When it comes to coffee in SF, the options can be overwhelming. Like, if you're in SOMA, do you go to Sightglass? The Creamery? And woah -- what's this Sextant place??? There's a Blue Bottle in Mint Plaza?? SOMA HAS A PHILZ, TOO?!?!?
Well, contemplate no further: here's your espresso-booster best bet for every single SF 'hood (yes, even SOMA).
The name's deceptively simple, but the coffee brewed up at CoffeeShop is anything but, thanks to a daily offering of Ubuntu and iced coffee that's cold-brewed for THIRTY SIX HOURS, and features signature coffee ice cubes. And yeah, that's co-owner Wilson Jones slinging espresso shots behind the bar, like a boss.
Yeah, Philz, we know -- but there's just something about Spike's. Maybe it's because you can't get its delicious lattes in any other neighborhood, or maybe it's the adorable English bulldog mascot printed on every cup, or maybe it's the dog-friendly patio out front, or maybe it's that it was just remodeled, or maybe it's... all of that stuff.
For a prime brunching neighborhood, there aren’t all that many grab-and-go coffee options while you wait outside Zazie’s, especially since Peets took over Tumi's old spot. That leaves La Boulange de Cole Valley, which, even after the *ahem* change in ownership, still hasn’t lost its charming touch. Or its Nutella-equipped condiment bar.
A joint-venture between Josey Baker Bread and Four Barrel, the $4 toast-serving Mill -- like the Four Barrel in The Mission -- has no plugs or WiFi, so you’ll actually have to interact with (gasp!) other people while you’re there.
Piccino Coffee Bar
Making the most out of its kitchen and suddenly sexy neighborhood, Piccino Coffee Bar has its own entrance on 22nd St, out of which it serves Sightglass coffee and oven-hot sticky buns. The best part, though? The coffee bar recently extended its hours to 10pm.
What makes this Philz special is that it is an often-forgotten-about location, which means no real line standing between you and your mint mojito.
Duboce Park Cafe
You've ridden by the outdoor patio of Duboce Park Cafe on Muni, seen some person sitting outside, laughing with their coffee and adorable dog. Thing is, if you get off Muni, you can be that guy. Honestly, getting coffee here is just an awesome excuse to people watch.
Yep, even in EXCELSIOR there's a Four Barrel, except this one leaves the line and seating to The Mission store, opting for a simple grab-and-go operation.
Unlike the Coffee Bar in The Mission with all the seats... and the beer... and the picnic table out front... and the man, the FiDi Coffee Bar is pretty great. This is a purist's coffee joint in the heart of the FiDi. Exactly what you need in the heart of the FiDi.
Biscoff Coffee Corner
If you’re at Fisherman’s Wharf, you’re probably stuck there doing touristy stuff with family (friends don’t let friends visit Fisherman's Wharf), so inject your faux enthusiasm for seals with Biscoff's European-style coffee. Every cup comes with a free cookie. Who says everything has to be overpriced at the Wharf?
If you’ve been living in San Francisco for any amount of time, you're no stranger to the shipping container pop-up shops. And if you've been living in San Francisco for any amount of time and like coffee, you're no stranger to Ritual's shipping container pop-up. Bonus: if you’re feeling adventurous, they share space with Smitten... Ritual-Smitten coffee-ice cream float anyone?
Fifty/Fifty Coffee and Tea
Fifty/Fifty is one of the newer coffee shops to open in the Inner Richmond, and it's become an immediate hit by brewing Ritual coffee, offering Dynamo Donuts, and hooking up free WiFi.
They’ll add a shot of syrup to your iced coffee if you ask nicely. Do you really need more reason than that?
Cafe du Soleil
This Parisian-style café is just consistently friendly and inviting. And because it’s off of Haight, you’ll never have to worry about using the bathroom after someone who recently stumbled out of a bar.
Born in Berkeley and raised in Emeryville, Peet's recently renovated this Marina storefront into a 2,500sqft flagship featuring art from Bay Area artists and reclaimed-wood countertops. If you're gonna bite the Peet's bullet, this is one actually worth doing it at.
Cash in on an embarrassment of caffeine riches in The Mission at Sightglass. You might scoff at its one-size-only cup, but it will scoff right back at you while it jolts you in the face.
It would be easy for Contraband Coffee Bar in Nob Hill to get lost in the shuffle of glossy white storefronts, unless handsome publications like this one made sure it didn't. The sunny interior will make you want to cozy up with your drip coffee for a little while, and here, that's okay.
Martha & Bros Coffee
There are a bunch of these scattered around Noe Valley and the Inner Sunset, but its 24th St address stands out because 1) it's the flagship, and 2) it boasts a sweet little parklet.
It's hard to predict the habits of Réveille's coffee truck, so skip the hunting around North Beach and head straight to the source.
Cup Coffee Bar
Cup Coffee Bar’s giant coffee cup sign outside was done by the same artist responsible for the legs sticking out of a window on Haight St, but that’s not the reason it earns the Outer Mission nod. The Havanna, an espresso drink sweetened with condensed milk, is.
Garden House Cafe
This is quite literally a "Garden" House Cafe, thanks to an epic back patio not even Karl the Fog can screw up. Tack on the fact that its house brew is surprisingly strong for such an unassuming cafe, and not even the cash-only-ness can keep you away from the GHC.
Andytown Coffee Roasters
Now you have somewhere to get good coffee when you visit that one "friend" you have who lives all the way out in the Outer Sunset. Andytown roasts its beans in-house, and boasts a straightforward coffee selection, with one exception: The Snowy Plover, a shot of espresso, ice, sparkling water, and a dollop of cream. *Mic drop*.
Saint Frank Coffee
It's one of the 21 best coffee shops in the country, and that prestigious list nails it: "While many big-city coffee shops double as people-watching sites, Saint Frank is all about a serene coffee experience enhanced by blonde oak walls, skylights, and the fourth wall between barista and patron broken down by sinking the stylish Mod Bar espresso machines into the countertop. The founder entered the coffee world through local roasters Ritual, and he's still sticking with them, using the espresso in everything from lattes with house-made almond milk to a rarely seen espresso and tonic."
Farley's sorta feels like Cheers, except no one knows your name (fine by us), but everyone always knows your order (finer by us).
House of Snacks
We'd be lying if we said there are a lot of choices for coffee shops in The Presidio, so we won't say that. Instead, we'll tell you to go to House of Snacks, which brews... snacks? Ohhhhhh, Blue Bottle Coffee. Don’t get duped by Golden Gate Bridge Cafe again!
Its homemade almond milk will make you want to add a detour to Russian Hill on the regular, and its single-cup-pour-overs with beans roasted at Contraband will make you actually do it.
Is there a more San Franciscan experience than coffee and bondage? Shake up your SOMA routine and head over to Wicked Grounds, if anything, to play a round of Porn-opoly.
It's got solid, organic coffee options to go with more mind-blowing, homemade almond milk. Follow its Twitter for what to expect on the ever-changing menu.
Face it, you’re in Union Square... it’s basically your only option. Everywhere you turn, it’s hard not to see Starbucks. Maybe walk over to the Tenderloin?
Flywheel Coffee Roasters
Before you go exploring Golden Gate Park or brave the sidewalks of Haight St, get your coffee fuel at Flywheel. Sharing a similar mentality to Philz, each cup is made to-order, with the beans roasted in-house.
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Margaux Poupard is a very, VERY caffeinated Thrillist contributor. Follow her jolted musings on Twitter.
Simple name; extraordinary coffee. This Bernal Heights java house offers up Ubuntu and iced coffee that's cold brewed for 36 hours and served with coffee ice cubes. And yeah -- that's co-owner Wilson Jones slinging espresso shots behind the bar.
This independent Noe Valley coffee shop is aggressively anti-corporate, staunchly green, and everything you could ask for in a neighborhood meeting place. There’s no Wi-Fi, so don’t come here hoping to camp out all day with your laptop. Instead, the owners encourage customers to strike up a conversation with a real person — what an idea! From the cute bulldog logo to the monthly art shows to the quaint patio out front, you’ll feel like you’re in small-town suburbia at this unassuming neighborhood cafe.
Bacon. Donut. Day. Dynamo Donut & Coffee has made it real, and available every day. Handmade daily by owner Sara and her staff and using organic, locally sourced ingredients, their creative take on donuts make the word "glazed" suddenly sound mundane and unworthy.
5. The Mill 736 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117 (Alamo Square)
Baking incredible fresh bread daily (made with flour from from their German mill) this partnership between the Barrel guys and Josey Baker Bread is a constant go-to for a bite, coffee, and some quiet contemplation. As you'd expect from a place that has a serious way with dough, the BYOB Monday pizza nights and Wednesday grilled cheese and soup nights are not to be missed.
The café counterpart to Dogpatch's Piccino restaurant, this coffee bar serves up espresso drinks and Sightglass pour-over coffees. The food options, like oven-hot sticky buns and house-made granola, are a step above run-of-the-mill coffee shop bites. The communal table and long hours (it's open until 10pm) make Piccino a great place to chill with a book and chat with some neighborhood regulars.
This San Francisco-based chain is a city staple known for its sheer amount of coffee blends. All of the coffees are roasted at the chain's roasting plant in Oakland, and each blend features two to seven different beans. The menu is categorized by dark, light, and medium roasts, and includes decaf coffee as well as speciality drinks, like the mojito iced coffee topped with mint leaves.
The cultishly-popular BBC opened up its first true cafe in SoMa, where baristas sling dark blends inside Mint Plaza. Aside from drip coffee, cold brew, affogatos, and lattes, the SoMa location has a full food menu featuring sweet and savory plates like Belgian waffles, egg sandwiches, soup, and salad.
Four Barrel is not only the best coffee in San Francisco, but it’s earned praise as some of the best in the country with sustainable practices and tasty beans. It’s all about the coffee at this Mission shop (with locations in Portola and The Mill on Divisadero), so don’t expect a laptop-friendly, camp-out-all-day vibe. Since 2007, Four Barrel founder Jeremy Tooker has carried the flag for light roasts, single origins, and a soundtrack dominated by vinyl instead of carefully curated Spotify playlists.
For all the times you've thought that your coffee just isn't "single origin and made to be tasted through three different methods" enough, you should check out Sightglass's upstairs coffee bar, where you can geek out on the craziest caffeine they have to offer.
Since opening in 2010, Reveille Coffee now has four locations in San Francisco (Jackson Square, Mission Bay, North Beach and the Castro). From the French press to the aeropress, lattes to cookies, Reville is focused on quality. Its Castro café is small but warm, if not uber modern, and a nice place to chill and work if you can find a seat.
While not the buzziest (!) of SF coffee shops, if you haven’t made it into Saint Frank on Polk, you’re missing out on some of the city's best sneaky-fantastic coffee in a serene and simple environment. This modern and stylized shop serves Ritual Roasters beans in a refreshingly minimalist space. Don’t miss the homemade almond and macadamia nut milk that makes for a fine a cappuccino whether or not you're a non-dairy type, plus the rarely seen espresso and tonic (just try it).
Although the Financial District location of the Mission’s giant Coffee Bar (you know, the one with two levels, beer, and a picnic table out front) is not as extravagant, it still has everything you could need in a coffee shop (i.e. really good coffee). It’s in the FiDi, after all, so it’s meant to get you in, get you caffeinated, and get you out without the fuss and the hordes of people camped out on laptops.
This now permanent pop-up coffee shop, run out of a shipping container/urban garden center, Ritual Coffee is a great spot for a cup of joe. It's worth checking out the Hayes Valley outpost to take in the scenery alone. This mostly outdoor cafe is flanked by lush palm trees and succulents. And since Ritual shares their space with Smitten ice cream, you'll end up with a sweet deal no matter what
This tiny, light-filled cafe may not be the most reliable bet for snagging a table to enjoy your treat, but it’s worth it to grab a cup of Ritual coffee to-go (or a lavender early grey tea latte) and a fresh Dynamo Donut. This Inner Richmond joint is equipped with WiFi For those who do manage to stake out a table -- so when you find yourself west of Divisadero, remember fifty/fifty as a great place for a morning pick-me-up.
Though it may get a little crowded inside, Beanery's reasonably priced coffees, fresh pastries, and friendly service will make stopping by worth your time. The Inner Sunset "little roaster that could" serves some of the best soy hazelnut lattes in the city, in addition to some more basic (i.e. cold brew, espresso), albeit totally solid brews. From the large windows overlooking 9th, people watch or peer in and check out the lively, Rube Goldberg-esque house coffee roasting equipment.
This Nob Hill go-to may not have the cache of a Four Barrel or a Blue Bottle, but it does have a sunny and welcoming interior in which it pours reliably excellent coffee sourced from Colombia and Guatemala and roasted in-house. Important note if you plan on posting up with your laptop: they also have empanadas.
Andytown serves a minimalist menu of lattes, espresso, and cold brews made from beans that are roasted on-site in the 600sqft space. Aside from damn good coffee, the Outer Sunset coffee shop serves sweet and savory baked goods, also made in-house. The Irish soda bread is a must, whether it's revamped as a currant-infused scone or topped with bacon and cheese.
This bright cafe in Pacific Heights is great place to drop in for coffee and an out-of-this-world house-made pastry, like fig bread, espresso cinnamon rolls, and almond fennel biscotti. Its lunch menu features an array of salads, like Cobb and Nicoise to various takes on kale, plus a few paninis made with fresh-baked bread.
Your coffee comes with a little kick of kink at this BDSM cafe. Fuel up with fellow fetishists on waffles, paninis, salads, and more, while perusing Wicked Grounds' wide selection of kink gear and literature. The cafe is 18+ , as it regularly hosts events and workshop centered around its theme. Oh yes, and food is happily served in dog bowls by request for your submissive or human puppy.
At Nob Hill’s farm : table, the perfect neighborhood coffee & breakfast spot, you’ll find a constantly changing menu of organic and homemade goods (like fresh-made granola and yogurt, croissants with delicately poached eggs, and broccoli bacon tarts). Sip on your organic coffee with house-made almond milk, and watch as your morning sets itself off on the right foot.