Down Beat Cafe 1202 N. Alvarado St. Echo Park, CA 90026 (213) 483-3955 - Links to Pages  Menu - Music - Press - Map  Hours:   Mon-Fri - 7a-9p  Wed 7a-10p  Sat 8a-9p  Sun 9a-5p  (also listed in footer)
   Don't just take their word for it. Come on in and try us out for yourself. If you do need convincing here are some words of
   encouragement to help you on your way. We hope to see you soon. The peanut butter cookies are calling your name.
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Easily my favorite neighborhood cafe -- they brew a nice, strong cappuccino and I really enjoy their "Andy Extreme" (bagel w/ cream cheese, onions, sprouts, tomatoes & avocado.)

ALSO, Downbeat's a lot less bougie (if that's important to you) than many of the newer establishments in Echo Park / Silver Lake.

~Richard H.

Way above-average coffee shop. Not only are the coffee and espresso beverages excellent, the food menu is delicious! Even reviewing the brie and avocado sandwich makes my mouth water and my belly grumble. I've read mixed reviews, but I say the famed peanut butter cookies are worth the hype. Two crispy peanut butter cookies with creamy, thick peanut butter sandwiched between them....heaven. (They are even better than Girl Scouts Do-Si-Dos :))

The service? Good. The staff is always polite and they make truly excellent espresso drinks.

I love the jazz theme and formica tables. The only reason I gave this place a 4 instead of 5 is because they don't have air conditioning. 80% of the time, that's no problem. But for the 20% of the year when the summer sun is severe, sitting in The Downbeat Cafe with only fans oscillating above is unfortunately not comfortable.

Visit this place for coffee, lunch, to read, to talk or for those savory peanut butter cookies.

~monica m.

Avocado and Brie (add a nice slice of turkey) between a crispy French roll.  Add salad on side with balsamic dressing, and Pellegrino Orange to taste.
The flavors took me back to Capri.  Except no ocean view.  And in Echo Park.

~Betty D.

Fairly gourmet and definitely unpretentious. Maybe I've just always caught the staff on good days, but they have always been very attentive. I smile when I think of one time when the barista asked, "How was it?" and then lit up like a kid on Christmas as I told him how delicious my turkey/tomato/onion/cream cheese bagel and latte were. It was endearing. My dining mate ordered the baguette with brie, apple, and walnuts and a chai latte and loved it all!

Haven't checked out the place on Wednesday nights yet when they have the jazz, but definitely will make an effort to soon!


LA Weekly

BEST OF L.A. 2006

Best NonEmbarrassing Penut Butter Crazies                                         by Joshua Bearman

Every day they come, from far and wide, making the pilgrimage to the Downbeat Cafe with one thing on their minds: peanut butter. Or, more precisely, peanut-butter cookies: crispy, flaky, slightly crumbly, sand-dollar-size handmade cookies, pasted together with preternaturally smooth peanut butter filling, that have developed a following. Some fans are casual snackers. Others are die-hard devotees. All are comforted by the sight of that giant glass jar on the counter, which fills up each morning with the day's batch. And when that jar is empty, there is often panic. I've seen it happen: A customer in search of cookies enters, glimpses the barren glass and turns ashen with grief. Recently, a two-day cookie dry spell threatened to sow chaos and confusion into some people's lives. "Now they've started planning," says Crissy Carter, who works the morning shift at the Downbeat. "They call in to make sure they're here." Arrangements are often made ahead of time to pick up a batch for a party. "I don't even call them cookies anymore. I call them peanut butter crazies!" say longtime Downbeat peanut butter cookie enthusiast Kelly Sears.

It's inspired by something from a Nancy Silverton cookbook," says Dakota Bertrand, the head of the Downbeat's tiny kitchen and creator of the cookie. Bertrand, the head chef worked with Silverton for four years before coming to the Downbeat, where the owners have encouraged his experimentation. Other things came and went - cupcakes, blueberry turnovers - but demand for the peanut butter cookies never waned.

"I tried really hard to keep them made," says Bertrand. "But they're a little labor intensive." Each morning, Bertrand slices, forms and bakes sets of 24 to 40 cookies from foot long logs of dough that are made in 10 pound batches. Bertrand then fries whole oats before mixing. The oats make the dough a bit crumbly, so it has to be pressed together for a nice textural density. The peanut butter in between is a hybrid of smooth and creamy, a blend that Bertrand says "took a lot of tinkering to achieve that exact right viscosity."

Does the cookie have a name? "There's no special moniker," Bertrand say. "If someone comes up with something really clever, that's not embarrassing to say, maybe we'll go with that." How about peanut butter crazies? "I said not embarrassing."



LA Times Do as the trendy throw-back wall mural says and “Follow the Crowd.” Consort with screenwriters, copy writers, poetry majors and newspaper beat reporters at the Downbeat Café. Named after a popular jazz magazine that still idolizes the 1950s, the Downbeat affects hipster street cred like Martha Stewart affects docile domesticity. Caffeine-laden beverages, fresh fruit salads and semi-recognizable indie-rock stars combine to make the Downbeat an Echo Park institution.    

Urban Spoon "Peanut Butter Cookie Sandwiches" - Likes it - I love 'em. Uber good with milk or a latte. Whenever I have had a tough day and need a perk, I stop there for a perk. :)



Insider Pages

I love the atmosphere in the Downbeat Cafe. It's so relaxing and inviting at the same time. It's a nice place to meet others or just enjoy a good book.

~vicky s.

I like The Downbeat Cafe. I always get some kind of tea or hot chocolate, the coffee is also good. The atmosphere is very laid back and there are special events going on some nights.




Erin's Kitchen

Last night Echo Park's Downbeat Cafe took me two places at once: both back to high school and to college. High school first--last night's jazz combo was a couple of talented high school kids, a girl on the piano and boy on the bass. As they goofed with their friends and snuck out front for a cigarette, I recalled the thrill of visiting the first artsy coffee shop to open in downtown La Crosse, WI--Jules. Sipping mochas with Kelly, hashing out the trials and tribulations of high school, sneaking glances at the older indie boys a few seats down. Oh, the angst--if only we had known we'd each end up in places where artsy coffee shops are a dime a dozen.

Then, to college: specifically, The Haymarket, a crunchy veggie coffeeshop in Northampton, MA. Many a night was whiled away studying, draining cup after cup of strong coffee. Often my friends and I spent more time talking than studying, and of course, still checking out the indie boys at the next table.

J and I have been heading to the Downbeat lately for our form of post-college studying (aka work), laptops in hand. The Downbeat does not have wireless, which means I actually accomplish something when I'm there. It does have simple and tasty sandwiches and salads--nothing special, but freshly made with good ingredients. I can always count on the turkey and avocado sandwich, as well as the Greek salad, heaped with feta, olives and tomatos. They usually have a soup o' the day which seems to stretch leftover or exceedingly basic ingredients to the max (last night they featured onion, on a previous trip the soup was garlic, which I can't recommend).

And of course, I've heard the Downbeat is a good place to sneak glances at cute indie boys.


City Search

In Short – This low-key Eastside eatery doubles as an amateur jazz venue, its musical theme extending from Billie Holiday background ballads to violet-and-black walls covered with genre posters. Seated on vintage couches and diner-style vinyl chairs, locals lunch on sandwiches while reading books from the next door library, or stop in for pastries after visiting the psychic downstairs. Evenings, the cafe swaps its daytime downtime atmosphere for a more dynamic vibe with live jazz performances by local talent.

~Katie Heffernan

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