Java is a hot topic in San Francisco due to the third wave of coffee. This ultra-cool movement focuses on latte art and made-to-order pour-overs, in addition to more transparency around coffee bean origins and processing methods.
The coffee scene aligns perfectly with the progressive and artsy vibe rampant in the city. Here are some of the best neighborhoods for coffee in San Francisco.
Overall, Nob Hill serves as a center for San Francisco's upper class with some of the highest-income residents in the U.S. At the southern end is Lower Nob Hill, which today is a center of activity for anyone looking to have fun. Dive bars sit alongside upscale restaurants and cool cafes, making the area full of nightlife.
Daytime is also active in this area, with locals stopping for French lavender lattes or peanut butter mochas at Crostini & Java, just one of the many coffee shops and cafes close by. To live close to all this action will cost you about $3,024 on average in rent for a one-bedroom apartment.
The central shopping, hotel and theater district of the city, Downtown San Francisco's Union Square provides plenty to do. The name of the square comes from the area's support of the Union Army during the Civil War. Today, it's a major tourist destination with tons of department stores and boutiques set among hotels and restaurants.
When visiting this area, stop in for a coffee pick-me-up at Iron Horse Coffee, which serves hot java drinks with or without a little alcoholic spike.
San Francisco's Chinatown is one of the oldest Chinatowns in the U.S. It combines authentic Asian eateries and stores with more modern bakeries, lounges and souvenir shops. Visit a Chinese herbalist, tour one of the temples or stop for a photo op at the Dragon Gate before warming up with a cup of coffee.
Yu's Cafe will serve you a cup, in addition to offering desserts and bubble tea. Also popular throughout this area are tea houses like Vital Tea Leaf, which boasts being able to share the secret life of tea to visitors.
A uniquely arranged community, Polk Gulch centers around a specific section of Polk Street and runs through Nob Hill and Russian Hill. The original center for the city's LGBTQ community, there's no shortage of restaurants, cafes and places to shop crammed into this little area of San Francisco.
Stop into Saint Frank Coffee and enjoy a coffee flight to whet your palette, then head back out in this easily walkable area.
One of the first gay neighborhoods in the United States, the Castro District continues to symbolize activism and unity. A major cultural destination within San Francisco, you can catch a show at The Castro Theatre or visit the GLBT Historical Society Museum while wandering around. Stop by Harvey Milk Plaza before checking out the local scene in this part of town.
Take a break from all the excitement and sneak into a quiet coffee shop like Verve Coffee Roasters or grab a cup of Joe after a show at the Castro Coffee Company, located in The Castro Theatre.
Whether or not you call San Francisco home, you can find innovative coffee shops worthy of the third wave, across the country.
Check out these other cities going above and beyond in their coffee shop style and see if your hometown made the list.
To determine the best neighborhoods for coffee in San Francisco, we scored every neighborhood on Apartment Guide by business density (coffee shops divided by land area) and coffee shops per capita (coffee shops divided by population). Each score was weighted at 50 percent and combined to come up with an overall coffee score for each neighborhood. The neighborhoods with the highest combined score were determined to be the best neighborhoods for coffee in our quantitative study.
Neighborhoods with fewer than five coffee shops and 500 residents were excluded.
Coffee shop totals come from commercially licensed business listings and my not reflect recent openings or closures. Population and area come from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Rent prices are based on a rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and Rent.com's multifamily rental property inventory from June 2019 to June 2020. We use a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each individual unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets.
The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.