Best Coffee Shops to Work From in San Francisco

September 6, 2016
person working at a coffee shop

If you’ve ever walked the streets of San Francisco on a weekday, you may be shocked by the large amount of people who don’t seem to hold the average 9-5 job. That’s because the beautiful city by the Bay is home to startup founders, social media mavens, content writers, and tech engineers who spend a large amount of their time telecommuting. Remote job listings have risen by 36 percent since 2014 and that means more companies are letting employers WFH—that stands for work from home and is a widely used acronym by people who WFH.

While working from home has its benefits, namely that you can sleep in, take conference calls in your robe with wet hair, or be any where in the world, including a beachside resort in Bali, it also has its pitfalls. It’s difficult to separate work from personal life when your work takes place at home and working from home can often make you feel isolated. Not to mention there are plenty of distractions—the laundry that needs to be put away, the mail that just arrived, the dinner that should be prepared—at home that will keep you from doing your work.

coffee shop in San Francisco

The key to successfully WFH? Spend part of your time working outside of your home, and discover the San Francisco Best Coffee Shops to work from. Even if you’re employed at a large company that requires you to work at an official office, sometimes it’s nice to take a break from the grind and pass a couple of productive hours at a local coffee shop. When you work from a cafe, you won’t get lonely or have to deal with interruptions. A change of environment stimulates creativity and you could meet people with new ideas, distinct connections, and fresh perspectives, all of which can invigorate a person professionally. However, not all coffee shops are created equal and working from a busy Starbucks in Union Square is going to be a very different experience than from working at a quiet cafe in the Lower Haight.

To have a triumphant afternoon working in a San Francisco cafe, start by answering a few questions about your basic needs. Do you only want coffee or do you want lunch and/or afternoon snacks? Do you prefer someplace that has beer and wine later in the evening? Will new moms with crying babies keep you from working? Does having to pay for internet bother you? What kind of chairs does the cafe have? After working for several hours, will your back start to hurt if you’re sitting on a stool? Figure out the answers to these questions, then find the cafe that has your ideal scene. Look for a cafe that has lots of outlets because this means that it encourages customers to linger around and work.

One such spot is Vinyl cafe on Divisadero Street. This cozy, unpretentious coffee shop has a variety of seating, plenty of outlets, a quiet crowd, and assortment of sandwiches and salads. Another great cafe is nearby, on Haight and Fillmore, Cafe du Soleil. It’s similar to the what the Boulange of San Francisco used to be years ago: delectable French snacks, relaxed vibe, and free internet. Cafe du Soleil has outdoor tables, which are a great way to soak up some sun while getting work done on a warm afternoon, but note that it is small. Other coffee shops that I recommend for a constructive couple of hours: Sightglass in Soma, Jane on Fillmore, Ritual in the Mission, Reville in the Castro, and Mazarine downtown.

two cups of cappuccino

Another local cafe that’s worth checking out is The Grove. There are three locations of this friendly cafe that’s open all day in San Francisco. Each one is decorated with wood and eclectic finds that make it feel as if it were a living room at a mountain lodge. From spicy huevos rancheros to hearty chicken pot pie, the food is sensational at The Grove, but note that they do not have internet. If you want to work, you’ll have to set up a personal hotspot or have wireless internet on your device. That being said: The Grove is my go-to spot for out-of-the-office meetings. Everyone knows what it is and it’s a casual place where you can order coffee, ice tea, or a glass of rose.

At any of the aforementioned coffee shops, be sure to buy something. Tip well, make nice with the people who work there, and if you’re planning on staying all day, order more than just one single black coffee. Avoid sitting near to the door or register, as these areas will have high foot traffic and a change in temperature that could affect your ability to focus. Start the work session with full charge on your computer, so you won’t have to monopolize an outlet the entire time you’re at the cafe. Be sure to rotate coffee shops. The point of working in a cafe is to shake up your every day routine and become a more productive, efficient, and content worker, right?

We hope you enjoyed reading about San Francisco’s Best coffee shops to work from. If your team need a boost of creativity, let Avital plan your next team building or off-site event. 

Photo credit: All images of Mazarine by Nicholas V. Ruiz.