Indie Coffee Shops to Perch & Work
There’s something singularly compelling about a great coffee shop—particularly when you’re trying to pound out an overdue novel/screenplay/thesis/PowerPoint something. The presence of other procrastinators, the really good coffee, the ambient buzz of community are inherently appealing. It’s not all that surprising that the number of work-friendly cafés is constantly on the rise, so we’ve updated our guide to reflect the latest and greatest spots in ten major cities, whether you drop in for quick macchiato or set up shop for the afternoon. (We’ve noted when they don’t offer internet, a blessing for those who can’t get off email. You know who you are.)
Sightglass Coffee270 7th St., SoMa
This is where legit coffee aficionados go to procure house-roasted beans to grind and brew at home. That said, the bi-level café itself is beautiful, airy, and lively—a really fun place to while away an afternoon (no Wifi, but plenty of room) and watch as the pros load sacks of beans into the massive Probat roaster. There's also a location in the Mission.
Ritual Coffee Roasters1026 Valencia St., Mission | 415.641.1011
Many credit Ritual with being the first truly gourmet coffee shop in the city. Now, 11 years and five bustling S.F. locations later, they still brew arguably the best cup in town. Because people have been known to get hooked on their meticulously sourced blends, a coffee club was launched to make sure out-of-towners can get their hands on the good stuff. There's no WiFi here, but plenty of space.
Asha Tea House2086 University Ave., Berkeley | 510.549.9137
The guys behind Asha are unabashedly obsessed with all varieties and types of tea. In fact, they're so into tea that they actually MacGyver-ed their own pour-over device that steeps their blends for the perfect amount of time; plus, you'll drink it out of a mug or cup specifically designed for your tea. The roomy space, with its tall ceilings and long linen lanterns, is a lovely place to spend an afternoon. The Berkeley flagship is a classic, though they just opened a second location Downtown.
The Social Study1795 Geary Blvd., Western Addition | 415.292.7417
Stop by The Social Study during the day, and you might think the space had been specifically engineered for working and studying—a blue, tufted leather wall along the side of the room is outfitted with individualized study stations, each chair/table combination banked by fold-down shelves on either side. At night, the shelves turn into chairs at bar-height tables, and the space becomes one of the area's best cocktail lounges, with a great drink menu and frequent guest DJs.
Jane on Fillmore2123 Fillmore St., Pacific Heights | 415.931.5263
The décor at Jane is adorably cozy, centering on a shiny red espresso machine and quietly elegant black-and-white wallpaper. The creative eye behind these subtle touches is interior designer Ken Fulk, who's known for some of the city's most beautiful restaurants. The menu is worthy of the décor, serving up homemade baked goods and Stumptown coffee alongside a lunchtime menu of sandwiches and salads. It's a pretty popular place and the line can get long, so show up early—and while there is free Wifi and you'll see laptops, it's more of a read-the-newspaper than a write-your-thesis kind of joint.
The Creamery685 4th St., SoMa | 415.896.1446
The Creamery is directly across the street from the SoMa Caltrain station, so if you live in the neighborhood it's a no-brainer for coffee for your commute. With rustic décor, a wide patio, and a full menu (french toast, crêpes) that emphasizes great breakfast and brunch, it feels like a hometown spot, in the best way. The free Wifi means it's a common haunt for entrepreneurs that live in the area.
Coffee Bar1890 Bryant St., Financial District | 415.551.8100
Coffee Bar sources their coffee from Mr. Espresso, a legendary San Francisco roaster who's been making coffee in the city since the '70s. All three of their locations (the others are on Kearney and Montgomery Street) are set up specifically with workers/studiers in mind, so there are plenty of outlets, and everyone else will be heads down, too. At this location, there's a lovely upstairs space that's extremely quiet, and the big wide garage windows keep the space light and airy all afternoon.
Haus3086 24th St., Mission | 415.374.7353
Haus is the minimalist studier's paradise—it's light-filled and simply decorated with a pine wood bar and beams, white walls, and concrete floors. Plus, they have a lovely patio if it's warm enough to sit outside. There's plenty of seating, which means you can camp out for the afternoon without feeling guilty about taking up so much space.