‘Coffee’s great, people are better’: Bear Coast Coffee now serving Laguna

Bear Coast Coffee in Laguna Beach.
Bear Coast Coffee, which has locations in Dana Point and San Clemente, held its grand opening Saturday in Laguna Beach.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

A coffee venture that started in Orange County’s southernmost community has worked its way up the coast into Laguna Beach.

Bear Coast Coffee, which began serving the local residents in December, held its grand-opening event on Saturday.

The location of the business is befitting of the name, as it is sharing space in the historic Coast Liquor building at 1391 South Coast Highway. Natural light floods into the cafe through its large windows, with views of the Pacific Ocean and the busy thoroughfare along which it is stationed.


“When it comes to the location where we are, and the reason why we felt the call to persist through the three years that we experienced of approvals and all that, it had parking, it had a beautiful view, it had permits,” said Jeff Clinard, founder and co-owner of Bear Coast Coffee.

“All these things, in Laguna, are so difficult to find and have space inside for people to be and breathe, room for strollers to turn around. … The building itself, and the views and the windows, and just being able to see the ocean has been so great.”

The new Bear Coast Coffee, located at 1391 South Coast Highway, in Laguna Beach.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

The new Laguna Beach coffee spot, open daily from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m., is just a short walk from Mountain Road Beach. The Garden of Peace and Love, an AIDS memorial garden, and the Boom Boom Bench, an artistic homage to the former gay bar known as the Boom Boom Room, overlook that stretch of sand.

Outdoor seating provides an open-air setting for coffee and tea enthusiasts to enjoy their drinks. There is also in-store Wi-Fi, which some of the locals have already discovered.

“I’ve seen some high schoolers find us out and start studying around finals and stuff like that over this past month,” Clinard said.

Clinard founded Bear Coast Coffee as a pop-up business in San Clemente. The coffee company opened its first location at the San Clemente Pier in 2015, before adding two more locations in Dana Point.

Bear Coast Coffee is near Mountain Road Beach in Laguna Beach.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

The roastery that feeds the stores and handles online orders is also in San Clemente.

Clinard, a Michigan native, attended University High in Irvine. He said he spent summers in Laguna Beach at Aliso and Thousand Steps beaches.

Coffee has provided a means to foster and deepen relationships, and Clinard hopes to continue down that pathway. In its introduction to the community, Clinard said Bear Coast Coffee donated 15% of its gross sales during the grand opening to the Pacific Marine Mammal Center.

“We see people meet over coffee, get married and then have kids, and we continue to serve these families,” Clinard said. “We’ve seen that happen since the beginning of Bear Coast, and that’s my goal when it comes to the growth of our company. … Coffee’s great, people are better.”