Los Angeles has a few remaining examples of programmatic architecture (buildings that look like things): the NoHo bar that looks like a barrel and its back-patio event space that looks like a bulldog; the hot dog stand that is a hot dog (currently out of town for restoration); the East LA building that is a tamale. But Long Beach apparently has just one last programmatic building— a former café that looks like an old-timey coffee percolator. Once threatened with demolition, the building has new owners who are looking to completely revitalize the place.
According to a release from reps for the property owners, the building—known as both the Hot Cha Café and the Koffee Pot Café—dates back to 1932. Its earliest use was as a coffee shop, and it remained one until the 1960s. Between then and now, it's been a barber shop and, most recently, a weed dispensary, says the Long Beach Post, though it's been vacant since 2010. Early last year, the coffee pot had a brush with the wrecking ball, but it seems that demolition was only presented as a way for Long Beach officials to spur the then-owner to restore the building, which is a city landmark.
The current owners of the Hot Cha structure, Long Beach Development, LLC, bought the property in late 2014, and were approved last month to repaint the coffee pot in historically accurate colors (determined through an analysis of the layers of paint on the structure), replace the windows with leaded glass meant to look like the Hot Cha's original stained glass, and "A new stained glass globe mounted atop the building" to replace one taken down in 2007. Long Beach Development is already looking for a café-type tenant or, naturally, a coffee shop to move into the historic structure as soon as the external renovations are done.
· Inside the Remarkable Restoration of LA's Last Barrel Building [Curbed LA]
· Watch the Tail O' the Pup Get On Its Way to Restoration [Curbed LA]