Civil Coffee is coming to Highland Park, with free coffee on opening day


Highland Park very soon will have a new coffee shop: Civil Coffee is set to open on Figueroa Street on Nov. 14. If you swing by on opening day, you can get a free cup of brewed coffee with any beverage order, or earn a free cup of joe for yourself by tagging the coffeehouse on Instagram.

Civil Coffee comes courtesy of brothers Alex and Alan Morales, whose collective résumé includes time well spent at Handsome Coffee Roasters and Tiago Coffee Bar + Kitchen. For the past three years, they’ve operated a mobile coffee cart and catered parties and events around town.

Opening a permanent location, Alex says, was something they’ve been working toward for a while — having been inspired to work in coffee after visiting Intelligentsia Coffee’s outpost in Pasadena.


“Growing up, we had what we would call ‘burnt lattes,’ ” he says. “We’d heat up milk in a pot, put some Nescafé in there, some brown sugar. It was delicious. But we weren’t really big coffee drinkers.

“We walked into Intelligentsia, and that whole experience really touched us,” he says, recalling how they were struck by the specialty coffee concept, and the idea that a coffee shop, of all things, could play such an integral part of someone’s daily ritual. “The ability to give someone that cup of hope in the morning, when you’re going to work or starting your day, has always been our goal.”

The brothers will be opening their shop on Figueroa in a building that, a long while back, was a dress shop (there’s still a faded “Dress Shop” sign on the building; there are plans to restore it). They were hoping to be open by summer’s end, but permitting issues delayed plans a few months.

While they waited (and waited) to open, the brothers decided to spend their Saturday mornings getting to know their neighbors: They set up their coffee cart outside their shop and pitched a “Free Coffee” sign on the sidewalk. As you can imagine, locals stopped by.

“It allowed for the community to get to know us, and for us to get to know them,” Alan says.

Civil Coffee’s 1,500-square-foot space was designed by Charisse Cardenas and features an angled front entrance, high ceilings, walls with blue wainscoting, a beautifully tiled floor (the tiles were handmade in Mexico) and a walnut bar.


There will be benches in the front, bars and stools running along the front windows and tables throughout. At the moment, the building’s back patio is under construction; eventually, they hope to put seating out there, too.

As for the coffee, you’ll see single-origin espressos from Coava Coffee Roasters in the hoppers each day. Beans from Coava and Heart Coffee Roasters will be used for batch and cold brews. Later, there also will be special seasonal drinks.

Other drinks planed for the menu: matcha; homemade horchatas and mochas; teas (chai, black, green, mint); and Clover Juice. Roomforty, a catering and events company located up the street on Figueroa, will supply quiche, toasts, sandwiches and pastries.

Although the coffee shop is about two weeks from its grand opening, there’s work to be done yet: The brothers are waiting on some furniture, and a few final touches need to be made. Even in this unfinished state, though, it’s not hard to imagine how Civil might be a great place to stay for a spell.

Civil Coffee will be open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

5629 N. Figueroa St., Highland Park,


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