Get to know your neighborhood coffee shop owner! Check out our interview below with Clabe!

2015 Interview by Venice Paparazzi’s Alex Stowell.

“A giant fist bump to Venice’s warrior brother Clabe Hartley.  Osss… congratulations on another trip around the sun! Happy birthday!  We love you!”

The Cow’s End Cafe has been serving coffee, sandwiches, smoothies and more to Venice and MDR residents for 29 years (now 34 years). It is a beloved institution where the locals hang.  Today we are going to meet the man who started it all, Clabe Hartley.  Clabe is a pit bull loving, life long martial artist who listens to the Eagles, likes to eat lobster and cites The Godfather as his favorite movie.

Clabe and Thor on the Venice Boardwalk. RIP Thor!

Clabe was born in a poor town in Panama, and spent his early child hood on a street where the  name translates to “get out if you can.”
Well, Clabe did get out.  His family  moved to Chicago and he spent his teenage years in Old town Chicago, where he learned to box at the YMCA and developed a fondness for local coffee houses.
Moving to California as a young man, Clabe met a man who would change his life, his Sensei, Ohshima. Ohshima had a dojo in Santa Monica that looked like “someone had turned back the hands of time.” With wooden floors, a non-violent, compassionate approach and tea served after training, it was here that Clabe learned more than Karate.  He learned the “art of Zen.”

Years later, when Clabe eloped with his wife Thea, it was a priest and  Sensei Ohshima that presided over the ceremony in Little Tokyo.

When Clabe decided to build a coffee house and live above it, people thought he was nuts. But, doing things the normal way has never been the way Clabe rolls.  His wife is 30 years his junior and  he had his first child at 55.  Clabe has an 8th grade education and a daughter, Seaf, who is  in college. Hartley  credits his “instincts greater than intellect” as the primary reason for his success. And finds truth in Einstein’s saying that “the more he knew, the more he recognized that there must be a superior intelligence.”

So, drawing on his memories of Panama and Chicago as coffee houses being a “community gathering for culture,” The Cows End was born.

And, if you would like to taste something directly inspired by Clabe’ youth, try the Latin Cappuccino. It is condensed milk, steamed 1/2 and 1/2 and two shots of espresso, just like the Panamanian ladies used to serve in Clabe’s birthplace.

Clabe, Thea and Seaf Hartley


Fun fact! Here is Clabe in his modeling days! Photo courtesy of Thea Hartley

Stop by, say hi to Clabe, and enjoy The Cow’s End Cafe’s upgraded outdoor and street patio!

“It’s not just The Cow Coffee, it’s the Experience.”

  • “Where the Locals Hang”
  • Coffee•Espresso•Tea•Fresh Juice•Açaí•Deli•Grub
  • 1/2 Block From the Beach/Venice Pier
  • Only the BEST and Freshest Goes In!
  • No Preservatives or Artificial Ingredients Added.
  • We Use Organic as Much as Possible.
  • We Make Everything to Order.
  • We Use Only Boar’s Head Meat and Cheeses.
  • The Cow’s End Cafe Buys from Local Baker’s and Purveyors Freshly Delivered Daily.
  • Substitute Any of Our Signature Sandwich Bread for a Gluten Free Bread.
  • Doggy Biscuits Available for Our 4 Legged Cow Junkies.

View menus on grubhub.  Gift cards also available.

Fun fact: 

The Cow’s End Cafe Has Been Giving Free Coffee to First Responders For 30 Years, And Still Are!  Now doctors, nurses certified nurse assistant’s, medics can also enjoy a cup of coffee on the house from The Cow’s End Cafe. Now let’s support The Cow’s End Cafe, a family owned business since 1989.

  • Hours:  Mon-Thurs is 6:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and Fri – Sun is 6:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Call the café at 310-574-1080

The Cow’s End Cafe.  34 Washington Blvd.  |  Venice, CA 90292  | By the Venice Pier |
Join the Cow’s End Cafe on facebook and Instagram!

Thank You to Our Partners