Ships Coffee Shop

Oh how I miss ships and the toasters on the counters! A true Southern California Coffee Shop treasure, Ships Restaurant, epitomized all that was right about the googie age. Designed by Martin Stern Jr., Ships was famous for its Coffee Shop Modern style, from the restaurant itself to the spellbinding "space-age" marquee in front. From the busy West Los Angeles location near village Westwood to the La Cienega hotspot, Ships was a favorite hangout for both Southern California locals and passersby. This coffee shop may have been a warm-up before tackling the Vegas Strip in the 1950's. But alas, like all good things, the beloved Ships closed in the 90's. Ships is another epic teenage memory. I'll never forget taking a homeless "Wild Man Fisher" there for a pastrami sandy.

Notice the lighting fixtures, straight from the 1960's.


  1. This is Mr. Ships;
    We served 50 million customers in three
    stores from 1956 to 1996. Our customers
    knew the quality and value difference at
    Ship's. In the LA Weekly Ask Mr. Gold
    I think were listed 8 times for various
    fav foods in LA that people miss alot. We
    like the blogspots but we try to keep information correct. Thx

    1. Gypsy Boots was militant Vegan!

  2. I used to sit there all night drinking tea and reading my books. As long as you paid for the drinks and didn't look dangerous nobody cared how long you sat there.

  3. Thank you, Alison Martino, for posting this. It's bitterweet to read about it. I lived in LA area in the mid-'60s and then again from '84 until the mid-'90s, and never got to Ships, though I drove right by two of them often enough. I wish I had stopped in. I guess I was always too focused on where I was going.

    For those who enjoy knowing exact locations, I found the following information about the addresses. If anyone has street numbers for the La Cienega and Westwood Ships, I'd enjoy seeing them. Thanks:

    *The La Cienega Ships was described by The Santa Monica Evening Outlook as being "on La Cienega and Olympic boulevards" in an article about its closing written by April Hawarden and posted on the web site.

    *The Culver City Ships was at 10705 Washington Blvd., according to a Dec. 20, 195?news item about its opening, written by Carol Culver in an unidentified paper, posted on that same web site.

    *The Westwood Ships was described as being at the "corner of Glendon Ave. and Wilshire Blvd." in a caption under a photo from the "Los Angeles Times photographic archive, UCLA Library," also posted on the web site.

    Thanks again, Alison Martino, your photos and words bring back many treasured memories.


  4. Hi,

    Please cite your sources. I took one of the photos you posted on this page. See


  5. Great post Alison

    Many years ago when my old man moved to LA (late 70's to late 80's), I used to come and visit him from England. He was often at work and to kill some time i would wander up to the Westwood Ships on Wilshire to make toast. Make your own food - genius. He lived on Ashton Avenue and i recall it was a bit of a walk - especially as i was regularly pulled over by the cops - "people in LA dont walk son". But the walk was worth it. Coffee you could stand the spoon in and decor straight out of the Rockford Files. For a kid from punk rock torn England this was real Rock N Roll. Watching the world go by and hoping some cute lass would chat to be because i was reading (looking at the pictures) Dostoevsky. Happy Days. Thanks Again. Neil


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