Whether you're working on the next big app, or just need to escape your five roommates, getting work done in coffee shops is a San Francisco way of life. But not all of them are created equal. Sure, they might have great coffee, but you need wifi that actually works and some seating that won’t throw your back out after an hour. You’re looking for the holy trinity: 1) adequate table space, 2) strong, good coffee and even decent food, and 3) reliable wifi (or lack thereof, when you need to grind without internet-enabled distractions). Here are the 13 best coffee shops to actually get some work done. Good luck with that app.
Excellent coffee, pastries, and sandwiches are good reasons to go to a place. Add in wifi and a back garden patio and this is your new office. Definitely post up in the window seats to people-watch the Hayes natives while you sort of work. If you’re here in the afternoon/evening, the wine and beer selection is A+.
There’s no shame in loving a beautiful avocado toast. Ok, there’s some shame. But Mazarine has some of the prettiest avo toasts around, as well as nice-looking lattes, and both things actually taste good too. Also actually-important is the fact that this FiDi spot has an almost ridiculous amount of outlets and is one of the best non-office working options around.
For the purists out there, this is a coffee shop focused on the coffee. With no wifi and a menu consisting only of pastries, Ritual is where you go when you really need to focus and can’t be distracted by the latest Everlane email in your inbox. The nitro coffee is fantastic and if you need sustenance the croissants are quite good.
One of the newest additions to the SF coffee scene, Verve has everything you need to spend the day working there. There are a bunch of comfy couches, group tables with lots of laptop space to exploit the Wifi, and some of the best coffee around. They have the requisite avocado toast, plus sandwiches, and most importantly biscuits. Bad for laptop keyboard cleanliness but that’s why they invented those sanitary wipe things.
Coffee Bar deserves some sort of lifetime achievement award for being the ultimate coffee-shop-as-workplace. The Mission location has a sprawling floor plan, reliable wifi, tons of table space, floor-to-ceiling windows, and an excellent outdoor patio. The drip coffee is solid, but the Vietnamese iced coffee (ask for it half-sweetened) is the way to go.
Philz is now a VC-backed operation, and we would not be surprised if the reason for that is their Mint Mojito Iced Coffee, AKA dessert masquerading as an acceptable adult drink. Grab one and get to work at the Philz Castro location: low-key, spacious, and with great people watching on Castro Street when you need a break.
Mercury Cafe is bright, airy, and unpretentious — exactly what you want in a neighborhood coffee shop. Come first thing in the morning to try their freshly baked scones (they will sell out), or stop by in the afternoon and order a slice of their homemade pies (go for the apple). Mercury is one of the more relaxing places to work and the numerous outlets are key. Nothing like the impending stress of 8% battery to cramp your productivity.
With its retro tabletops and killer music selection, Jane on Fillmore is the It Girl of coffee shops: cool without trying too hard. If you can snag a table, try their Stumptown coffee and egg white sandwiches. They also have some pretty insane pastries in rotation, like cinnamon brioche rolls or gluten free things if that’s your game. The salads are huge and delicious too. A good amount of outlets and free wifi (password: muffintop) make this one of our go-tos. The Larkin location is a good option with the same menu, but no wifi there.
Nook is on the smaller side – if you have a ton of stuff, table space may be an issue. But otherwise, this Nob Hill cafe is a great place to grab lunch and get some work done. Skip the salads and go for the hummus plate with pita, cucumbers and tomatoes, or the smoked salmon bagel.
Clean and modern, this well-designed Russian Hill coffee shop is chill enough to make you forget you’re on Polk Street. If you go for coffee, the almond macadamia latte is made with house-made almond milk, because of course it is.
Réveille has all the right things you need in a coffee shop: cold brew done right, tasty breakfast sandwiches, and avocado toast with a fried egg on top. This North Beach spot is a good place to hang all day – and you can: stay through lunch and feed yourself with salads and quinoa bowls. There are basically no downsides, except there being not a ton of outlets. The Castro location is great too, if you’re on that side of town.
As if you really needed another reason to visit, Duboce Park Cafe is named after the adorable dog park across the street. Ignore the breakfast menu and get the big house salad: mixed greens, sliced apple, fennel, pecans, and cheese. Then proceed to look at dogs rather than your empty word document.
The Grove Hayes is more cafeteria than coffee shop, but it’s a solid place to grab lunch and do some reading or writing without getting distracted by Twitter (there’s no wifi). Go for the Berkeley Bowl salad (mixed greens, sprouts, tomatoes, cucumbers, chickpeas, and avocado). Also, they serve beer and wine and are not in any way related to the outdoor mall by the same name in LA.