The World's Best Closed Coffee Shop

If I could write a whole blog about a single coffee shop, I might.

The one I have in mind is called Johnie's, and it is at Wilshire Boulevard & Fairfax Avenue here in Los Angeles. If we've taken our photo together, then we stood mere feet from Johnie's when we posed.

Johnie's has been closed for many years, and it is one of the places, if not the place, that started to put the Motel Fairwil in my mind. Small, colorful, architecturally interesting, well past its glory days, and located at Wilshire & Fairfax.

It's been used as a location in a lot of movies, but it hasn't been fully protected, until this week: The Los Angeles City Council voted to make it a Historic-Cultural Monument.

Excited face!

In a word: phew. There'll never be a bulldozer in this motel's little diner's future, only more bulbs blinking and neon neoning. Also, props to its current owners, as it still stands today. That isn't always the case with older buildings. Phew again.

I'd love to see it reopen as the Mmm Mmm Cafe a working restaurant, or even a zazzy entrance to the new subway stop when Metro arrives at the corner of Wilshire & Fairfax in several years.

Johnie's was not saved by a big bad hotel next door that only wanted its swimming pool, but rather hard-working preservationists and unsung urban heroes. Thank you, hard-working preservationists and unsung urban heroes! I love you. Too forward?

Photo below: Some of Johnie's old marquee bulbs still flicker on at sunset, but not all. It's incredibly romantic and cinematic, I find. Also, I'm convinced there's a secret message up there, like visual Morse Code, or some system of communication that a pair of lovebirds has worked out that no one else is privy to.

Like... if the top row has four lit bulbs, does that mean "meet me at the diving board back booth near the jukebox at midnight?" 

Not having anyone else privy to your lovey-dovey communication systems, except a special someone, is the best, and the particular magic that fuels this city corner in its alternate book universe.


cr: mooney 47
cr: Ryan Dickey


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