In our opinion, one of San Francisco's greatest attributes is its plethora of indie cafes and friendly coffee shops, eager to welcome you for an hour or two (or entire afternoon if you're an amiable patron and order something occasionaly). On the other hand, this makes it more difficult to sift through the masses and reveal the true gems. Which is where we come in: We've done the work for you. Whether you're an artist, self-employed or simply need to get out of the house once in awhile, hit up one of these beloved spots for a respite, quality eats and a little peace of mind (oh and occasionally, complimentary WiFi, too).
BEAN BAG CAFE (601 Divisadero St., 415-563-3634)
This cutesy Bohemian joint isn’t always the best place to get actual work done, as an interesting mix of music is usually blaring at top volume. But the staff is friendly and the Internet free. Plus, the chalkboard menu of sweet and savory crepes is so enticing, don’t blame us if you spend more time eating than you do checking your e-mail.
GROVE (2016 Fillmore St., 415-474-1419)
Ask anyone what to order at this hip Pac Heights haunt, and the answer will be unanimous: orange juice. This may sound like an odd choice at a cafe by day, bar by night, but the people aren't wrong. It's that good. The place is very chill and cozy with a cabin-like vibe to it, not at all what you'd expect out of this particular neighborhood, which tends to be borderline yuppie.
ARLEQUIN (384 Hayes St., 415-626-1211)
In an area of town where there seems to be a cafe in every other storefront, Arlequin leads the Hayes Valley pack. The coffee is strong and comes in big bowl-like mugs, and the food is delectable, with fancy salads and sandwiches galore, and mouthwatering pastries and cookies to fill the void in between meals. Wireless is complimentary, and there's even a delightful back garden for sunnier days.
NOOK (1500 Hyde St.t, 415-447-4100)
With nearly as many outlets as it has seats (and free Internet for all), Nook is a favorite spot with writers and other independent entrepreneurs, as they can stay hooked up all day long without a hitch. It doesn’t hurt that the menu of gourmet salads and sandwiches is nothing short of spectacular either.
NANI’S COFFEE (2739 Geary Blvd., 415-928-8817)
A family-owned and operated enterprise coffee shop that opened in 2002, Nani’s ooze charm and genuineness and boasts an impressive selection of fancy brews. Just try to find someone who will say a bad word about this neighborhood hangout that straddles Pacific Heights and the Western Addition.
CAFE FLORE (2298 Market St.t, 415-621-8579)
This Castro café/restaurant by day, hopping night club by night is perfect for people watching (the scene is half of the appeal of this gay-friendly bistroesque bar) while catching up on your correspondence. The wait’s a bit lengthy, so if you’re planning on setting up shop for the afternoon, plan your visit around prime dining hours.
THE SAGE CAFE (340 Grove St., 415-252-9887)
The centrally-located coffee shop is roomy and rarely overflowing, making it easy to get a seat at any time of the afternoon. It also offers a tasty selection of pastries and light fare, like wonton dishes and potstickers. Ask for the Internet password, which comes free when you order your coffee or tea. Conveniently, you can pop into Citizen Cake, just across the street, for a celebratory cupcake or baked good once all of your work is done.