“I’ve always had a really big passion for design and I’ve always been a little outlandish with it,” said Brynn Nersesian, owner and operator of The Grounds. “I like to mix patterns.”
The coffee bar table is decorated with a black and white, triangle-patterned tile. This accessory was the first one Nersesian found and helped kick-start the shop’s design process. With the help of a graphic design friend, Nersesian created a geometric and beachy vibe, something that, she says, “fits the PB area.”
“My original idea was to have a lot of green,” said Nersesian. “But after we designed the wallpaper I was like, ‘Let’s go with it.’”
Aside from mixing and matching décor, Nersesian also has a background in mixing drinks, having worked as an operations manager of a bar/restaurant in San Diego for almost nine years. Nersesian and her team of baristas have created some unusually delicious concoctions for the coffee shop since it opened last September.
“We’re working on new drinks for the summer that are healthy spins off cocktails,” said Nersesian.
One of the shop’s more popular drinks is the Matcha Latte, which is layered with matcha tea at the bottom, coconut milk in the middle and hibiscus on top. Also called the “Royal Tea,” the latte comes out with layers of green, white and pink.
But Nersesian’s personal favorite is the Tumeric Latte, mixed with turmeric, honey, vanilla, coconut oil, ginger and steamed milk. The drink is a bright, mustardy yellow and has a spicy kick.
“You could put coffee in it or espresso or just have it herbal,” said Nersesian. “I think we have that perfect balance of herbal and sweet. Plus, it’s good for you.”
The Bean Bar’s unusual design and custom-made beverages have attracted both bloggers and local college students like Alexis Szoke, a sophomore at PLNU, who are looking for a place to study and snap some weekend Instagram photos.
“It’s well-made coffee in a trendy atmosphere,” said Szoke, who lives just a couple blocks from The Grounds and has watched the shop grow into its own. “You could stop in, sit down and spill your sorrows to your barista or meet a friend for a quick cappuccino. There’s even a bar by the window for studying.”
This was exactly the kind of vibe Nersesian and her business partner envisioned for the shop and the very idea that went into its name.
“I just wanted it to be like a meeting ground and have a chill-out kind of vibe,” said Nersesian, who also brings her daughter into work to hang out. “It’s a meeting space but also, you know, there’s the coffee grounds, obviously. And my daughter loves hanging out here. She thinks it’s fun.”
Nersesian says their location next to Rocky’s Crown Pub has also helped The Grounds receive a lot of foot traffic. “People that would normally never see us here will stumble out of Rocky’s and are like, ‘We need a coffee!’” said Nersesian with a giggle. “So that’s always great.”
The Grounds Bean Bar
Where: 1571 La Playa Ave.
Hours: 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.daily.