Logo tote bags, after a brief period of saturation and decline, came roaring back to popularity during the pandemic, perhaps because trips to Walgreens to score toilet paper and antidepressant refills require some level of environmental conscientiousness, but also because we became sympathetic shoppers, eager to support our beloved restaurants, cafes, and businesses in a cost-effective way. Here are ten of our favorite totes, ranging from independent coffee roasters to a beloved California burger chain, that will help you — or your holiday gift recipient — signal an identity to the world while scaling back the 8 million metric tons of plastic that enters our oceans each year.
Andytown Coffee Roasters
From the one of my favorite coffee roasters in the Bay Area, this canvas bag features a bud vase and the Outer Sunset caffeine staple’s signature Snowy Plover. Charming! It works well as a grocery bag or a fashionable carryall. Be sure to cram it full of Andytown coffee (the Ethiopean Bedhatu Jibicho is my pick), a California flag-themed pullover, and this nifty navy beanie for the perfect under-the-tree gift.
Buy: Andytown ($12)
Any self-respecting nostalgic will squeal with delight at this collaborative bag, the design of which comes with a double dose of ye olde San Francisco: the famed Doggie Diner head paired with psychedelicized Art Nouveau lettering reminiscent of a Grateful Dead concert poster. Exceptionally sturdy, each bag is printed, cut, and sewn in SF.
Buy: Rickshaw Bagworks ($40)
Created by Olivia Olivier of Rose and Thorn Tattoo, this whimsical tote from SF Chickenbox (SFC for short) features a 19th and Valencia Street sign (near the pollo purveyor’s spot in the Mission District), Sutro Tower, a pair of mochi muffins, and, yes, a chicken crossing the proverbial road.
Buy: SF Chickenbox ($15)
Featuring a slew of bags with Italian text (“white or red?” and “I want to drink you,” just to name two), these cotton canvas bags, made by Mani In Pasta, are available for purchase on their own, or with a Biondivino wine club subscription. The San Francisco-based enterprise highlights wines from all over Italy, including those from smaller producers and hard-to-find cult wines.
Buy: Biondivino ($22)
Looking for an elite tote bag? Look no further than this one from chef Hayes Valley restaurant, Monsieur Benjamin. The bag, simple and elegant, comes with the restaurant’s fox logo. It also screams, “I have taste in both bags and Michelin-lauded chef Cory Lee’s award-winning fare.”
Contact Monsieur Benjamin to buy
This ample and roomy canvas bag from the SoMa beer and pizza destination comes with wide, reinforced shoulder straps and a downright adorable design featuring the three wise men — in the form of a llama, a pig, and a dog — and people picking pluots from a tree. Best of all, the bag can easily carry a bushel of beer, like Cellarmaker Brewing’s Radio Edit pale ale or Cantaloupe Island IPA.
Buy: Cellarmaker Brewing ($15)
This minimalist tote from Blue Bottle, with an aqua-hued bottle in the lower right-hand corner, mimics the look and feel of the Oakland-founded coffee company’s stores, clean and sparse with neither fuss nor muss. Made from organic cotton, this carryall could double as a weekender bag in a pinch. For a deluxe gift, fill it with goodies from Blue Bottle, including coffee subscriptions, a Hasami Porcelain mug and saucer, or a Fellow Stagg EKG Electric Pour Over Kettle.
Buy: Blue Bottle ($16)
Coffeehouses really seem to know how to do tote bags well, and Sightglass is the third java-focused cafe on this list due in large part to it having the best design of the bunch: two fingers forming a circle holding a sole bean. Colors come in beige/brown and navy blue/white. Fill it full of Sightglass beans, like the Winter Solstice blend or Owl’s Howl espresso.
Buy: Sightglass ($25)
Give the gift of California burger fandom with this tote modeled after the Southern California-based burger chain. It comes with two long strap handles, two inside and outside pockets, and a zipper. The tote is finished with In-N-Out’s logo, signature red palm trees, and its slogan “Quality You Can Taste Since 1948.” Take that, smashburger hive.
Buy: In-N-Out ($6.95)
This Inner Sunset Korean superette is a neighborhood staple. It also has the distinction of having one of the best names for a business, food or otherwise. Passersby will curtsey before this simple cobalt blue tote bag with a cursive “Queens San Francisco” smack dab in the center, which could mean a lot of things depending on which neighborhood you find yourself in. But those in the know get that Queens reigns supreme when it comes to artisanal Korean provisions, pantry staples, and grab-and-go foods.