Never would I have expected for quality coffee to be near the tourist-trap, preteen hangout that is Third Street Promenade. I was so thoroughly surprised by The Refinery off of Santa Monica Blvd. between 4th St and 5th St. Even their chalkboard sign outside their shop was a good start-- it said "Super Sweet, Malty, Full-Bodied espresso". The Refinery is quite the oasis from Third Street Promenade-- it wasn't crowded and the baristas were some of the most friendly that I have encountered. Their espresso cups are also some of the coolest I've seen- apparently made by a company called Terra. And even better, their Ritual Coffee espresso was everything they claimed (super sweet, malty, and full-bodied) and was pulled from a Hydra Synesso machine. I couldn't get over my surprise about the place. They have a cool setup--some round tables in the middle of the store, and some bar seating to the side. It seems like a great, quiet place to study (probably a different story on the weekends when it would get more crowded). Overall, awesome!! Coffee nerds shall appreciate this place and there's definitely a lot to offer for non-coffee nerds as well.
Recommend: Go there during the day during the week when it is super quiet and you can just chat with the baristas.
Note: WiFI available, great place to study.
Vibe: Study, coffee shop
Espresso Rating: 8.5/10
Overall Rating: 9/10
Hours: Mon-Fri 7:30am-6pm, Sat 8am-6pm, closed Sunday