If you’re near Moscone West during WWDC and looking for coffee, you might find yourself defaulting to the nearest available option: Starbucks1. If, however, you want something a lot better and a lot more local, there’s no reason to settle for something you’re not crazy about. San Francisco is full of great local establishments. I know of at least three within walking distance I can recommend.
Blue Bottle (0.3 mi)
Right around the corner from Moscone West, there’s Blue Bottle. It’s definitely the place you’ll see the most fussy coffee loving Apple nerds are headed to, partially because its great, and partially because its great. They also have a good variety of other snacks2. On more than one occasion I’ve run into other conference goers while waiting in line who I either knew or didn’t know but was able to start a conversion with. Speaking of the line: it’s usually around the corner. It can be a bit unpleasant when it’s hot out — like it was last year — and although you will meet people in in the line, it’s probably not a great choice if you want to sit down and talk since seating is very limited.
Besides being long, the line actually tends to move pretty fast. If you just want to grab a coffee to go, Blue Bottle is a really good choice.
Sightglass Coffee (0.6 mi)
A little further — but still totally walkable if you’ve got a little time to kill — is my personal favorite place in the city: Sightglass Coffee. The shop itself reminds me a lot of some places here in Portland, and I actually get their beans from a local shop that sells them here pretty often.
When you walk in, the first thing you notice is that it’s surprisingly large. I’m used to things in San Francisco being a little smaller, and Sightglass is the exception. Because of that there’s ample seating upstairs, making it the best place I know of to meet someone if you want to sit down and talk for a while.
You won’t run into as many people from WWDC as you would in the Blue Bottle line, but they make all the same things you’d get Blue Bottle at least as well, and you can actually sit down and relax for a bit.
Philz Coffee (0.9 mi)
Granted, I walk a lot at home, and I’m not attending the actual conference this year, so you may be less willing to walk nearly two miles round trip for coffee than I am. If you do want to explore a bit though, Philz is worth checking out at least once. It’s a chain, but only in the Bay Area. The atmosphere is nearly the opposite as Blue Bottle or Sightlass — more hippy than hipster, and what they specialize in making is a pseudo-pour over in these metal pots I’ve never seen anywhere else. Instead of stating a country of origin, the coffees at Philz have names like “Philharmonic” and “Ambrosia Coffee of God.”
It’s worth checking out for a couple reasons. First, you get to walk by AT&T park to get there, which I recommend. Second, the coffee is surprisingly good and the atmosphere seems like something you’re unlikely to see outside of San Francisco.
Let’s Get Coffee
If you’re the kind for whom half of the fun in a new city is exploring the local coffee culture, San Francisco is a great place to go, and these are just three of a bunch of great options. If you’ve got any suggestions for me, or want to do some exploring, or just want to grab coffee this week, get in touch.