double americano ($2.45) earns an invitation to select a mug from the rack on the wall. Personal choice reigns supreme!
Refraining from using paper cups and disposable goods whenever possible is central to the business ethics at Lazy Hummingbird, which appeals to my very strong tendency towards eliminating waste and refuse. I especially appreciate the option to mix coffee with a spoon, instead of a piece of wood. The sound of a spoon clinking around the inside of a coffee cup reminds me of being a little kid and listening to my parents drink coffee on weekend mornings.
Maybe the biggest thing that might set Lazy Hummingbird up in the ranks of the favored few coffee shops is that the little place is host to a litany of cultural events. There's something going on there most evenings. Maybe it's just my skewed perception of the world, but I detect echoes of my beloved 1990's when coffee shops seemed to carry a greater reputation as artsy, bohemian, cultural centers where cool kids hung out to read nihilist philosophy and draft screenplays for independent movies.
Tambourine making isn't exactly Nietzsche, but it's not exactly not Nietzsche either and I'm willing to expand my fantasy a bit for a good cup of java and the chance to use an insouciant, rhetorically cunning double negative.
The Lazy Hummingbird
4876 Santa Monica Avenue