Local Flavor: SF Cafe Culture

Carli Jean

I love a good coffee shop. Especially one that combines premium coffee, freshly baked pastries and cozy atmosphere. Gladly San Francisco has choices aplenty and the longer I live in the area the more hidden gems I find. If you are in need of a caffeine boost, you are in for a treat:

Piccino Coffee Bar


I love Dogpatch. Yes, it is industrial and only now starting to get action in the dining scene department. But boy is the neighborhood gaining momentum! Serpentine‘s scrumptious brunch, Third Rail‘s seasonal concoctions and Piccino‘s thin crust pizzas are just a few delicious places worth mentioning.  Piccino Cafe holds an especially dear place in my heart with it rustic atmosphere and excellent Italian fare. To top it all off with even more goodness comes Piccino Coffee Bar with its own entrance on 22nd Street. The space though tiny packs a good caffeine punch with excellent lattes and cappuccinos and, if you come early enough, delicious baked goods.

PICCINO COFFEE BAR: 1001 Minnesota Street, San Francisco; (415) 824-4224

Four Barrel Coffee


From convenient location smack in the middle of the Mission to plentiful seating, this hipster-friendly location oozes style and coffee connoisseurship. What I love the most is its management’s sense of humor, quirky decor choices (wild boar taxidermy anyone?) and passionate desire to keep coffee shops old-school, read wi-fi free while book & conversation encouraged. According to Tech Crunch even Instagram is banned so put away your phones, hipsters!

375 Valencia Street, San Francisco; (415) 252-0800; Other locations


The Mill


Another project from the Four Barrel Coffee team is The Mill. I love this cafe for it is spacious, airy and beautifully decorated. It is the perfect spot to people watch while getting a dose of vitamin D through the windows that allow plenty of light in even if you sit in the corner. So next time you are up for a catch up session with a friend, order some brew and their seasonally changing offerings of toast. I promise you won’t be disappointed. If you come solo, beware – there is no wi-fi – so bring a book or better yet make some new friends!

THE MILL: 736 Divisadero Street, San Francisco; (415) 345-1953

Saint Frank


A Russian hill gem, Saint Frank is a coffee lover’s paradise. Friendly baristas whip up one of the best cappuccinos in town – perfectly creamy and strong! For those of you who prefer almond milk in your coffee, Saint Frank offers homemade macadamia nut/almond blend that is healthy and delicious. And did I mention Mr. Holmes Bakehouse pastries?! Salted caramel brioche, Apple Tart, Sour Cherry Crumble Danish… Heaven have mercy! If I lived in Russian Hill that would definitely be my go to spot. And, finally, this one has wi-fi!

SAINT FRANK: 2340 Polk Street, San Francisco; (415) 775.1619

Sightglass Coffee


Sightglass‘ SoMa headquarters is a grand space boasting 7,000 square feet and two stories of industrial design-barn aesthetic. The coffee comes straight from the in-house roaster and, though the servings are on the small size, the coffee is rather strong. All the tables are also spaced far enough that you can actually have a conversation without having to talk over your neighbors. My favorite part of the cafe is its spacious mezzanine. When I find myself in the city with time to kill, I order my latte and head straight upstairs. It is simply the best spot to get lost in the book or finish an article while looking over the coffee bar below with all its lively energy. No wi-fi, again, it’s officially a trend!

SIGHTGLASS COFFEE: 270 Seventh Street, San Francisco; (415) 861–1313; Other locations