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The Best SF Coffee Shops For Getting Work Done

Whether you’re building the next big decentralized system architecture or just want to escape your roommates who won’t stop asking you what that means, 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 17 best coffee shops to visit when you actually need to get some work done. Good luck with that app.

The Spots

MAP

Wifi: Yes

If you live in North Beach, Beacon is your best bet. It has adequate seating, good wifi (you’ll just need to buy something every once in a while), and a fair number of plugs. The food is good, too - provided you want something light like a bagel or some yogurt with granola. You can choose to sit at the bar facing the large window, or snag a table away from the distractions of the outdoors, if you can’t bear to watch the adventures of people who don’t currently have to work.

MAP

Wifi: Yes

The baristas at Contraband take their coffee seriously - we’ve heard some intense coffee bean discussion going on in here, which is something to keep in mind if you like procrastination. There aren’t a ton of outlets, so get there early if you want to be sure you can get one. They have small food items like scones, and there are a few tables outside on the sidewalk for when the weather’s nice.

MAP

Wifi: Yes

An almost perfect FiDi coffee shop for getting business-related things (or even just some online shopping) done. They have strong coffee, comfortable chairs, and rock-solid wifi. If you don’t have time to wait in an eight-second line, there’s even a refrigerated case and self-checkout system near the entrance with small things to eat and drink. If you can spare the wait time, though, there’s a full breakfast and lunch menu. The only real drawback to The Station is the lack of outlets inside - most likely to dissuade people like you from camping out for too long.

Arlequin

Hayes Valley
384 Hayes St.
7.7
MAP

Wifi: Yes

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 (just know that the wifi can be unreliable outside). Definitely post up in the window seats to people-watch the Hayes natives while you sort of work. And if you’re here in the afternoon/evening, the wine and beer selection is A+.

Wifi: No

There’s no shame in loving a beautiful avocado toast. OK, there’s some shame. But Mazarine has some of the prettiest ones 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 number of outlets. Just bring your internet with you, or do something you don’t need any internet for, if you can think of anything.

Wifi: Yes

Verve has almost everything you need for a full day of work. You’ll find a bunch of comfy couches, group tables with lots of laptop space to exploit the wifi, and some of the best coffee around. Just know that there is only one plug here, so make sure you’re charged up beforehand. 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.

Wifi: No

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.

Coffee Bar

Mission
1890 Bryant St

Wifi: Yes

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 (just don’t try to download a movie or something), 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 Coffee

Castro
549 Castro St

Wifi: Yes

Philz is now a VC-backed operation, and we would not be surprised if the reason for that was their Mint Mojito Iced Coffee, a.k.a. 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.

Wifi: Yes

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.

8.2
MAP

Wifi: Yes

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 get a table, try their Stumptown coffee and egg white sandwiches. They also have some pretty incredible pastries in rotation (and gluten-free things if that’s your game), not to mention huge and delicious salads. Add a good number of outlets and free wifi, and it's obvious why this is one of our go-tos. The Larkin location has the same menu, but there’s no wifi there.

Wifi: Yes

Clean and modern, this well-designed Russian Hill coffee shop is chill enough to make you feel like you’re in a sci-fi utopia. And the almond macadamia latte is made with house-made almond milk, because of course it is.

Nook

Russian Hill
1500 Hyde St.
7.1
MAP

Wifi: Yes

Nook is on the smaller side – if you’re traveling with an entourage of accessories, 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.

Réveille Coffee Co.

200 Columbus Ave
MAP

Wifi: Yes

This North Beach spot is a good place to hang all day, and as long as you can find space (it gets crowded), that’s what you should do: 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.

Wifi: Yes

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. Be careful, though - if the dogs distract you and your laptop dies, there are no plugs here to save you.

Atlas Cafe

3049 20th St
MAP

Wifi: Yes

Nothing fancy, but a decent place to read, write, and obsessively overthink some emails to your coworkers. There’s a sizeable indoor space, a back patio for when it’s nice out, a full menu, and drinks ranging from coffee (of course) to beer and wine. Tartine Manufactory is close by, too, in case you’d like to take a stroll for some of their pastries and/or delicious ice cream.

Wifi: No

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 (which you'll need to check on your phone). Go for the Berkeley Bowl salad, with mixed greens, 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.

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