Beautiful location, although you have to pay for a museum ticket to gain access.
Union Street Coffee Roastery is… disappointing. This place wants to be a work spot, or so it seems. They’ve got ample seating and a single, lonely power strip. The interior is haphazardly strewn with 1993-era tables reminescent of Hometown buffet. Technically workable, but just barely.
Oakside Cafe is adorable. Working here is like stopping by the house of your eccentric Grandmother… tons of stuff on the walls and questionable decor, but everything feels so warm and inviting. Just like Grandma, this place shuts down pretty early (they’re completely cleared out by 5 or so), so if you’re headed later in the afternoon, plan a backup spot.
The massive windows fill the entire place with tons of light and there’s a lot of seating on the ground floor, perfect for people-watching. What really gives this place its charm though, is the upstairs area. The low ceiling and decoration make the space feel very cozy. It’s very quiet and great for reading or other focused activities.
Cole Valley Cafe is relaxing. A shining gem of a coffee shop in the neighborhood. (Confusingly it has a nearly identical name to it’s very close neighbor “Cafe Cole“) The big windows fill the inside space with tons of light and look out onto a busy, but not too crazy corner of Cole street.
Benches line the long window and the outward facing seats across from them are perfect for people-watching. The three stools along the short window are great for book-reading–the combo of chair height and window size let you stare at a book with some nice ambient visual stimulation going on in the background. The seats in the middle are decidedly non-optimal and don’t have ready access to power. The outside area is fairly chill, but it can feel a little too much like part of the sidewalk.
The atmosphere inside is relaxed and focused. The music alternates between soft and loud and they’ve got a control box (attached to the pole by the cash register) that lets anyone pick something to play, free jukebox style. That can be a blessing or a curse. They ask people not to use their cell phones inside, which keeps things laid-back.
They serve food all day. The menu has breakfast stuff, bagels, sandwiches, salads and smoothies. The coffee is average but they have a great selection of little sweet treats.
Coffee to the People is a trusty steed. Can you use the word dive to describe a coffee shop? If so that’s what this place is… a charming dive. It’s not the most glamorous caffeine dispensary, but man is it dependable. With tons of tables, ample outlet coverage, 7 whole couches, skylights in the back, a whole bookshelf full of games and reading materials and impressively late hours… C2tP has a lot to offer.
This place never gets super-packed, but it almost always has a vibrant, gritty energy about it. Its sits perched near the corner of Haight & Masonic, a relatively bustling transit-hub. That plus the psychedelic history of the surrounding neighborhood helps ensures that C2tP gets a steady stream of tourists and street kids moving through. The combination of those folks with the standard coffee shop mix of college students and the flexibly employed helps lend this spot an open, friendly vibe.
The staff at Coffee to the People, while not the most socially-engaging, are about as friendly to laptop perchers as it’s possible to be. The food here, while technically available, is mediocre at best–helping keep the feel of the place focused less on eating and more on working, talking and hanging out.
If you’re looking for a coffee shop in the Haight, this is a very safe bet.