Series: Travel

5 Work-Friendly Cafes in SF

by Selena Aument | Sep 4, 2019

I realize there are a lot of lists like this floating around out there, but I think this one is better and I hope you do too. More importantly, I hope you find a favorite of your own and pass the word along, or keep it to yourself. That’s okay too, I get it. I’ve worked from every one of these cafés many times and, aside from the occasional bar when the work allows (just between you and me), I will always choose one of these local joints as a good alternative to the office or home. Finding a good café to work from requires more than looking on Yelp to make sure they have WiFi. You need a certain amount of anonymity, something healthy and hearty to feed your brain, and the right vibes. All of my recommendations have free WiFi and the rest, and are conducive to getting the job done. Now, get to work!

Atlas Café

  • 3049 20th Street (The Mission)
  • Mon - Fri 6:30a - 10p
  • Sat - Sun 8a - 10p
  • Serving Stumptown Coffee
  • You might finish your work day and stick around for some live tunes.

This place has been around for...ever, and for good reason. Atlas is the ideal work from café. There’s plenty of room and tables, everyone is heads down doing their own thing, and you can stay all day without feeling weird about it. To boot, the food here is pretty stellar. The roasted yam and Cuban beef sandwiches are personal favorites that I highly recommended. Plus, there’s an enclosed patio out back and plenty of bike parking in front, so cycle on over to this sunny (and flat) Mission street corner to get your work on.

Oakside Café

  • 1195 Oak Street (The Panhandle)
  • Mon - Fri 6a - 5p
  • Sat 6a - 4:30p
  • Sun 7a - 3:30p
  • Serving Peerless Coffee
  • You might fall in love with their egg sandwich.

The Oakside is the answer to your office-away-from-the-office prayers. This is a quaint and comfortable place to hunker down and bang away on your computer. No one will bother you and you can grab a tasty and cheap sandwich or pastry when the mood suits. There’s a cozy loft you can post up in to gain a little more privacy and (ideally) achieve maximum productivity. Their “business center” (printer in the corner) is a nice option and might just come in handy. Don’t forget the Panhandle park across the street in case you find yourself in a work rut and your brain, or legs, need some reenergizing.

Cup-a-Joe

  • 896 Sutter Street (Lower Nob Hill / Tenderloin)
  • Mon - Sun 7a - 8p
  • Serving Intelligentsia Coffee
  • You might catch a glimpse of owner Joe’s cute-as-can-be French Bulldog.

You’re likely to see all the outside tables at Cup-a-Joe filled with neighborhood folk reading, writing, and chatting. The good news for you is that this typically means there’s plenty of room (and outlets) inside to help you concentrate and crank out your work. But definitely look up from your computer to catch a glimpse of the new D Young V mural. It’s a beauty! In addition to coffee, this place serves breakfast burritos, fresh sandwiches (with extra spinach if you ask nicely), and enough beers on tap to choose from.

Café International

  • 508 Haight Street (Lower Haight)
  • Mon 7a - 3p
  • Tues- Thurs 7a - 9p
  • Fri 7a - 10p
  • Sat 7:30 - 9p
  • Sun 8a - 9p
  • Serving their own brand of coffee. Of course!
  • You might be lucky enough to capture the attention of the worlds best café owner, Zahra.

I can’t say enough great things about this place. Admittedly, I may be a bit partial because this is my local spot. There was a large part of me that wanted to keep this place under my hat for fear of showing up and not having a seat, but I feel I should stop being selfish and share this gem with the rest of the world and, most importantly, you fellow work café seeker. They make a mean breakfast platter here and there’s an outdoor area in the back for that dose of vitamin D and greenery you might be seeking. And when you need a break, enjoy some eclectic people watching as this cafe attracts all walks of life - after all, it is the Haight.

Farley’s

  • 1315 18th Street (Potrero Hill)
  • Mon- Fri 6:30a - 9p
  • Sat - Sun 7:30a - 9p
  • Serving Farley’s Medium Roast Coffee, roasted at Juggernaut in Oakland.
  • You might have some extra time to check out their extensive magazine selection.

Farley’s is an SF institution. There are not many places, especially coffee shops, that stick around this long and still have the draw of Farley’s. It’s a testament to the history here and you should pack up your computer for a work-from-Farley’s day to experience it. You may have to hike up some hills to get here, but it’s worth it. All their food is locally sourced and made fresh on site, and it tastes like it. Everything here is delicious and everyone is friendly, but not, like, too friendly. You’ll still be able to focus on the tasks at hand. Do take notice of the rotating local artists if you can!

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