Javaman coffeehouse is my favorite mom and pop hang out. It is located on the corner of Pier Avenue and Manhattan Avenue in Hermosa Beach.
It’s not really the things you can buy at Javaman that make it such a great place to hang out; for the most part those are typical of any coffee shop. I do have my favorites; for instance I never even liked macaroons until I had one at Javaman. They are about the size of a baseball with a golden crusty exterior and perfectly chewy and gooey on the inside. I believe it’s some sort of conspiracy that it’s not a regular item in their dessert selection.
Javaman also offers food. They serve three kinds of breakfast burritos, a variety of paninis, quesadillas, salads and sandwiches. During the winter they offer a fresh soup of the day and their albóndigas soup is the best I’ve ever tasted.
Most days the service is average- there is an occasional communication breakdown with some of the guys behind the counter. I don’t think it would be entirely sexist if the owner hired just one young cute barista, or someone who acted a bit more enthusiastic about their job. It seems there are currently 2 friendly employees and 4 unfriendly ones. There’s one guy who makes sounds like Chewbacca which can either be amusing or frustrating depending on my level on patience or free time. I suppose the guys working at Javaman do close to the best they can in the small space provided.
The real reason I go to Javaman is its awesome location. It is located in the old Re-Style spot – the first place to sell Doc Martin’s in the South Bay back in the 1980’s. Or, to take you back even more old school- it’s located next door to Black Flag’s old Church. (As in “The Decline of Western Civilization”). This is a corner with history. This is a corner with culture. This is the corner for my anthropological studies. I could sit here for hours and watch nannies pushing babies in strollers or bodybuilders shaved naked like little babies with spaghetti strap-type tanks walking tiny pocket puppies. Young skate punks bomb pier ave on their skateboards, gaggles of young girls giggle as their terry cloth butts pass with descriptive labels like Pink or Juicy. No matter if I am there alone or with friends I am always amused.
The other great thing about Java man are the monthly art installations. Local artists get to hang their art inside the coffee shop’s three cozy rooms. Sometimes there are paintings, other times collages and often there is photography. This rotating art gives the inside of Javaman the different vibe from month-to-month and gives local artists a chance to share their work and possibly sell a few pieces.
I like the idea of giving my money to a family man who owns two businesses in town (the owner Rick also owns Ocean Diner up the street) rather than a large corporation. I like that Rick is supporting local artists, and by keeping his coffee shop alive this little tiny building has been preserved and not torn down and turned into another franchise.
So come for the coffee and desserts but stay for the art, the cool vibe, the location and the anthropology.