Our pals over at the new travel app Spot are based in San Francisco, so they seemed the perfect people to give us the lowdown on everything good in town. Over the next few weeks, they’re going to be sharing some of the things that make the so-called City By The Bay the creative capital that it is. First up? A look inside their favorite local design-forward coffee shops, offering up major ambiance in addition to a perfectly pulled shot of espresso. With intricate tilework, killer light fixtures, and an impeccable shelfie game, they’re bastions of Cali-cool design with style moves chic enough to crib for your own home.

Image credit: Courtesy of Spot.com

Sightglass Coffee – SOMA

In Sightglass’s expansive flagship, light pours in from the skylights and three-story-high windows, while baristas sling coffee from a brushed-zinc bar that seems to float like an island in the middle of the room. You can grab one of the tables at the front of the room, or take your order up to the second level, an open-air mezzanine with a cat-bird view of the ground-floor goings-on. The space was previously a working warehouse, hence the industrial sensibility where metal, wood, concrete, and glass are the four elements, and why the vintage Probat roaster chugging away in the corner seems happily at home here.

The order: A prepared-to-order pour over.

Image credit: Courtesy of Spot.com

Image credit: Courtesy of Spot.com

Andytown – Outer Sunset

In the kick-back surfer ’hood of the Outer Sunset, this cozy space was meant to feel like your grandma’s house—upgraded. Or maybe Michael McCory’s grandma’s house—upgraded. He, along with partner in life and love Lauren Crabbe, dreamt up the concept, pulling inspiration from his Belfast roots: Andersonstown’s a suburb there and Andytown’s pastries reference McCory’s grandmother’s recipes—her soda bread inspires sweet and savory scones. The couple (who met serendipitously when tending the same shift at a San Diego coffee joint) was also deeply involved in the design: Subway tiles act as a backsplash for the behind-the-bar action, plants add pops of color and life, and coffee is served in custom cups by ceramicist Doug Dowers.

The order: The cafe’s famous Snowy Plover, an over-ice lip-smacker of pellegrino, espresso, and a little brown sugar topped with fresh whipped cream.

Image credit: Courtesy of Spot.com

Image credit: Courtesy of Spot.com

Mazarine – Financial District

When you step inside this Market Street find, what grabs your attention first are the tiled alcoves backing the baristas (but that’s only because you haven’t been to the bathroom yet—more on it later). The milky-blue tiles recall rows of library books because the concept of this shop was inspired by Paris’s Bibliotheque Mazarine, the oldest public library in France. Across from the prep bar, under extended brass “reading lamps,” the leather banquettes are comfy enough for you to while away hours with your coffee in one hand and a good book in the other. And as for those bathrooms? They’re papered in Osborne & Little’s whimsical Penguin Library design, a collage of covers from classics like Wuthering Heights and Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Image credit: Courtesy of Nicholas V. Ruiz Photography for Mazarine

The order: A nitro cold brew (coffee infused with tiny nitrogen bubbles that make it smooth and creamy).

Image credit: Courtesy of Spot.com

The Mill – Nopa

The Mill is a finely tuned bakery-slash-coffeeshop that’s a joint effort between Four Barrel coffee and bread guru Josey “real last name” Baker. Here, mod Scandinavian vibes are tempered by Victorian details, and the epic open wood shelves, custom-built by Alex Palecko, are an Instagrammer’s fantasy-come-true.

The order: The Mill’s famous for its thick slices of gussied-up toast (though the toast trend wasn’t started here, but at Trouble Coffee), but the little-known local’s play is to drop by during Monday Night Pizza, when Baker whips up a one-type, no-options pizza you can order by the slice or pie.

Best of all: It’s BYOB.

Image credit: Courtesy of Spot.com

Image credit: Courtesy of Spot.com

Blue Bottle – Financial District

Started in Oakland in the early aughts by a “slightly disaffected freelance musician and coffee lunatic,” as he calls himself, Blue Bottle is now a Bay Area mainstay with a handful of cafes and pipsqueak kiosks in fun locations, notably Heath Ceramics’ Mission-district factory. New to the family is Blue Bottle’s Sansome outpost in a 1912 building that once held haberdashery and barbershop Cable Car Clothiers. You enter the space—bright white with original moulding and tile—through arched doors, and coffee is served from a sleek central bar crafted from marble and wood.

The order: The company’s slightly sweetened New Orleans-style cold brew.

Image credit: Courtesy of Spot.com

Image credit: Courtesy of Spot.com

Image credit: Courtesy of Spot.com

Piccino Coffee Bar – Dogpatch

You can’t miss the cheery yellow house that holds Piccino Coffee Bar (around the corner is its sister restaurant of the same name). From a pint-size coffee bar, baristas pour Sightglass coffee as patrons queue in the huge arched doorway, a nod to the building’s carriage-house beginnings. Elegant shelves holding ceramics by design/builder renaissance-man Loring Sagan (who oversaw the reno of the location) and fresh flowers on the tables—always—bring warmth to the one-room shop. On weekend mornings, the line snakes out the big open door, people sip coffee and chat at an interior communal table and outside benches. It’s a friendly neighborhood spot, built for locals but worth the trip for anyone.

The order: A pour-over coffee and housemade pastry—Piccino does a mean sticky bun and focaccia sandwich.

Image credit: Courtesy of Spot.com

Image credit: Courtesy of Spot.com

Reveille – Mission Bay

Staking out a spot in the on-the-rise Mission Bay neighborhood, the newest outpost of Reveille (cleverly: French for wake up) has busted out of its coffee-bar roots as this full-fledged cafe. Designed by the owner-brothers themselves, the bright, airy space is a knockout with a one-two punch of sleek coffee counter and eye-catching espresso bar. About that espresso bar: think graphic tiles, gray-leather stools, and precisely stocked open shelving. Your inner plant lady will be green with envy over the Spanish moss draped around a striking portrait by one-to-watch Canadian artist Erin Armstrong, and the vases holding big fronds that flank the bar top. Outside, pink-topped cocktail tables that could be vying for a part in a Wes Anderson flick provide alfresco seating for sunny days.

The order: A latte, hot or iced.

Image credit: Courtesy of Reveille

Image credit: Courtesy of Spot.com

Image credit: Courtesy of Spot.com

Jane on Fillmore – Pacific Heights

No plain Jane here, this Ken Fulk-designed café was inspired by a swinging ’70s London coffeeshop and is sexy as all get out. There’s the painted-black moulding set off by the black-leather banquettes. The room-length mirror “tagged” by street-artist Geso. The floral wallpaper on the other wall. The hits of red in the flea-market-find pendant lights and the slick La Marzocco espresso machine.

The order: The sumptuous coffee comes from Stumptown, but the hot chocolate comes with a giant homemade marshmallow that you need to taste to believe.

Image credit: Courtesy of Spot.com

Check out even more beautiful, inspiring coffee shops across the U.S.

Spot lets you easily find, save, and share cool places in your city and around the world much like you do in real life: pulling from in-the-know friends, jet-setting experts, and the kind of tastemakers who are into the same things you are. Get the app for free via Spot.com.

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Laura

August 18, 2016

This is so timely! I’m going to SF this weekend, and I’m definitely going to check out a few of these “spots.” Love the order suggestions. 😉 – L

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