G & B Grand Central Market
Einstein once said that insanity is trying the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. I feel the same way every time I visit a G&B location. They have the pristine, cool coffee shop vibes. They have the right machine. The right beans. The right baristas. And still, I cannot seem to like the way the pull their espresso. G&B stands for the two former Intelligentsia barista names--Glanville & Babinski. My first experience with G&B began back in their popup shop days at Sqirl and I was more mesmerized every time by Sqirl's toast than G&B's espresso. I considered the possibility the toast just trumping anything in its way. When I finally visited their first permanent location in Grand Central Market (Sqirl-free) I realized my mistake. As I said, the coffee shop at Grand Central Market has a great vibe. If you have never been to this large indoor food market, it is located right across the street from Angel's Flight (or as most people know it-- the (500) Days of Summer location where Joseph Gordon-Levitt draws the skyline on Zooey Deschanel's forearm). The market is very eclectic and you can pretty much find any type of food here--Thai, Mexican, Chinese, fresh produce, popsicles, boba, ya know. G&B stands right at the west opening of Grand Central Market, almost separate from the rest of the market. Unfortunately there is a slightly uncomfortable and distinct separation from the type of people that visit G&B and those that are visiting the other food locations. Regardless, the spot is great. There is a light wooden bar that wraps around the coffee bar that a few people are usually leaning against, enjoying a coffee break. Their coffee shelves are typically lined with Forty Ninth Parallel, Intelligentsia, Ritual, and Heart Roasters-- a great variety. On my past visit they were serving 49th Parallel's single origin, Colombia El Descanso. The flavors were noted to be "intense fruity fragrance, juicy mouthfeel, with flavors of blackberries, currants and honey." Unfortunately, with G&B's very unique way of making an "espresso"--which I consider to be more of a americano-- was extremely watered down and the high note-fruity flavors were hard to tolerate for half a glass. Before the espresso G&B usually serves a type of white bubbly tea. Although I'm all for unique twists, this seemed to off-put the flavors of the espresso instead of cleansing my palate as seltzer water would have done. Aside from the single flaw of watery espresso, G&B and the Grand Central Market are lovely. I probably shall return soon enough (as long as my insanity persists) and give G&B another chance.
Recommend: Walk around the Grand Central Market and come ready to snack or eat foreign food!
Note: Although I do not enjoy their espresso, G&B seems to have great varieties of tea and a special treat for those with an extra-sweet tooth: the Espresso Milkshake.
Vibe: Open-air, friendly, eclectic surroundings
Espresso Rating: 6/10
Overall Rating: 8/10
Location: 317 Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013
Hours: 9am-6pm Everyday