The LAB anti-mall, Costa Mesa 🍴🛍

the LAB cover w text

Location: 2930 Bristol St, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

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Hours:Monday-Thursday & Sunday (10am – 9pm) , Friday & Saturday (10am – 10pm) *individual store hours may vary

Accommodations:

  • Dietary: yay, there is an abundance of gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options!
  • Physical: there are no stairs and there is handicap parking available, shade is provided throughout the venue
  • Etc.: child and pet-friendly (children may not find the area much fun since there is limited space but it’s a great spot for pre-teens; dogs are not allowed in some stores), restrooms available

Best for: quirky shops, vegan/vegetarian/gluten-free food, dessert

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Ahh hipster paradise.. boutiquey stores, vegan-friendly restaurants, and quirky décor. Whether your a proud, wave-your-hipster-flag-in-the-air person or just an admirer of the fad, the LAB is a fun place to come if you have a spare hour or so.

I don’t really understand the ‘anti-mall’ part, because it is definitely a mall – there is food and there are shops – maybe it’s just an angsty hipster thing 🤷🏽‍♀️. I’ve created a directory of the stores, restaurants, and cafés which can be found here, along with photos from the companies’ or the LAB’s instagram. Fasten your suspenders, grab an iced, non-fat, soy-almond-coconut-macadamia-cashew-camel-milk matcha green tea boba, and enter the land of the hipster’s counter-culture culture 💫.

Directory:

Apparel/Lifestyle

- Blends -

Men’s and Women’s shoes, apparel, and accessories.

- Brandswalk -

Lifestyle accessories (i.e. “backpacks, bags, cases, watches, headphones, & speakers”).

- Buffalo Exchange -

New & Recycles Men’s and Women’s apparel & accessories.

- Creme Tangerine Records -

Music memorabilia in an Airstream.

- Crew Cuts -

My Grammy cuts my hair in her backyard, and I can’t remember the last time I got my hair cut in a salon, but it was probably at SuperCuts. If I didn’t have my talented Grammy, this seems like a cool place to come to get some cranial TLC.

- Eye Society

Men’s and Women’s high-end optics store.

- May Martin -

Hand-made, ethically-sourced, minimalist jewelry (i.e. earrings, bracelets, anklets, necklaces).

- The Little Penguin Shop -

Clothing and accessories for the most fashionable hipster babies out there.

- Red & Blue Vintage

Western-style clothing and accessories.

- Urban Outfitters

Selling their typical Men’s and Women’s clothing and accessories.

Food

- Calipoke -

Customizable poke bowls (choose your base, fish, sauce, and extras), along with a selection of rolls, and Japanese beer and sake.

- Gypsy Den Café -

Almost entirely vegetarian, they also offer many vegan and meat options.

- Good Town Donuts -

Exclusively vegan menu – donuts, cinnamon rolls, and coffee. They offer exotic flavors like macha, toasted coconut, and strawberry lemonade!

- Habana -

Traditional Cuban meals served during lunch and dinner everyday with incredible brunch displays on Sundays.

- Hana Re -

Also traditional to its origin’s heritage, only omasake (chef’s choice) and a tasting menu are offered.

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- Honey & Butter Macarons -

Made-from-scratch daily, these macarons are prone to selling out quickly once they open at noon (they do accept pre-orders)!

 - L.A. Brisket -

They serve a variety of meats – brisket, chicken, pulled pork, and pork ribs – by the pound and in sandwiches and bowls alongside their assortment of sides.

- Nook Coffee -

They have a simple menu with some very talented baristos/as creating beautiful latte art with a whole lotta heart 😉

- Popbar -

This pop-ular (okay, I’ll stop with the puns) ‘gelato on a stick’ franchise has found a comfortable home here – in the summertime it is hard to find someone who isn’t holding one or isn’t in line to get one. Choose your flavor and accompanying toppings, then snap away!

- Ruin Bar -

This place is hard to describe – it’s a pirate ship/English pub/cat-obsessed Grandmother’s house kind of place 🤔. Safe to say, it’s odd but works with the spirit of the LAB. They have a nice outdoor space and serve some (surprisingly) typical beverages.

- Seabirds Kitchen -

They offer some Mexican foods, Asian foods, and an interesting Mexican-Asian option – their kimchi taco. They’re completely plant-based and organic, but they don’t limit their patrons to blasé salads.

*If you’re thinking the LAB might make your skin crawl from the undeniable hipsterness but you like the sound of Seabirds, check out our article on their Long Beach location!

You may unstrap your suspenders now so you can lace up your vintage Nikes and come on over! It’s conveniently located between the 405 freeway and highways 73 and 55; so, if you’re traveling through the area, make sure you have enough storage on your phone for about a hundred photos, then stop by for lunch, dessert, and some shopping.

Thanks so much for your read and please comment with any pointers and feedback – we love to know how we can improve and what we’re doing well!

Happy travels,

Pete and Kiana

All photos have been supplied by companies’ or the LAB’s instagram.

We received no compensation for this article – all opinions are our own.

briggy LAB cover
For some context – Pete had just stopped Briggs from peeing on the greenery so he’s giving Pete the stink eye 😂.

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