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Coffee shops/Cafe's in SF

I want to create a list of coffee shops of cafe's with great character/nice view in SF. Some place where we can go and hang out with friends or just browse the internet, do some people watching. comfy seating is definitely a plus, sidewalk seating is nice too. I guess the food/coffee should be atleast decent. Basically a place to go unwind. Being from Sacto, it's hard to know the cool neighborhood places...:) Location is not important.

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  1. I would guess view is not going to be something that is going to come up much.

    I'm going to throw out a place I know would not ever get mentioned, Caffe BaoNecci. I'm starting to get more and more reluctant to mention the place because I like the character so much and don't want to see it over run. The coffee is from Italy as are the owners. I adore sitting there at opening time with the Italian neighbors dropping in to pick up their bread for the day or grab a cup and sit and chat. The tables are communal and there are two outdoor tables. They do special Italian stuff for holidays like donuts for St. Joseph's Day and Easter breads.

    Caffe BaoNecci
    516 Green St, San Francisco, CA

    1. Coffee Bar at Bryant and Mariposa is great. Very good coffee drinks, pastries and some light bites. Modern, comfortable space inside. A nice patio area out front. Lots of neighborhood people hanging out. No view.

      Axis Cafe at the bottom of Potrero (16th & 8th) is also good for what you want, although no view. They have a large outdoor area in back.

      Coffee Bar
      1890 Bryant St, San Francisco, CA 94110

      Axis Cafe
      1201 8th Street, San Francisco, CA 94107

      2 Replies
      1. re: Shane Greenwood

        No view but we really liked Cavalli in North Beach -- the Danilo coffee is very smooth and drinkable, very tasty house-made cannoli, and they have WiFi.

        Cavalli Books & Cafe
        1441 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94133

      2. This could become a long, long list. But here are three I'll toss into the ring:

        Revolution Cafe is my favorite people watching scene in the Mission. Decent beers and wine and some nice food too. The occasional live music. A lot of fun.

        On those seemingly rare warm, sunny afternoons down by Ocean Beach, hanging out at Java Beach can be a lot of fun. Nice destination for a bike ride, or a nice place to end a walk on Ocean Beach. The coffee and food? Not so memorable, but not bad either.

        If you happen to be anywhere nearby, Axis Cafe offers some really fine coffee and food in a comfortable, spacious, and stylish place. They also have a some nice, sheltered outdoor seating for sunny days.

        Java Beach
        1396 La Playa St, San Francisco, CA 94122

        Axis Cafe
        1201 8th Street, San Francisco, CA 94107

        Revolution Cafe
        3248 22nd St, San Francisco, CA 94110

        1. Perhaps I'm over looking things but I don't recall any cafes with views...seems too valuable a commodity that a full restaurant wouldn't take advantage of.

          Some of my favs in the City: Atlas, Farley's, Muddy Waters, Simple Pleasures, Thinkers.

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

          1315 18th St, San Francisco, CA

          Atlas Cafe
          3049 20th St, San Francisco, CA

          Muddy Water's Coffee House
          78 29th St, San Francisco, CA

          Thinkers Cafe
          1631 20th St, San Francisco, CA

          1. I like Apollo Coffee in NoPa/Western Addition:
            big, open contemporary space, modern (yet comfy) furniture, organic coffees, teas - and some of the best grilled panini sandwiches in town. Wi-Fi is free and the fresh pastries rock.
            Big windows - no view though, except for onto the traffic on Divis ...

            Apollo Coffee
            1064 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, CA

            1. Crossroads Cafe on Delancy and Brannan near the Bay Bridge is nice. There's a nice outdoor patio where you can probably look up at the bridge, but there's no view inside. No free WiFi either, but there are comfortable couches and lots of magazines to look at. The coffee is not the best though.

              Crossroads Cafe
              699 Delancey St, San Francisco, CA 94107

              1. Cafe Greco in North Beach is worth mentioning for people watching and character. Certainly qualifies for sidewalk seating too. The coffee is good (I think they serve Illy), the vibe is Italian, the neighborhood is pretty touristy.

                Caffe Greco
                423 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

                1. The Beanery on 9th and Irving.
                  Good Coffee and a good mix of people.

                  1. For the heck of it, I put together a map/list of the cafes so far. Probably won't keep it up, snce this could get to be a long list. But here it is: http://www.chow.com/lists/1735

                    If only they's add a map-this-thread feature...

                    While making the map I had to add the De Young Museum cafe and the Crissy Field Warming Hut not because of their WiFi but because of their views.

                    1. Already sounds like a great list, looking forward to trying out a few this sunday if I get the chance. I liked one on fillmore, I think it was called groove. Although they didn't have free wireless and the food/coffeee is just ok.
                      Thanks all.

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: stingrayy990

                        There is also a Grove on Chestnut, though I haven't been in a zillion years. I check as I drive by to see if it is still there when I'm in the area, and it still seems to be there.

                          1. re: stingrayy990

                            Back to your original question, it's a list of roasters versus a list of cafes. I love Blue Bottle Coffee, but there are many better cafes for reading, working, talking to friends. So it kind of depends what you're looking for.

                            Was just at the new Grove on Hayes, and they serve Verve btw. It's quite a scene, but the chocolate chip cookies will keep you going all day.

                            Blue Bottle Cafe
                            66 Mint St, San Francisco, CA 94103

                            1. re: stingrayy990

                              I can't tell if the 1 - 17 is by rank or just a numbered list. Either way, they're missing a lot of good ones. It's not an article written for true coffee nerds or anyone who takes the coffeehouse experience more seriously.

                          2. re: stingrayy990

                            I really like (the few and far between) cafes that don't have wireless, because I'm usually using a cafe to do homework with my kid. Also, I am annoyed by laptop farms where 4-tops are occupied by 1 person for several hours at a stretch. For that reason, I really like Borderlands Cafe on Valencia. Great selection of magazines for purchase (those places are increasingly rare), and beautifully furnished and maintained, just like Borderlands Books next door.

                            1. re: Atomica

                              Thanks Atomica, unfortunately i don't live in SF, so the magazine and cafe is not really useful for me, but it's still good to know. With the demise of borders, places to read magazines are gonna get harder to fine.
                              @scarmoza, my guess is they are not by rank.

                              1. re: stingrayy990

                                I'm confused. You said location wasn't important. You said you wanted to hang out with friends, people watch, and have comfy seating. The only thing missing is wi-fi, which means you have to actually have conversations or read a book.

                                1. re: Atomica

                                  Well, if I go to a bookstore with the purpose of reading magazines, I usually spend 2-3 hrs, so that kind of makes it a local event.