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Arts District Coffee and Bicycle Hangout The Wheelhouse Closes Shop

The place two years

The Wheelhouse
Joshua Lurie
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

It’s the end of the road for cycling-focused Arts District coffee spot The Wheelhouse. The funky hideaway wasn’t super easy to find at first, tucked back beyond The Factory Kitchen down what basically amounted to an alleyway, but it managed to find a local footing not only within the neighboring community, but amongst riders of all stripes.

The Wheelhouse first came to life in late 2015, operating from a tall, open warehouse with roll-up doors to the outside. The coffee portion was actually rather modest — just a long communal table and lounge area inside, mostly — while the majority of the space was used for bicycle repair and merchandise. Coffee and cycling are common partners, of course, as evidenced by other similarly-themed shops like A Bloc on York in Highland Park.

The final day of service for The Wheelhouse came just before the new year, with owners Tami and Chase Spenst putting out a lengthy blast on social media informing fans of the “hard decision” to close. The full statement is below:

The Wheelhouse began as an experiment in creating community. For two transplants who felt lost in LA’s massive expanse, we built the thing we were searching for. We believed in the connecting power of coffee and bikes and we imagined a place where the two existed under one roof to bring people together and inspire a better way of living. And we were right. Turns out, we built the thing other people were also looking for. ⠀ ⠀ The past two years have been epic. I don’t think we were quite prepared for the support and love we would be met with, for the friends we would make, for the family we would all become. This community is everything we ever wanted. We are so proud and humbled by it all. ⠀ ⠀ As it goes, our challenges and experiences and obstacles and successes shaped The Wheelhouse into something much different than the local bike shop + coffee shop we first set out to build. Over the past two years, the mission has grown and with it, our plans for the future. And so, to make room for that, to take this where it’s going- we have decided to close our Arts District location. ⠀ ⠀ We’d be lying if we said this wasn’t a hard decision. Hard isn’t even the half of it. We thought The Wheelhouse would grow up here. Our blood, sweat and tears are poured into the paint of this place. ⠀ ⠀ We are still plotting out our new course- maybe it’s a new space, maybe it’s something totally different, maybe it’s something in between- but whatever it is, we’re taking our community with us. The thing is, The Wheelhouse is not a space, it’s people. We built something truly special and that is not confined to four walls and it does not end with the closing of these particular doors. In fact, we are just getting started. ⠀ ⠀ This Saturday 12/30 will be our last day of business. Come in and have one last coffee with us. We’ll say farewell to 2017 together and toast to the future- one that is big and bright. ⠀ ⠀ With our love and infinite appreciation- Chase + Tami⠀

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