Monday, March 30, 2015

Ten Best Writing Cafes in San Francisco

Ok, I can't definitively claim that these are absolute best places to write in the city, but they are my favorites so far in the few months that I've been living here.  When I'm working on a novel, there's nothing I like better than to settle in at an atmospheric cafe with a cup of joe, and perhaps a chocolate croissant or bagel with cream cheese, to spend couple of hours cranking out the words.

My strong preference is for independently owned cafes (sorry Starbucks), with plenty of tables, where I don't have to feel like I'm taking up space hanging out for a while on my laptop.  Most of these places are within walking distance from where I'm living in the Mission District.

#1 Cafe du Soleil - Lower Haight

I love the easy-going European vibe of this French cafe.  It draws a regular crowd, including a fair few French-speakers.

They can be busy on weekends and in the evenings, but often during the week there is plenty of room available for laptop jockeys like myself.  Good music selection too, with 1920's jazz tunes complementing the atmosphere.

#2 Maxfield's House of Caffeine - Mission Dolores

This place always seems to have tables available, plus it's in a pretty corner location on Dolores St. with lots of light coming through the large windows.  The vibe here is 70's kitsch.  Fresh flowers on the center table every day are a nice touch.

#3 Borderlands - Mission District

Attached to the nearly closed down, but miraculously saved Borderlands Bookstore on Valencia St., this cafe is full of laptop users.  Can be hard to find a table sometimes, but no pressure to move along once you do.

#4 Church Street Cafe -Duboce Triangle

Good coffee, relaxed vibe, and they also have tasty Bahn Mi sandwiches, chicken or pork, for just $5.50, tax included.

#5 Simple Pleasures - Outer Richmond

This one is out on Balboa St. not far from the beach in the Richmond District.  Going out here, it feels a little bit like you've escaped the big city and are in a cafe in some chill beach town up the coast.  No problems hanging out on a laptop as long as you'd like, and parking isn't too bad either.  Find a spot off the main drag and you don't have to pay a meter (but watch out for street sweeping days).

Honorable Mentions

Cafe Sophie - 16th near Market St., Castro.  Nice atmosphere.  A little on the small side, though, which means tables can be hard to come by.

Coffee Bar - Bryant Street, Mission District.  This place can fill up, and a lot of their tables are off limits to laptops during lunch hours.  Hip, industrial vibe. Apple users flock here.

Caffe Greco - North Beach.  Fantastic North Beach location, Italian style, lots of indoor and outdoor seating.  You can't go wrong with this place.  If I lived closer I'd be here all the time.

Bean There Cafe - Lower Haight.  This one is a block away from Cafe du Soleil, and while it doesn't have quite the atmosphere, it is definitely laptop friendly and usually has at least a table or two available.
Momi Toby's Revolution Art Cafe - Hayes Valley.  I like this place, but at $3.25, a regular mug of coffee is a bit pricey.  New owner seems like a nice guy, though.  No wireless, but for me that's good.  I get more work done that way.

So that's it.  I hope anybody looking for a cafe to get some work done in SF gains a little something from this list, and if anybody has suggestions for other places to try, by all means leave a comment below!

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