How Alana’s created the perfect spot for get-togethers, coffee and nirvana in Mar Vista
By Caden Sullivan and Anthony Torrise
Opportunities have a way of presenting themselves out of nowhere. For Eric Stogsdill and Erin Ward, that’s exactly how it was when they opened Alana’s Coffee Roasters on Venice Boulevard in 2016.
Stogsdill has worked around coffee since he was 18 years old in coffee shops all over Los Angeles. He also worked as a mechanic, but the call of the coffee bean was too loud for him to ignore. Named after his daughter, Alana’s humbly began in 2009 around various Westside farmers’ markets.
Ward eventually caught wind that a brick-and-mortar coffee shop was of interest to Stogsdill and the two then began looking for the spot that fit their needs. They knew it was meant to be when they secured what used to be a restaurant in Mar Vista. They adapted the building with relative ease, and it comfortably grew into a go-to gathering spot for the community.
“We feel like we are an additional comfortable space for people to come and hang out and get work done,” says Ward, a resident of Mar Vista.
With Stogsdill’s knowledge of great-tasting coffee and Ward’s vision for the shop’s look, Alana’s became a thriving local hotspot. Before the pandemic, the patio out back was the site of community-drawing events like live concerts, comedy nights, movie nights, and more on a regular basis. Unfortunately, all those events have been canceled due to COVID, but the patio — full of lush plants and nooks to escape the chaos of city living — is still open with distanced seating, which means that unfinished projects can finally be completed in peace.
Alana’s has bloomed into a local venue and community hub, but it all began with the coffee. With a variety of in-season beans, exotic blends and wild flavors, the menu can be intimidating if you’re only used to Starbucks. But if you get overwhelmed, just know that you aren’t bothering anyone to ask about the items. As Ward likes to say, “We are snobby coffee without the snobby attitude.”
The team makes sure that whether you’re a hardcore connoisseur or first-time sipper, the experience is personal.
Stogsdill says, “It’s like ‘Cheers.’ If they already see you waiting on the ramp, especially if you’re a regular and get the same thing, your drink’s already waiting for you.”
And on the flip side, if you’re a total newcomer, Alana’s employees are always open to discuss your tastes and make suggestions. The two believe that many local shops take the fun out of coffee, and that’s the last thing Alana’s wants to do.
With fresh pastries from Debbie’s Dinners, The Good Good, and Bearclaw Kitchen, Alana’s makes a great place to go for snacktime and, of course, coffee. The care and quality is something hard to find outside of truly homegrown coffee shops, and the open attitude is hard to find outside of Alana’s. For the best of both worlds, it’s worth
Congratulations to Best Independent Coffee House winner Alana’s Coffee Roasters! The shop is located at 12511 Venice Blvd., Mar Vista. Call (310) 295-0099 or visit shop.alanascoffeeroasters.com to learn more.