With school starting up again, permalancers getting back from their summer vacations, and the tech boom showing no signs of abating, most SF cafes are a sea of laptops at the moment. (Need to get some work done? Here are a bunch of good spots with free wi-fi.) But in this hyperconnected age, all of us could stand to unplug a little. That's why we're spotlighting 17 cafes that proudly don't offer wi-fi, perfect for getting away and doing a little reading, drawing, letter-writing, and/or contemplation. Grab a cup of something warm (or a delicious pastry), turn your phone off for a minute (Twitter and Instagram will still be there when you're done), and let your mind wander.Read More
Relax and Unplug at These 17 Wifi-Free SF Cafes
1. B. Patisserie
Wi-fi would only distract from the glorious treats on the plate at B. Patisserie, where renowned pastry chef Belinda Leong does magic with flour and sugar. Try the legendary kouign amann or one of the seasonal plated desserts, and put down your phone so you can savor every bite.
2. Jackson Place Cafe
This charming little spot in a historic building boasts exposed brick, real gas lamps, and seating on a courtyard patio. The friendly Italian owners are quick with a smile, making it a nice escape from the hectic cubicles of the FiDi.
3. Jane on Larkin
Eat something healthy and catch up on those thank-you notes you need to write at Jane's Tenderloin location, where quinoa bread, green smoothies, and egg-white breakfast sandwiches are all made in house. Then linger with a book over a cup of Stumptown coffee or Song tea.
4. Blue Bottle Coffee
Despite being such a tech-industry draw that someone created a webcam of its line, Blue Bottle Mint doesn't have wi-fi. Like Sightglass, that doesn't mean you won't see iPads and phones all around, but most customers are toting cups back to their offices. Stick around and enjoy a waffle instead. The Mission/Heath Ceramics location is a quieter place to escape wi-fi.
5. Caffe Centro
With South Park right outside, who needs wi-fi? Grab a sidewalk table and rest your eyes on some greenery at this delightful (and permanently packed) SOMA hideaway. Or if the tables are all spoken for, just take your coffee right into the park.
6. Sightglass Coffee
Despite having several notable tech folks as investors, Sightglass is entirely wi-fi-less at both its SOMA and Mission locations. You're far more likely to see techies doing deals face-to-face here than lost in their computers.
7. Ma'velous Coffee & Wine Bar
Despite being in the shadow of the Twitter building, this cute cafe is proudly wi-fi free. Bring a friend and do a side-by-side coffee tasting with two of their six brewing methods, or come in the evening for a glass of wine and a magazine from their huge selection.
8. 20th Century Cafe
Michelle Polzine's adorable Hayes Valley cafe is like a miniature trip to Vienna, complete with delicious Eastern European-inspired food and pastries served on delicate china by staffers attired in vintage finery. You'll rarely see a laptop, and for good reason: it would break the spell.
9. The Mill
Home of the infamous $4 toast (it's actually $3.50), The Mill is a great place to unwind and watch Josey Baker and his bread-baking crew turn out their famous loaves. Sip your Four Barrel coffee, then grab some bread to take home for dinner.
10. Beachside Cafe
Escape to Ocean Beach for a meal and coffee at this cute cafe, which offers full breakfasts, lunches, and even beer and wine. Choose a tome from the $5 book wall, or grab a salted caramel latte to go and take a contemplative stroll along the shore.
11. House of Coffee
Watch owner Henry Kalibjian roast his coffee in-house (he's done it daily for 45 years) as you sip your own cup at this hidden Sunset gem. There are only a handful of tables, but scoring one will definitely brighten your day.
12. Cafe Reverie
San Francisco, CA 94117
Get lost in thought in Cafe Reverie's bi-level back garden, perfect for enjoying a touch of SF summer amid the Victorians of Cole Valley. They have a full menu of salads, sandwiches, and breakfast items; just be sure to bring cash, as they don't accept cards.
13. Thorough Bread and Pastry
Run by the students of the SF Baking Institute, this cafe features teacher-approved pastries, sandwiches on house-baked bread, and a lovely back garden in which to enjoy it all. Pick up something new to read from Aardvark Books across the street, and settle in.
14. Four Barrel Coffee
Despite being Mecca for Mission locals, you'll rarely see a laptop inside Four Barrel's space, as wi-fi has long been verboten. Park at the pourover bar and chat up your barista instead, or meet a friend out in the adorable parklet.
15. Borderlands Cafe
This sci-fi/fantasy oriented bookstore offers a cafe for enjoying the contents of its shelves, minus wi-fi. Ask the staff to help you pick a new novel to get lost in, then pull up a chair and sip tea while you turn the pages.
16. Ritual Coffee Roasters
Ritual had a longstanding reputation for being Ground Zero for laptoppers, but the management decided to drop wi-fi earlier this year to prevent people from parking it. While you may find the occasional rogue writer or programmer clacking away Internet-free, it's not the sea of computers it used to be. The Bayview location is also sans wi-fi.
17. Dynamo Donut & Coffee
Most visitors to Dynamo order a Four Barrel brew and an artisanal donut (in flavors like maple bacon apple and spiced chocolate), then head out to start their day. But if you feel like lingering, there's a flower-filled back patio, complete with umbrellas, for savoring your donut and the Mission sunshine.