West Hollywood now has a new specialty coffee shop, and it's a very pretty one at that. The Assembly had a soft opening at the end of May, brewing coffee and pulling espresso shots off its La Marzocco machine, in a compact, airy space wedged on North Robertson Boulevard between Melrose Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard.
The shop comes to the neighborhood courtesy of Shi Jun Ng, who, prior to opening the Assembly, was a barista at Cafe Demitasse’s Santa Monica outpost, and was in the design advertising industry before that.
It makes sense, then, that the Assembly would be a confluence of both of those past lives; indeed, Ng says what drew her to West Hollywood was not just that she lives on the Westside, but also that the neighborhood has such a rich design history — the Pacific Design Center, after all, stands tall and very blue right around the corner on Melrose Avenue.
Ng worked with interior designer Kellie Patry (who also designed Blacktop Coffee in the Arts District) to create a serene space with lightly colored woodwork on the walls, marble counters, modern tables and chairs, and a large communal table in the back. W//R//F Lab provides the ceramic mugs, and custom light fixtures will be installed soon.
As for the coffee, Counter Culture Coffee supplies the beans, and the menu is straightforward — "I want to do simple well," Ng says — so you'll find your specialty coffee shop standard cortado and other espresso drinks.
There are also batch brews, and Ng says there also may be one or two pourovers if especially special beans come in. Dairy alternatives include almond and hemp milk. There's also tea and cookies, croissants and other baked goods from the Larder. Compostable plastics and cups are used for your takeaway orders.
In addition to the coffees, teas and pastries, Ng has stocked the shelves with the sorts of things you'd find in a discerning boutique, like handcrafted stationary and paper products, home goods and other accessories. Come for the coffee, you might say, but stay for the retail therapy.
Eventually, you might stay for a community event or two, too. "I don't see this as a single specialty coffee shop," Ng says. "I see it as being able to take on more shape than that." Thus it might take the shape of a place for film screenings, say, or an art gallery featuring pieces from local artists.
The Assembly is open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Metered parking is available on Robertson Boulevard, and there's parking at the structures well within walking distance at the nearby West Hollywood Public Library. Which would not be a bad place to spend an afternoon. Post-coffee, of course.
The Assembly, 634 N. Robertson Blvd., West Hollywood, theassemblycafe.com.