SF cafe with free wifi and good lattes + food?
Hi SF Hounds,
Here's my story and request -
I'm applying to business schools this fall, and need a cafe where I can work on my applications (so free wifi), get a salad/sandwich for lunch, and some great lattes/cappucinos/chai...you get my drift. Does it exist? I'd prefer not to go the Peets and Starbucks route.
I have a spot in NYC (Grounded on Jane St. - in case any of you are visiting, I highly recommend it), but I have to believe there must be something comparable in SF.
I'm coming back to visit family in CA for 2 weeks and getting anything done with family at home is challenging, at best. Hence, I need a spot where I won't get the evil eye for lingering for hours (I'll keep ordering caffeine every few hours of course). Any ideas?
I'm pretty much open to anywhere in SF.
maybe Cafe Los Cubanos in Laurel Heights.
[i havnt been in a while and i know they cut back their late night hours,
but assume they still have free wifi + ok food and coffee].
also parking is easy in that area.
there is a lot of food near ritual roasters, but the food options there are limited.
it can get pretty noisy at ritual, which some people can't handle if they are trying to study/get work done, though some people thrive on it. also, the past two times i have been there (months ago and several months between each incident), someone has run in from the street and grabbed someone's laptop and run out, escaping with the property. in the most recent event i saw, the person was sitting at the table with her laptop in front of her and had just leaned down to get something out of her bag on the floor. in that moment, her laptop was stolen. maybe i'm bad luck, who knows. too bad, since it really is very good coffee.
though i wouldn't walk away from my laptop at panera (when ordering, take laptop and valuables, leave books), i am not worried about looking away either.
i have been to ritual more than 50 times (probably approaching 100) and have
never seen a laptop theft there. on the other hand, i know somebody who was
stabbed and had his laptop boosted at a different mission cafe.
so i'd say:
1. the odds of getting your laptop stolen there is "low"
2. this is probably a "mission phenomena" and not that specific to RR
ritual coffee is decent, but if we're getting to "very best", i'd have to give
the nod to the Blue Bottle "chemistry lab" by the Mint.
note: lately the back half of the RR cafe space is filled with coffee bags ...
the number of seats has been cut back ... on the other hand, what's
left is still bigger than a lot of small cafes.
ritual also has reasonably long hours ... but again the issue there
is "meal food" is not an option, and the snack food is only ok.
i've been in the market for late nite + food + free wifi cafes too ...
and frankly i think you have to prioritize ... especially if you
are going to add location is SF, parking ease etc. e.g. free wifi
might be non-negotiable, but so-so coffee might be ok.
there is a cafe around on northbound/east side of guerroro between
16th and 17th that has ok sadwiches, ok coffee, free wifi ... i dont remember
their name. i think sugarlump on 24th quite bad coffee and would avoid them,
if coffee is a big priority.
i guess you could invest in a high gain antenna and just pick up a free
wifi signal in the neightborhood :-)
panera has been a real winner for bar study and has free wifi. they don't mind at ALL if you sit there all day and nurse a tea or coffee (free refills too!). i have never gotten even a hint of a look. instead, all smiles. and though you have to get up to order your food, you don't have to stand around waiting for it to be ready. they bring it to you, and they bus your table when you're done eating. there are electrical outlets everywhere; they know what's up.
the coffee is not good, but the tea is (and have as many tea bags as you like). and some of the food is pretty good too. is it chow? um... well, it's usually tasty, reasonably priced, and it gets walked to your table. would i go there for a sandwich alone? no. would i sit there for nine hours and eat two meals there? absolutely.
you can get there easily on the N or T. on weekends, park down the block from caltrain because the hourly zones don't apply.
Free Wi-fi seems to be pretty much SOP for indy coffee houses in SF these days, so the key is to find coffee and food you like. I was partial to Eguna Basque in North Beach for a good strong and fast wifi, a macchiato and a light lunch (if you consider a Croque Monsieur "light"), but I see they've repositioned themselves as a crepe restaurant though still with free wifi.