A Coffee Lover’s Walking Tour of San Francisco

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Even though I’ve been in San Francisco for a good 9-1/2 months now, I still feel like I’m just getting to know the city.  I still haven’t ventured into half of the neighborhoods or found my favorite-well, just about anything (though I have found my favorite pizza delivery, Village Pizzeria Restaurant on Van Ness).  I know LA like the back of my hand having lived there for 28 years and miss that familiarity a ton, but I want to know my new city with that same kind of intimacy.

A common thing I’ll do with a free half day is walk to a destination coffee shop in a neighborhood of San Francisco I haven’t explored.  Coffee is a great time suck because (a) it’s freakin’ delicious and (b) it isn’t super costly.  I won’t say the going rate of $4.50 is exactly cheap for a latte, but the way things are in this city, it isn’t on the high end, that’s for sure.  And the walking is a bonus, too, it keeps me feeling active, and I end up getting to see even more of the city by strolling through it.  I’ve discovered the cutest neighborhoods this way, like Presidio Heights and Alamo Square.

Below are a few of the coffee shops that have warranted a walk.

Blue Bottle in Hayes Valley:

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This one is less of a destination than a habit, actually.  The Blue Bottle Kiosk on Linden Street is just a few blocks from my house and in one of my favorite walkable ‘hoods, Hayes Valley.  I took my mom here when she came to visit and it was the start of her love affair with the San Francisco latte.

Honestly, I’m not even sure why the lattes (and probably the coffee, too, but I’m a pussy and like to drown my coffee in milk) are so, so, so much better here than they are in LA.  I want to say it’s the milk, but correct me if I’m wrong here.

Interesting fact-This was the first Blue Bottle location in San Francisco, I believe.  It began as a kiosk run out of a friend’s garage in the Linden Street alley, and is still totally quirky that way.  Click the link above for the full scoop.

The Mill on Divisidero:

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You know I’m not from around here because I say Divisidero and not Divis.

Anyway, right away upon moving here, any women who wanted to make a plan with me always suggested we have our date at The Mill.  However, as is the way of things, none of these well-intentioned plans ever came to fruition, and I found I still hadn’t been to The Mill until two weeks ago.

Like a few other places around town, toast is the jam.  Ha! Toast is the jam.  But, ya know, it’s the thing you go there for.  I thought it was really neat that you can watch them making the fresh bread right there while you wait for your coffee.  And you will wait.  The line is always super long.  When I went in the late afternoon on a Friday, the line was almost out the door.

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I loved the interior, so spacious and airy, but I generally do like coffee shop interiors.  Basic bitch here, all the way.  And speaking of, don’t wear your sweatpants to The Mill, as there is a decent chance you’ll run into someone you know, ‘cus it’s super hip and trendy.  I hardly know anyone up here, and still had the misfortune of not being recognized at first because I “looked different” in my sweatpants than I did when we had dinner together at her house.  hahaha!

Sight Glass in SOMA:

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SOMA is actually an area with which I’m pretty familiar.  Max works there, so I often drive him to work or meet him there for a meal.  And no, I didn’t walk to this one.

On one of my return drives from dropping Max at his restaurant, I fell in love with the exterior of Sight Glass.  I tried to take my mom there when she visited, but we couldn’t find parking and ended up at Jane in the Tenderloin, which is practically my second home here and where you’ll find me just about every Saturday morning.

After being thwarted initially, I made it there by making Max get up early-ish on a day he worked, so we could go for coffee and share a pastry.

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And you can tell he was beyond thrilled to be there in the morning.

This place really reminded me of the LA coffee shops we had in our neighborhood like Bar Nine; very sparse in that cool industrial way.  Excellent use of negative space.

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I mused with Max about how great it would be if I were one of the many people we saw who could do work in a place like this.  I could never do it because I’d want to eat all the goodies and drink coffee constantly, so I would be broke and fat.

And there you have it!  There are a few other places I’d like to mention, so maybe I’ll do another post like this on another day.  But I think I’ve probably inundated this page with enough coffee shops and pictures of coffee shop interiors for a minute.

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