The stretch of Santa Monica Boulevard that runs through West Hollywood is most well known for its nightlife — clubs, bars, and trendy restaurants. During the day, however, there is a new gem in town for those who love the spirit of the nightlife, but with a latte in hand. Fan Girl Cafe — located at 8157 Santa Monica Blvd Ste A — is the newest addition to the West Hollywood coffee shop lineup. It boasts free parking, assorted coffee drinks, artisan treats and snacks, all tied up in a rock and roll aesthetic.
From the Gwen Stefani themed bathroom to the cleverly named drinks, Fan Girl Cafe is a dedicated space for the unsung movers and shakers of the music industry – the fans. The brainchild of Betsy Martinez and her wife Cynthia Temblador, the cafe is a Latina/female/queer-owned sanctuary space that often operates outside of its usual hours to host movie nights, karaoke, and evening events to bring the community together.
The space itself is what I can only describe as girl-rock-core. Pink ceilings, diner-style checkerboard floors, and wall-to-wall framed photographs of musicians, all from local photographers (including Martinez herself, who has amassed an impressive portfolio, including here at Pass The Aux!).
The day I visited was December 13th, the National Holiday of Taylor Swift’s Birthday. Swift’s music videos were featured on the screens while music from every era was included in the playlist. A special menu was posted at the counter for some discography themed drinks (‘Wildest Dreams’ pumpkin latte, ‘Karma’ caramel latte, ‘Cruel Summer’ spicy watermelon margarita mocktail…). Being the Swiftie I am, I showed up in full fan-girl attire (concert shirt and cowboy boots) and met Betsy and her dog, Madonna, who is somewhat of the cafe mascot. The event planned for the evening (that I unfortunately missed) included a friendship bracelet station, Taylor Swift Karaoke, and a viewing of the 1989 concert film.
I treated myself to a Lavender Haze Iced Latte and was overjoyed when Betsy presented it to me with a purple flower garnish– perfect for a photo! I explored the cafe between lavender sips, taking note of the variety of photos exhibited (I am honored to be one of the photographers featured) and took a look inside the two themed bathrooms–Gwen Stefani and Rock n Roll themed. Every corner of the space is considered–wallpaper on the walls AND ceilings, holiday decor and local products/ cafe merch for sale. Even the ceramic mugs are black and white checkered, the to-go cups affixed with a pink Fan Girl Cafe sticker. The neon sign that hangs over the appropriately pink couch is the heart of the cafe– a perfect place to sit, sip, and doodle with the provided crayons and music themed coloring books.
Sports fans have had pubs and bars across the world to sit and enjoy their favorite pastime– Fan Girl Cafe is the inaugural space for hardcore fan girls and casual music enjoyers alike– a hub for pop culture and caffeine. I am already looking forward to participating in the next movie night! Martinez and Temblador might just have a hit on their hands.
Words and photos by Dara Feller