Where to Work/Study: the Cafes of the Lower Haight

With all the students and work-from-home types living in the Lower Haight, grabbing a cup of joe and securing a table at a coffee shop can be tough in our part of town.

That's why we've surveyed which cafes provide the most comfortable work environments for those needing to spend a few hours on the grind (no pun intended). There were six critical criteria we took into account when making our observations: cafe vibe, Wi-Fi, coffee source, food, plentiful outlets and ambiance.

Here's our round-up.



Bean There
201 Steiner Street
Vibe: Bright, airy, and a little artsy
Wi-Fi: Free
Coffee Source: Castro Cheesery, Mister Espresso and Uncommon Grounds
Food: Sandwiches, Pastries, Breakfast
Outlets: Plentiful (electrical cords along windows and back area)
Ambience: A great place to park yourself for a few hours, Bean There speaks to a party of one. The tables are small, the lighting is bright and the coffee is strong. Most people in here are working so there isn’t much conversation. The occasional couple will come in just to hang out but for the most part, this is the place to pop in your headphones and dig into your studies. And if you get hungry, grab one of the sandwiches from the fridge or a gluten-free coffee cake. They’re delicious!



Flickr/cbowns

Cafe du Soleil
200 Fillmore Street
Vibe: Charming and a bit romantic (i.e. French)
Wi-Fi: Free
Coffee Source: Equator Coffee
Food: Breakfast/Brunch, Lunch, Dinner, Pastries
Outlets: No visible outlets
Ambience: Cafe du Soleil is a sunny place to grab brunch or catch up with friends. The food is tasty and the drinks are reminiscent of what you would find at a cafe in France. It is not, however, an ideal laptop-based study cafe for the reason being that there are no outlets. Unless you have a fully-charged battery that lasts a very long time, this place should be reserved for enjoying an espresso (or a beer!) while people-watching in the sun (at least when there is sun).



Cafe International
508 Haight Street
Vibe: Funky and eclectic
Wi-Fi: Free
Coffee Source: Alvin’s Scrumptious Coffee & Teas
Food: Pastries, Sandwiches, Smoothies, Breakfast, Lunch
Outlets: Plentiful (every other table against the wall)
Ambience: Cafe International is in a class all its own. The bright art, comfy couches, outdoor mural and exceptional music all lend to the uniqueness of this coffee shop. During the day it is great for studying, with outlets along the walls and tables large enough to fit plates, Turkish coffee and a computer. There are a mix of people working hard and those hardly working. And if you stay late enough, you might even catch some live music.



Flickr/Premshree

The Grind
783 Haight Street
Vibe: Bustling upscale diner
Wi-Fi: Free
Coffee Source: Mr. Espresso
Food: Breakfast/Brunch, Lunch, Dinner, Pastries
Outlets: Four (along the back wall)
Ambience: The Grind is a great place to get your grind on during specific times. If you wait till after the breakfast/brunch rush, you will find it’s quiet, bright and perfect for studying. However, it can be a bit loud for those working during busy hours. Come during happy hour and order beer, wine or a soju cocktail to help you get through the last of your workday. Nothing like a beer to keep hard workers happy and focused!



Vinyl Coffee & Wine Bar
359 Divisadero Street
Vibe: Chic but approachable
Wi-Fi: Free
Coffee Source: Blue Bottle
Food: Breakfast, Salads, Paninis, Pastries
Outlets: Plenty (along window and side wall, behind couch)
Ambience: The newest cafe addition to the Lower Haight bodes well for those looking for a swanky place to see and be seen while getting work done. There's a large selection of coffee drinks and food, as well as an entire fridge full of non-caffeinated beverages (including house kombucha, coconut water and wine country soda). Be aware that occasionally the curtains can make the space seem darker, so if you're one who needs bright light, try to set up along the window. There’s plenty of space to work, including a large, communal table in the center of the room. If it's crowded, bring your computer to the bar where you can order a glass of wine when the time's right. It's a coffee and wine bar, after all.


There you have it, folks — our roundup of work/study-friendly cafes in the neighborhood. Do you have a favorite? Or a go-to that's not on our list? Let us know.