An atmospheric, comfortable place to write for hours with friends
March 19, 2017 12:45 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a place in the Bay Area to have a mini-writing-retreat with a few friends. It could be a restaurant or coffeehouse with a private or semi-private room, a reservable workspace, a community center room, an AirBnB, or something I haven't thought of. It should be in the SF Bay Area and easily accessible by BART. Help?

Top priorities:
1. Easily BARTable (if you know something AWESOME but not BARTable, go ahead and mention it!)
2. Private to semi-private (not loud; not Panera, Peet's, Starbucks, or Borderlands Cafe)
3. Bathrooms and water available
4. Food + coffee/tea for purchase onsite or very nearby, or basic kitchen onsite
5. Comfortable seating plus desks or tables
6. Can be used for 6-12 hours
7. Seats ~6-10 people
8. $200 or less to reserve

1. Atmosphere: someplace interesting or with character would be nice
2. Free or cheap to use would be cool
3. Specific suggestions rather than categories or types of place would be ideal
4. Least important: Alcohol sold/allowed onsite

I'm open to places with or without wifi.

Any city along BART is fine. I don't have any particular kind of venue in mind, so...if you have an off-the-wall suggestion, go for it! Thanks.
posted by wintersweet to Grab Bag (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This posting is out of date, but LSI (a block from Downtown Berkeley BART) definitely still rents classroom space on evenings and weekends.
posted by ktkt at 1:29 PM on March 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

Are you going to be mostly writing or talking about what you're writing? If the former, I'd go to Morrison library (in Doe library) on the UC Berkeley campus. Awesome overstuffed chairs and sofas, great atmosphere and tables. You might see some students sleeping, though. The free speech movement cafe and others are nearby. Caveat: Haven't been to these places in ten years, so check if they're still as nice as I remember them.
posted by meijusa at 1:48 PM on March 19, 2017

Public libraries usually have meeting rooms that you can reserve, if you have a library card in that system. In SF, the Main Library and the Glen Park branch are both close to BART stations. (Maybe some other branches too?)
The Main Library has a little coffee shop in the basement (at least, last time I was there) but you can't take food out into the library; however, you could duck out for refreshments and then go back to your writing room.
The Glen Park branch is near several coffee shops; same restriction on food in the library.
posted by Quietgal at 1:49 PM on March 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

Libraries are often excellent options for what you describe and should hit seven of the eight top requirements, with kitchens or food/beverage availability nearby the main sticking point, and dependent on which of the locations below that you might want. . I don't know the area, but this link for BARTable libraries may help. Public libraries often have easily, inexpensively-reserved rooms. Here's the main meeting room page for the San Francisco Public Library and the meeting room info and contact info for all of the individual branches.
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 1:50 PM on March 19, 2017

Yes, I should have mentioned: the library suggestion is covered, and is pretty low on the list due to food and drink restrictions.
posted by wintersweet at 8:14 PM on March 19, 2017

You could look into a conference room at a co-working space. They are all over the Bay, tend to be BART accessible, have loose food restrictions, are often near great cafes etc. and you could probably negotiate renting out a conference room for the day at that price.
posted by Toddles at 8:45 PM on March 19, 2017

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