mmmmmmmm coffee
May 27, 2010 12:47 PM   Subscribe

Best coffee shops in San Francisco for hanging out and reading for a few hours?

I don't care about the quality - I hit Farley's for lattes and Philz when I need the equivalent of a line of coke. But I don't like either for sitting and reading. Farley's bistro tables and chairs aren't comfortable and Philz in the Mission is too cramped. Here is what I am looking for:

* Lots of couches
* Decent number of people around (empty coffee shops are sad)
* Decent ambience (hard to define, I know, but I'd like to avoid places that look like an attic or have sbux style uninspired decor).

I don't care about size or neighborhood. When I lived down on the Peninsula I really liked Cafe Barrone, and when I lived in Boston I loved Diesel cafe in Somerville. I haven't come across anything similar in SF.
posted by MillMan to Food & Drink (12 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Sorry, that should be "I don't care about the quality of the coffee" in the first sentence.
posted by MillMan at 12:49 PM on May 27, 2010

Think its fits many of your criteria. It's down the street from Philz.
posted by vacapinta at 1:00 PM on May 27, 2010 [2 favorites]

I was thinking of Sugarlump as well.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 1:14 PM on May 27, 2010

I really like the Grove, which has locations all around the city. It's more of a cafe than a coffee shop, and it can be pricey, but it's super comfortable, busy but rarely packed, and no one cares if you hang out for a while with coffee and/or a piece of (remarkably delicious) pie and read. I practically haunt the place on lazy weekend afternoons.
posted by eugenen at 1:44 PM on May 27, 2010

I spent a nice afternoon at the Epicenter Cafe next to the Whole Foods at Harrison and 4th). Wireless, food, coffee, interesting people... can't recall about couches.
posted by pjenks at 2:39 PM on May 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Ritual can be mobbed, but when it isn't, it's delightful.
posted by judith at 2:48 PM on May 27, 2010

Java on Ocean is that, and with caged birds singing. Old couches, interesting atmosphere, always someone in there, but rarely mobbed. Except it's all the way out here by City College.

I don't drink coffee, so Vesuvio in North Beach is where I go. Take the Lady Psychiatrist booth with a book from City Lights next door and nurse a beer all day. It's the best place on the face of the entire planet.
posted by Gucky at 3:35 PM on May 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

And also, Simple Pleasures in the Outer Richmond. i can't give you a couch count, but last I was there, they had a few and it's a totally chill place. Very nice people.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 3:44 PM on May 27, 2010

Blue Danube Coffee House, in the inner richmond, is a good place to sit and read. Clement is not too distracting if you sit outdoors, a good amount of couch seating indoors, and a few blocks from Green Apple bookstore.
posted by stop sign at 4:26 PM on May 27, 2010

Personal favorite is Sugarlump. Best for all-around comfort and atmosphere.

Atlas Cafe is nice, too -- they have a decent outdoor area and really good food.

Four Barrel is trendy, but damn is their coffee good.
posted by Afroblanco at 8:01 PM on May 27, 2010

Is red dora's bearded lady cafe still open? i can't seem to google it. i think it was on 14th between guerrero and valencia. I don't remember any couches, but the back patio and the vibe was always gorgeous ...
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 9:18 PM on May 27, 2010

Try Maxfield's on Dolores. It fits your description and if you get tired of the scene your Plan B is located a block south at Dolores Park. It's a good park to read and people-watch.

Also, Maxfield's has the best chai latte in town IMHO.
posted by quadog at 9:29 PM on May 27, 2010

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