If there’s one thing that San Francisco does good, it’s coffee. And the third wave movement has swept our town like a tsunami with artisan roasters popping up all over town. The good news: you can always get a cup of joe. The bad news? Your options are often overwhelming. But fear not, we’ve compiled a list of top coffee shops across the city so you can find the best coffee no matter where you are.
This airy North Beach space (with additional locations in Lower Haight and the Castro) has a Dutch design feel, all slick-lined wood paneling with picture windows that look out on the surrounding neighborhood. Order a cappuccino and sit by the window or in the outside parklet—both are great roosts for people watching. If you're hungry, the café does a delicious egg-in-a-hole sandwich in the morning and a tasty kale salad at lunch. Local tip: City Lights Bookstore, a San Francisco icon of the Beat Generation, is right across the way; perfectly situated for you to grab a book first before settling into your seat for a few hours.
200 Columbus Ave. (at Kearny St.)
Neighborhood: Financial District
Blue Bottle has locations throughout the city (including Hayes Valley and in the Ferry Building Marketplace), and their coffee is always delicious. But the Blue Bottle café in downtown's Sansome Building is really something special. With its white marble tables and floor to ceiling windows, this café manages to feel both cozy and secluded, even if half of the Financial District is also in line to order their morning coffee.
115 Sansome St. (near Bush St.)
On the exact opposite side of town from the Financial District, you can still find good coffee. Some would say the best in the city. Okay, I say it’s the best in the city. The tiny hole-in-the-wall café has a great no-frills drip coffee that’s sweet but not too sweet and goes great with their oversized cinnamon toast. Enjoy the meal on their driftwood parklet or just head a few blocks down to the beach—it may be foggy, but the coffee will keep you warm. On warm days, order a coconut, which they’ll serve to you straight out the shell.
4033 Judah St. (near 46th Ave.)
Neighborhood: Outer Sunset
In this town, you can’t just have good coffee (which the Outer Sunset's Andytown does), you've also got to have amazing pastries. In fact, Andytown has their pastry game dialed in...and then some. Their signature item is a flaky, crumbly soda bread, one that pairs nicely with their signature drink: a shot of espresso with soda water called the Snowy Plover. Still, it's their seasonal scones, which range from huckleberry and peach, to kale and cheddar, that will keep you coming back for more.
3655 Lawton St. (near 43rd Ave.)
Ritual Roasters is one of the fore fathers of the third wave coffee movement. Yes, Blue Bottle started it, but Ritual Roasters built out a hipster mecca on Valencia Street, and it's one that has now expanded to the Upper Haight. Though it's been 10+ years since they first opened their doors, the crowd remains just as cool as the coffee is strong. There’s no Internet in this café, so spend time enjoying your fellow java lovers instead.
1026 Valencia St. (near 21 St.), 415-641-1011
Neighborhood: Pacific Heights
Fillmore Street is full of amazing shopping, and Jane is the perfect place to fuel up for the morning or refill halfway through your spree. The coffee is full-bodied and the food selection ranges from indulgent (Spiked Baked Eggs, anyone?) to healthier options like the Breakfast Salad or Quinoa Bowl. The peppy chevron striped tables make a great background for Instagram posts as well.
2123 Fillmore St. (near Sacramento St.), 415-931-5263
Neighborhood: Cow Hollow
Speaking of Instagram, Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters has the perfect backdrop for selfies: pineapple printed wallpaper. They even have a hashtag: #pineappleselfie. But it’s not just their décor that kicks butt. Their latte is equal parts creamy and buzzy, the perfect combination to start your day of browsing on Union Street off right.
2271 Union St. (near Steiner St.), 415-638-9227
San Franciscans are nearly religious about their coffee rituals, so you’ll inevitably find Four Barrel packed with locals getting their java fix daily. The reclaimed wood walls and rope pendants make a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Sit by the window or along the outdoor parklet for great people watching and of course, order yourself your drink of choice. Everything here is good.
375 Valencia St. (near 14th St.)
This shop is known for its tangy, bitter brews and an interior design that will wow any architect. Its industrial, open loft-style layout has plenty of communal seating and not too far from a lot of tech startup offices, so it’s a great place to get a taste of Silicon Valley culture.
270 Seventh St. (near Folsom St.)
Neighborhood: Nob Hill
A relative newcomer to the coffee scene in San Francisco, this Nob Hill/Polk Gulch café combines design and good brews for the perfect creative hangout. The high ceilings and ethereal music make it a great spot to catch up with a friend or sit by yourself and journal—either way the space will inspire. The go-to hear though is the fresh brewed green tea, which they’ll happily refill after you’ve gone through the pot.
2340 Polk St. (near Union St.)