We came across The Wheelhouse when we were planning a day in LA back in February. Jay, being the awesome behind the scenes research gatherer he is, found The Wheelhouse through Instagram and noticed that it had just opened a few weeks prior. And with such a unique concept – combining bicycles and coffee – we had to visit!
Located in the Arts District in DTLA and right next to the LA gun club, The Wheelhouse has really made a name for itself since the last time we visited. They’ve become a one stop (bike) shop for cyclists (novice and seasoned alike) looking for a quick jolt of energy or a relaxing way to end a day of riding.
And it’s in good company, too. Blue Bottle and Stumptown are just a small jaunt away. But, what we love the most is that the staff is just as cool and chill as our first visit. Sometimes we can romanticize a place or a time in our lives and get disappointed once we revisit it, but that’s not the case at The Wheelhouse.
On our recent visit, we came on a lazy Sunday afternoon on our way to Smorgasburg. If you haven’t heard of Smorgasburg, it’s an outdoor market in The Row (a space that’s being transformed into a trendy set of shops, eateries and lofts) with various vendors ranging from pizza to burgers to those funky little rain drop desserts that you’ve probably seen on your Instagram feed. You can even do a little shopping, too. The original one is in Brooklyn and so LA has one, respectively. Last Sunday, they were celebrating National Pizza Month so of course we had to try some pizza from Pizzanista!
And if you’re biking to Smorgasburg, no worries because The Wheelhouse provides a FREE bike valet at the entrance. They’ll even clean it and make your ride shiny and new again while you grub on some good food! And during the week, they peddle around with some of their cold brew in the appropriately named Cold Brewcycle. So, if you work or live in DTLA, follow their mailing list where you can find out where the scheduled stops are during the week days.
But, back to storefront…it’s like REI and a super cool coffee shop had a baby. As soon as you walk up, the open garage doors lead you into a space with high ceilings and comfy chairs that invite you in to stay awhile. And in case you forgot where you were, a large sign in marquee letters spell out “The Wheelhouse.”
As you’re waiting for your coffee (by the way, check out that menu…love the concept) you can browse through the different bikes, bike gear and nomad living essentials. Everything in the store is meticulously picked out and made from various creators with a unique story to tell. It’s nice to see so much thought put into the store, which goes to show you what kind of people the owners, Chase and Tami Spenst are. There’s even a quick fix bike stand underneath the marquee with somebody who can fix a flat tire or adjust your bike while you’re waiting for a cup of joe.
As if the unique experience of a coffee shop within a bike shop (or is it a bike shop within a coffee shop…) isn’t already great, one sip of the coffee makes you sing. This time around we shared a latte (sharing is caring) and oh, baby it was delicious. They use Olympia Coffee Roasters, which has now gone on our coffee bucket list of places to visit in Washington…it’s so good (and their cold brew is awesome, too)!
If you can spare some time, hang out on the patio and enjoy your cup of coffee in a unique mug with The Wheelhouse logo on it. They’re made with love by the talented Melissa and Jonathan at @aquestionofeagles – check them out, too!
And if it wasn’t already clear, you don’t need to love cycling to enjoy a cup of coffee here. In fact, that’s not their goal unless you’re interested in learning a thing or two about cycling while you’re there. Then, the friendly staff will guide you through all the different types of bikes and which one will suit you best. It won’t be intimidating. They’re not going to expect you to speak cyclist, but they’ll be just as happy to talk shop with you if you do. And that’s the way it should be: a community of people coming together, enjoying each other’s company and learning something new about each other.
We know that we said coffee shops are sprinkled all around DTLA, but The Wheelhouse is bringing a fun and unique twist to the coffee scene that stands out above the rest. They’ve combined two intimidating things – coffee and bicycles – and made it into a friendly hangout spot for everybody to enjoy. Come and see for yourself why #thisismywheelhouse.