Address: 1301 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94103
Whether it is classic or Insta-worthy, cafes are a raving phenomenon around the world. Travel to any metropolitan city, and you will find a variety of choices, from family-run tea stalls to quirky over-the-top eateries. However, there are but a few cities that genuinely excel in creating an aura that allows cafe-culture to thrive. San Francisco if one of them, and being part of the local coffee shop scene is all about allowing to immerse yourself into the city's vibrant personality.
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The mantra behind Coffee Cultures is to create a setting that is friendly and welcoming, but also ethically significant. Sourcing beans directly from farmers and investing in the very best of coffees, a stop at their small and snug outlet is a must when in San Francisco. The food menu, to go along with the variety of beverages, is slim, but there are enough fresh bagels, sandwiches, and "artisan pastries" to tickle the palate. The highlight of stepping into Coffee Cultures is finding out they serve delicious "organic soft serve," the perfect way to begin your morning, with a little bit of yummy sweetness.
Address: 1301 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94103
A business with a conscience, Four Barrel Coffee takes pride in practicing ethos that results in not only great coffee but also a working environment where everyone, from customers and baristas to the coffee planters, become a part of a large family that "takes care of each other." Featuring in-house roasting, that too on a 1957 German machine, Four Barrel's outlet on Valencia Street is a large space with wood dominating the décor through the beams on the ceiling, plank counters, and wooden tables. While the coffee here is always a delight, for a more inclusive experience, take one of their classes that delves deeper into the art of coffee making.
Address: 375 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94103
Lovejoy's is an eccentric and bright escape in the heart of San Francisco where you get a taste of British sophistication in the most iconic way possible, through tea. Crumpets, scones, sausage rolls, shepherd's pie, sandwiches, and the tradition of tea time, Lovejoy's is a beautiful tea room where you'll find peace and happiness amongst the chaos of "mismatched china and furniture." For a fun experience, opt for their tea service that comprises of a bottomless pot of your favorite tea with a selection of biscuits and other lip-smacking bites.
Address: 1351 Church St, San Francisco, CA 94114
Hollow gives the impression of a green shed in someone's backyard at first sight. It's tiny, the green exteriors do make it stand out, but locals mostly come here for the cafe's friendly service and always perfect coffee. Hollow does have a slightly larger room in the back, but it is the kind of place where you come for a quick bite and a sip when there's no time to sit and rest. While their cappuccino and espresso will satisfy regular java drinkers, do give their house butterscotch latte or chai latte a try, and combine it with a pastry or cookie from their small, yet sufficient, food selection.
Address: 1435 Irving St, San Francisco, CA 94122
San Francisco's quintessential cafe, Nook, is charming in every way possible. Their large windows allow natural light to seep in throughout the day and forms an ideal romantic background after sundown when the cafe transforms into a cozy wine bar. During the daytime, though, Nook's patio is in demand, where you can sit for hours, people and tram watching while enjoying delicious eggs and bagels for breakfast or salads, sandwiches, and pies for lunch. The menu has a unique set of non-alcoholic options, in addition to coffee and tea, which includes sake, soju, mimosa, and beers from around the world.
Address: 1500 Hyde St, San Francisco, CA 94109
A cafe where you are likely to find more locals than tourists, Blue Danube is where people hang around long after their food and drinks have finished. As a result, it is almost always packed, but waiting for a table is worth it, especially if you enjoy having your morning cuppa in a colorful and sunny environment. However, Blue Danube is also one place where you can set aside your coffee order and go with their fresh juices and smoothies instead. The food here is equally refreshing, and come evening, you can order a cheeseboard to go along with a pitcher of sangria or a bottle of wine.
Address: 306 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94118
A top contender for the grooviest cafe in town, Cafe International, is one place to experiment with San Francisco's music scene. Eccentric from the get-go, the cafe creates a vibrant mood with gorgeous murals and art pieces on the walls, fun furniture items, and a tiny green patio out in the back. The menu at Cafe International is quite extensive and includes a few middle-eastern delicacies and Turkish coffee. The allure of the cafe is in its open-mic and jazz night when the atmosphere all around becomes truly magical.
Address: 508 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117
An entire wall full of books to read, tables decorated with bumper stickers, couches so grand that you could sleep on them, and a hippie vibe so cool that you can't help but relish in the fact that this is the ultimate San Francisco cafe experience. Coffee to the People is a fair-trade coffee house where local artists and musicians meet every morning to discuss art and current events over warm and comforting cups of freshly brewed coffee. It is also a spot where people come to relax, work, and play board games, often spending hours in the homely coziness of the cafe's interiors. From caffeinated banana mocha, hemp-milk cappuccino and organic apple cider to the iconic Freak Out, four shots of espresso in hot coffee, that will leave you wide-eyed and awake for the rest of the day; there's something here for everyone.
Address: 1206 Masonic Ave, San Francisco, CA 94117
San Franciscans have mastered the art of coffee and tea drinking. They have realized that there is pure pleasure in leisurely enjoying a cup of their favorite drink, preferably mixed with a healthy dose of hour-long conversations. After all, it is only by doing this that you can appreciate and savor a genuine cafe experience.