Before they married, Chase and Tami Spenst spent a lot of time biking around the Historic Core, and in the process fell in love with downtown Los Angeles.
“We found all these interesting parts of this very rich community we didn’t see when driving past,” Chase Spenst said. “We looked for any reason to ride bikes to new places, like when trying new restaurants.”
The couple is parlaying that passion for cycling into the Wheelhouse, a bicycle lifestyle shop and coffee bar that will open on the Factory Place’s mixed-use campus at 1375 E. Sixth St. in the Arts District around the end of summer.
The cavernous 3,700-square-foot space will feature vintage-inspired steel bicycles starting at about $599 as well as accessories such as bike bags and helmets. The concept is less a sporting goods store and more a lifestyle shop meant to connect the community around bicycles.
To that end, two-wheeled enthusiasts will be able to pop in for a cup of artisanal coffee at a café designed by Tyler Wells, one of the partners behind Handsome Coffee Roasters, an Arts District staple bought by Oakland’s Blue Bottle Coffee Inc. last year.
“Ten years ago you had to do something very special and absolutely be a destination,” Wells said of opening a shop in the Arts District. “Now you have this density and velocity in the neighborhood. You have traffic. … A lot of people live down here.”
The Arts District appealed to the Spensts because of continuing development in the neighborhood coupled with an increasing parking shortage that makes cycling attractive, not to mention the area’s creative vibe, Chase Spenst said.
He added that the Wheelhouse will eventually serve beer and wine.
“The whole purpose is to create a community around the lifestyle,” he said. “We didn’t want this to be this community that is open until 5 and then you have to find somewhere else to go.”
You know changes are afoot downtown when a popular Beverly Hills restaurant closes its doors and sets up shop in the Historic Core.
Austrian chef Bernhard Mairinger, who cut his teeth at Patina, has closed his BierBeisl and rethought the concept as BierBeisl Imbiss, which opened in the Spring Arcade Building last month.
Mairinger said the Beverly Hills location was successful, but the new 2,800-square-foot space at 541 S. Spring St. has nearly twice the room as the old one.
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