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Favorite Dive/Authentic Coffee House

Since there was a message about favorite Dive Bar, I thought I would add a favorite 'Dive' Coffee House thread.
I guess 'dive' for a coffeehouse is relative, but I intend it NOT to mean Ritual or blue bottle ...Please.

My favorite is the Beanery on 9th & Irving.

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  1. Caffe Trieste in North Beach.

    1. Authentic is a bit of a loaded term. Caffe Trieste might head the list. Just the same, Simple Pleasure Cafe...definitely divey or has character.

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      Simple Pleasures Cafe
      3434 Balboa St, San Francisco, CA 94121

      8 Replies
      1. re: ML8000

        I go back a ways (going on 50 years) with Caffee Trieste but I think of it as "classic," not divey. Places like "Cofffee Ron's" in the Tenderloin, open 24/7, were truly dives I'n not sure the genre exists today, unless you include donut shops, which can be plenty divey. (A kiddley divey too.)

        1. re: Xiao Yang

          I was thinking along the lines of "authentic"...although what does any of it really mean? I don't think Trieste is divey.

          1. re: Xiao Yang

            Amazing. So I am not the only one here who is old enough to make a sly reference to "Mairzey Doats" ... You whippersnappers can probably find an explanation on Wikipedia.

            1. re: Sushi Monster

              Far from it. Check the whole thread.
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5056...

          2. re: ML8000

            Actually the OP is perfectly clear: coffee house, not cafe.

            Both Trieste and Simple Pleasures have characters to spare.

            The Blue Danube on Clement also comes to mind in this vein, as does Mario's Bohemian Cigar Store esp during the day. We were at Blue Danube recently on a foggy summer Saturday night, and I felt like I'd gone to a different city.

            1. re: Windy

              What's in a word? A Coffee house (or "haus") in Germany or Austria or the US = caffe in Italy = cafe in France.

              If the token is "authenticity" then Caffe Puccini and Caffe Greco have to be included.

              1. re: Xiao Yang

                Quite a lot's in a word. French cafés are almost never dives.

                Coffee houses in Amsterdam serve more than coffee.

                1. re: Windy

                  In France and Amsterdam you're right about the difference but In the U.S. I think cafe, caffe and coffee house are synonymous Most have similar function, although obviously there's differences.

                  Any way I always liked Blue Danube and use go to when I lived in the Richmond. Nice mellow place. The only I thing was it seemed to close early.

                  Any way, if you're talking "funk" and charm, I get your point. When I wanted to feel like in a different city, I'd go to Java Beach in the Sunset...not super funky but different.

          3. Philz is definitely a dive, though it looks like they cleaned and organized quite a bit recently. Still a hippie dive (this is a plus in my book, in case you were wondering).

            2 Replies
            1. re: Atomica

              I guess what I was trying to emphasize was a non-hipster coffee house, I call them dives, but they may have different symbolism to another person.

              I used to work in a coffee house, and it was my favorite job, although it did not pay much. I love coffee and I enjoy the higher quality coffees coming out of the newer places, but I am just burned out on the hyper-obsession of perfect coffee and the hipster scene. Maybe I am wrong, but it I think it is cheesy. Do you really want to wait 2 hours for a capp at Ritual Sunday morning? I guess I am somewhat nostalgic for the gritty coffee houses of Mission/Bernal that was a mix of Poets, families, and students.

              1. re: Agrippa

                In that case, La Boheme is much the same as ever. Sounds like you should head to Philz.

                No one waits 2 hours at Ritual though.

            2. Let us not forget the grandaddy of them all, Cafe Mediterraneum in Berkeley. The Med defines the coffee house genre and has been there longer, even, than Xiao Yang or myself have been around.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Sharuf

                Caffe Trieste predates the Med by a few years, but Lino Meiorin is often credited with inventing Caffe Latte as we know it over there there. The Med as I knew it in the 60's certainly qualified as a dive, by any definition.

              2. La Boheme is classic, I used to hang out there a lot.

                1. I'm a little thrown off by The Beanery example, because it's not really old, funky or divey in my opinion, but you're getting some good suggestions.

                  You might try this thread as well.
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/540626

                  Also, Higher Grounds in Glen Park comes to mind.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: sugartoof

                    If Higher Grounds qualifies, then I'd add Progressive Grounds on Cortland. Not only is their back room very grotto-like, it's been completely filthy dirty for the 4 years I've lived here. That's very dive-like.

                    1. re: Atomica

                      When is the last time you were at Progressive Grounds? It's been under new management for a good while now and the owner cleaned it up and built and put in new (matching) furniture.

                      1. re: Euonymous

                        I got there quite frequently.