My teen son and I checked out Café Bolívar on a late summer afternoon at the recommendation of friends. I was delighted to find a relaxed atmosphere, great service and really good coffee. This was a special “review” visit and not a real working session, but we stayed long enough to dodge rush hour and see some regulars come and go.

Penina’s Ratings
Coffee: Very good
Food: Very good
Wifi: Effortless, solid
Ambience/Decor: Small, but airy and bright
Ambience/Business: Good for solo work and small meetings
Service: Friendly, quick
Clientele: Locals
Bathroom: Clean, a hook for your stuff

While we were there, I watched pairs of friends meet for a meal, and lone wifiers relaxing with a drink. They have an amazing selection of teas I’m looking forward to trying in the future.

There’s metered parking just out front, but the barista directed me to some free side street spots. When I got back from moving the car, my son was settled in with the computer and our snacks were served. We only had muffins and I had a latte (yes, it kept me up, but this was important). I’ve heard, though, that the sandwiches and (Caracas style) arepas are very good.

Café Bolívar
1741 Ocean Park Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405
(310) 581-2344

Café Bolívar Santa Monica

Café Bolívar Santa Monica

Penina’s Wifi Etiquette

  1. Buy stuff. Do I really need to say this? After seeing otherwise with my own eyes, it turns out I do. My rule of thumb is to buy something about every two hours.
  2. Be gracious. Your two coffees and a scone aren’t doing all that much to pay the rent for the hours you spend in a café. Help make it a friendly, welcoming place so they can attract and keep more customers.
  3. Follow the rules. Busy urban areas limit wifi use because higher costs require them to generate quicker turnover. Sometimes plug placement is limited: if your power cord is a tripping hazard, then don’t use it (or negotiate with the wifier closer in to swap locations so you can charge up).
  4. Be considerate. Go outside to make phone calls.
  5. Be very considerate. Your laptop should not make a sound—not even little beeps: use headphones. Same for the radio you brought to follow the game.
  6. Tip generously. And tip again if you’re there through a shift change.

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