The new Better Buzz coffee shop – aka Pacific Beach West, so as not to be confused with the spot on east Garnet, occupies the space where a drive-through laundromat used to exist, according to Daniel Greig, director of coffee production for Better Buzz Coffee Roasters.
The new shop opened in March, the same day the company celebrated the 10-year anniversary of their first place in Pacific Beach. “It’s a pretty big milestone for us,” Greig said.
Since that day two months ago, customers have been flocking to the new location, with resounding approval of the shop’s specialty items option in the drive-thru, which can fit 10 vehicles, and the extensive patio space and the inner café that can accommodate as many as 30 customers.
Better Buzz patron Abigail Carandang recently sat outside with her dog and a small cup of whipped cream on the table, the only remains of her dog’s free puppuccino (a dog treat topped with whipped cream). For her, the patio is an appealing factor because she has the opportunity to enjoy the Better Buzz experience outdoors in a spacious area with her dog.
But the sheer size of the shop isn’t the only thing drawing in customers.
Greig says each Better Buzz shop has a spin-off of “essential Better Buzz elements,” but also has its own unique design, and this new location is no exception.
From the large porch swings on the patio to the walls of the building, a combination of white oak merged with what Greig says are the building’s original bricks, the café has a look unlike any of their other shops.
Gold accents are a key aspect to the shop’s theme. Gold pendant lighting, high-top chairs and even gold accents on the single-origin espresso machine complements the wood and white tile throughout the rest of the shop.
“It’s really pretty actually, I really like it,” said Better Buzz customer Hannah Lee about the interior.
Signature features of the company are exhibited in the greenery and succulents on shelves and inlaid into the surfaces of community tables, along with classic Better Buzz phrases painted on the walls, such as “Life’s Better Buzzed” and “Coffee First.”
When you check out the retail corner by the cash register, you might sense a vintage theme as well. An old-school camera, music box, typewriter and miniature high-wheel bike decorate the floating merchandise shelves, a design choice Greig was personally responsible for.
“I just think they’re fun elements, you know, to incorporate in the retail space to add interest to it. You know, ‘cause you want it to be showy, but not too showy,” he said.
“I feel like they actually put in a lot of effort to the inside,” said Lee.
The live-edge bar, which allows customers to essentially be inside and outside the shop at the same time, is a feature that Better Buzz customer Will Shaker said he particularly enjoys, in addition to his nitro cold brew, of course.
“In terms of the vibe, I think I like this one best,” Shaker said. “They’re all chill … but this one is a bit better, I think, more relaxed.”
This Better Buzz location is usually full of customers doing everything from homework to socializing – even making wedding invitations, as Greig has previously observed. The shop continues to draw in new people, yet somehow it has not taken away service from the original PB Better Buzz, according to Greig, who says most of their customers have remained faithful.
“We feel like we’re pretty engrained in the Pacific Beach culture,” Greig added. “We’ve been a part of the community for so long.”
Better Buzz plans to open a new location in a three-story 8,000-square-foot building in Hillcrest near the end of the year. There, the company will have an antique Probat coffee roaster where guests will be able to observe the coffee bean roasting process, a production cold brew room and a menu that will feature juices, new specialty drinks, beer and wine along with the original Better Buzz menu.
Pacific Beach West
Where: 1186 Garnet Ave.
Hours: Daily 5:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.