Just half a block from Apolis: Common Gallery, on Third Street, our friend Tyler Wells is now operating the espresso bar Blacktop Coffee. It’s a small, 250-square-foot space, not much more than a counter and some shelves for beans to go, but the intention of this new shop is to spill onto the sidewalk and into the neighboring retail store, Alchemy Works, which is connected to the bar with a sliding indigo-painted wood door.

The hope is to give people multiple reasons to want to stay. One of those reasons is our favorite food truck, Guerrilla Tacos, which is conveniently stationed in front of Blacktop, from Thursday to Sunday. Another reason you will want to hang out while you finish your espresso (from a beautiful teal Heath Ceramics cup) is you’ll get the chance to wander through the local shops nearby—as well as take advantage of the new Arts District farmers’ market on Thursday (4 to 8 p.m.). Overall, the opening of Blacktop Coffee is a foreshadowing of the ongoing revitalization in downtown Los Angeles.

We recently caught up with Wells and heard his vision for the space. “Since the beginning, I’ve always wanted a little 200-foot espresso bar,” he said. “Something truly European, where people can stop in and have a drink, a little two-minute bright spot in their day, and go on to whatever’s next.” We have known Wells for years, through his previous post at Handsome Coffee a few blocks away. Always stylish in his coiffed hair and mustache, he has become a close friend and makes a mean latte. He is manically focused on building community through the food and beverage industry, and we are thrilled to see how Blacktop will evolve over the years.

One of Blacktop’s cofounders, Tyler Wilson, also an owner of Wurstkuche and a close childhood friend, shares Wells’ vision: “If we sell ten cups of coffee or two hundred, it doesn’t matter. As long as we build community, we’re happy.” Blacktop is pulling shots of Sightglass Coffee, a delicious roaster in San Francisco. The short Blacktop menu includes “Whites” (lattes, cappuccinos), “Blacks” (shots and Americanos), and “Chocolates” (mochas). Also on the menu are chai iced tea and cold brews on tap. There is a limited pastry offering from a local bakery, Bread Lounge, and also a variety of toasts to complement the truly European feel. We are excited for this new addition to the Arts District, and we would definitely recommend the iced maple chai latte during this heat wave we’re experiencing in Los Angeles.

826 E. Third St., Los Angeles. Open daily, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

For more information, visit

Photos: Ken Tisuthiwongse


Posted By

Raan & Shea Parton

Creative Director & Brand Director
Raan and Shea Parton are the founders of Apolis, a socially motivated lifestyle brand based in Los Angeles that empowers communities worldwide through a model they call "Advocacy Through Industry." ...