Max Bloom's Cafe Noir is a film-lover's gold mine
Max Bloom's Cafe Noir is decorated with framed screenshots from film noir movies, old records and screenplays. | Amy Seed/THE CHIMES
A man cast in shadow stands guard out front while Marilyn Monroe poses inside the entryway. Scattered rows of theater seats face the lone microphone centered against the back wall. Jazz plays in the background.
Customers sip coffee or pair a sandwich with a cold bottled soda, taken from the 1940s ice box near the counter. Framed black and white movie screenshots shimmer on the wall as they catch the reflection from the overhead lights.
Movie poster prints stand upright in a box, waiting for buyers to claim them. Screenplays are stacked on a shelf, prompting enthusiasts to flip page after page and experience new stories.
Welcome to film fanatic heaven.
Max Bloom’s Cafe Noir in Fullerton screams film noir. This place has character — even two stand-up cutout characters: the man cast in shadow and Monroe. Everything about the theater seats, the games near the entrance, the film posters on the walls and the stands of vintage books makes it appealing.
The cafe is tucked away on Malden Street, and it is easy to miss if you aren’t paying close attention. Malden is not a main street, and if you come from Chapman Avenue, you won’t even see the street sign — it’s missing.
Great food but cash-only venue
Max Bloom’s has it all. Breakfast is served all day, and they also offer lunch and dinner. The menu mainly consists of sandwiches and soup. They also make five different types of grilled cheese sandwiches. The combo meals come with bagged chips or pasta salad. I tried the turkey panini paired with pasta salad, and I would definitely recommend it.
An important thing to note about Max Bloom’s is they only accept cash, so come prepared. Prices are reasonable and cheaper than chain coffee shops like Starbucks. Most meals cost about $6 while snacks and baked goods vary from $1-2. All 16-ounce coffees are under $4.
Prime study location
The atmosphere is my favorite thing about Max Bloom’s. Maximum occupancy is 10 people, so it’s a quiet, low key place. Tables are few, but there are also a few couches and theater seats situated near coffee tables. Seating is available outside as well, where you can still be shaded from the afternoon sun.
Max Bloom’s offers free wi-fi access with purchase. After you pay, just ask the cashier for the password.
Cafe supports and engages with local community
It is a fantastic place to study -- just make sure you go in the afternoon while it’s quiet. They host weekly events during the evenings from 8-10. Every Tuesday night, they show a movie from the film noir genre to customers for free. They have open mic nights and jam sessions Wednesday and Thursday nights, and they have comedy open mic nights every Friday. Live music is every Saturday night. I have not attended any of these events, but the flyer warns they may contain adult content. So be advised to attend at your own discretion. The schedule of events is on their website’s calendar.
The cafe also features a new local artist every month and sells baked goods and crafts from the community. Vintage copies of popular books are on sale for $4.95, and DVDs can be purchased for $15. The movie poster prints are $5 each.
If you love films, old books or locally-owned cafes, you’ll love Max Bloom’s.