Tucked within a concrete enclave surrounded by the City National Plaza’s high-rise skyscrapers sits a small but eye-catching jewel box. At 7am, its modular frosted window pane walls open like wings to reveal a coffee bar outfitted with a charcoal steel interior and wood panel accents. The gentle hum of pulled espresso works against the backdrop of honking horns and sounds of construction, all signifying a day’s beginning in downtown Los Angeles. It is yet another morning at Nice Coffee, where the java is plentiful and the baristas make a point to remember your name.
Passersby in business attire stand in line, each waiting to order their daily cup of liquid energy before starting the daily grind. So long as Nice Coffee is able to provide you with a “nice three minutes of your day and a good cup of coffee,” founder and owner Tyler Wells is satisfied.
Wells’ ethos is “all about offering an experience,” starting with the staff. “I’m fortunate to have worked with these people for a long time,” Wells says while gesturing to his employees. “They’re the absolute dream team.” By exemplifying the “nice” in Nice Coffee with their friendly demeanor, a seeming rarity in Los Angeles, it is clear that this dream team is one of the reasons customers keep returning. “We have a ton of regulars,” Wells says. “It means the world when people walk here as a part of their routine and share a little bit of their morning with us.”
By sourcing 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters, Wells aims to make the coffee the focal point of experience. “No one has ever come here and not liked the coffee. It’s approachable while being delicious and we’re all proud of it.”
In addition, Nice Coffee offers donuts crafted by Wells, breakfast burritos from The Rooster Truck, Sugarbloom pastries, and an occasional selection of flower arrangements, all on differing days of the week. “I thought coffee as a standalone thing was very exhausted and difficult. If you pair it with food, it makes sense,” Wells explains.
Three years prior to Nice Coffee, Wells sold his first project, Handsome Coffee, and began consulting for coffee shops all over Los Angeles. “I realized I loved starting things. With my background in construction management and culinary operations, [consulting] was a great fit for my unique skillset,” Wells says.
Now, nearly five months since Nice Coffee’s opening on April 14th, Wells hopes to serve its corporate professional customers to the fullest. “Most of our customers live a life that runs either up, in a tall building, or down, where the amenities are underground. We wanted to create a place that activated the environment,” Wells elaborates. “Historically, as coffee guys there are things we don’t like to do but we checked our egos and started giving people what they’re asking for, like decaf espresso.”
Ultimately, Nice Coffee has one goal. “We want to be nice to people. We’re an honest and simple coffee bar and we haven’t had anyone storm out of here yet,” Wells chuckles. Nice is the new way to coffee.
Written by Phoebe Yu
Photographed by Robiee Ziegler