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Nook

5 Oct

Ever wanted to take a cable car to a coffee shop? Well then Nook is your spot. Right along the Powell-Hyde cable car line, Nook is a cozy cafe and wine bar with a large menu.

Fruit and granola at Nook

Fruit and granola at Nook

Despite offering internet, there aren’t many other people using laptops at Nook. The clientele leans a bit toward the leisurely lunch crowd, but they’re friendly to the laptop set too. There are a few tables outside, so on nice days you can wave at the tourists riding by.

Sangria Mondays

Sangria Mondays

Pluses: a lot of food options, happy hour

Minuses: internet is limited to 7am-5pm on weekdays (none on holidays or weekends), it can be crowded, and have you seen how expensive cable car rides are?

The Creamery

23 Aug

The Creamery sits right across from San Francisco’s main Caltrain station, and as such, it’s a popular place for commuters to grab a coffee or snack on the go. But it’s also a great place to hang out mid-day with a tasty sandwich, a good cup of coffee, and plenty of other workers doing just the same.

The Creamery

Outside The Creamery

The Creamery’s extensive food menu is a definite strength: hot and cold sandwiches, sweet and savory crepes, and plenty of breakfast items. (The Creamery is also connected to a taqueria called Iron Cactus, should you want to put the laptop aside for a second and grab a burrito.) The inside is all wood beams and windows, but there’s also a sunny patio out front, where a few big umbrellas provide some shade.

Sandwich at The Creamery

Sandwich at The Creamery

The big downside? No outlets. Come fully charged, or plan to work for a couple of hours and then pack up for lunch (or a happy hour beer).

Pluses: Lengthy menu, Ritual coffee, plenty of seating

Minuses: No outlets, a little dark inside despite big windows

Local 123

8 Aug
Local 123

Local 123

Local 123 is an East Bay gem. They take their coffee (Sightglass) and tea seriously, and they even have beer and wine, on tap. Their website explains that wine on tap is greener and cheaper than bottled, so why not? We haven’t tried their food yet, but the menu sounds delicious and most of it is sourced locally.

Tea at Local 123

Tea at Local 123

This roomy spot has a lot of tables and a back porch, and no one batted an eye when one of us closed her laptop and started cutting, gluing, and coloring paper (for work, we swear!).

It’s a good thing this spot in is the East Bay. Otherwise we might have to close down Lunch and Laptop and go here every day.

Pluses: friendly atmosphere, room to spread out, environmentally friendly, outdoor seating

Minuses: far away from San Francisco, no visible outlets

Duboce Park Cafe

2 Aug

Duboce Park Cafe couldn’t be more convenient for one of us to visit, and yet it’s never been a Lunch and Laptop favorite, owing largely to lackluster food and coffee. But a recent series of upgrades has moved this Duboce Triangle/Lower Haight spot up a few notches on the list.

Outside Duboce Park Cafe

Outside Duboce Park Cafe

The first good sign was the introduction of Sightglass Coffee earlier this year. Then the treats quotient exploded, with donuts from Dynamo, cupcakes from Mission Minis, and cake pops joining an already solid selection of chocolate bars, brownies, and muffins. Even the bagels, which were already one of the better food options here, have gotten a quality boost and now come from the adorably logo-ed Spot Bagel.

The lunch still falls a little short, though; the sandwich menu reads like a list of things you could make cheaper at home. But the daily soup is often a good pick, and the smoothie menu is extensive. We’ve been meaning to try the pita pizzas, but we’ll get to that once we’ve tasted all the new bagels. If you like to work through happy hour, it’s hard to do better: $3 pints of good, local beer  starting at 4 p.m. daily? Yes, please.

The wifi is solid, but there aren’t any outlets, so be sure to charge up.

Pluses: On the MUNI N line and close to Church Street Station; abundant outdoor seating for sunny days; dog-friendly outside (and directly across from Duboce Park, for post-laptop dog fun); improving

Minuses: Lunch options are the weakest part of the food menu; no outlets; surprisingly noisy at times

Mercury Cafe

1 Aug
Mercury Cafe vegan baked goods

Mercury Cafe vegan baked goods

Mercury Cafe serves individually brewed cups of De La Paz coffee–beans delivered by bike messenger–homemade vegan and non-vegan baked goods, and sandwiches on Acme bread. Despite their high-brow foodiness, the place is a casual local hangout.

The place fills up most weekdays, though you can usually snag a table if you time it right (or wait for your own spot at one of the counter stools).

They serve beer and wine in the evenings and even have some happy hour specials. They have occasional evening events, listed on their Facebook page.

The cafe has big windows that open onto the sidewalk, so you can pretend you’re working outside on nice days without suffering from screen glare. Seats with plugs, however, are along the back wall; this area can get a little stuffy on hot days, so come fully charged if it’s warm by SF standards. They are currently raising money for their own parklet, so here’s hoping they’ll have a real outdoor seating area soon.

Pluses: Tasty food, plugs, happy hour, reliable internet, big windows

Minuses: Can be busy

The Summit

29 Jul

The Summit got a bunch of attention when it opened late last year, probably because it seemed to bring together three of the things San Francisco loves most: tech entrepreneurship, local food, and fresh coffee. Officially, a whole bunch of start-ups have their offices in this building, thanks to incubator I/O Ventures. Unofficially, a bunch more are probably getting started at any one of The Summit’s long worktables or cushy couches.

Long communal tables at Summit

Long communal tables at Summit

The warehouse-like space accommodates plenty of laptops, and that’s part of its problem: The Summit seems like it would be a great place to hang out and work all day, but with only about six outlets in the whole space, it’s not practical to count on this place being your office-away-from-home. Our tip: Head straight for the back, where you can keep an eye on the prime seats near the wall outlets; bonus points for bringing your own extension cord.

Even if the “laptop” part of Lunch and Laptop can be a challenge here, the “lunch” part is a big winner. It’s not cheap, but it’s also not your standard cafe fare; you’re shelling out for seasonal salads, 4505 Meats sausages, and inventive drink specials. Coffee is from Blue Bottle; teas come on adorable trays with timers. We hear desserts are the real specialty, but they’re only served in the evening, after the laptops are put away.

Iced coffee at The Summit

Iced coffee at The Summit

Pluses: General atmosphere of productivity and start-up-y energy; quality food and drink; collectively produced soundtrack that on one recent day included everything from Radiohead to TLC’s “Waterfalls”

Minuses: Competitive outlet situation; awkward stools instead of proper chairs; pricey

Coffee Bar

23 Jul
Outside Coffee Bar in the evening

Outside Coffee Bar in the evening

Coffee Bar is a classic San Francisco coffeehouse in the sense that you feel like everyone around you is about to launch a start-up. The loft-like space serves up good coffee and fancy food (sandwiches, salads, and soups and brunch on the weekends), as well as beer and wine.

Don’t worry if you can’t get your own table: The Coffee Bar crowd seems accustomed to co-working, so go ahead and ask that table full of strangers if you can use their empty chair.

Pluses: Lovely outdoor patio for sunny days; a Twitter feed of daily specials

Minuses: A “laptop free” policy at many tables during lunch hours (11:30-2:30); only a handful of outlets along the walls