Show Navigation

Uniting Laptop Campers

This site was inspired by my days of laptop camping and the desire to share and explore laptop camping culture with others.

Espressamente Illy, 2349 Market St., San Francisco, CA (Castro), Score: 41/50

image

This new café brings a dash of Italian style to the Castro. Even better, it’s very laptop camper friendly in an area that’s lacking in good camping spots.

Score: 41/50

  • Food: 4/5 – Semifreddi pastries (croissants, morning buns, danish), sandwiches, slices of cake, yogurt parfaits. I like how they heat up the ham & cheese croissant using the panini press
  • Coffee: 4/5 – They serve Illy coffee of course and it’s better than the Illy I get elsewhere. The latte had a pleasing richness and depth.
  • Plugs:  5/5 – Plentiful outlets along the walls
  • Wi-fi: 4/5 – No password required, good strength, unlimited use
  • Ambiance: 5/5 – Very nice, European feel, modern and appealing, white walls, new furniture, plush chairs, white with red accents
  • Noise: 4/5 – Traffic and soothing music, pretty quiet
  • Parking: 2/5 – Not easy but you might be able to find 2 hour free parking, it’s also very close to the Castro station
  • Comfort: 4/5 – Padded stools, nice banquette, some unpadded wooden chairs, lots of small tables
  • Bathroom: 5/5 – Two nice ones, one for women, one for men
  • Art: 4/5 – Framed photographs of coffee

Tips: They sell cute coffee cups (Art collection cups) and coffee beans. Help yourself to complimentary water.

"Laptop Campers Unite!"

- Laptop Camper

Beach N’ Boba, 3560 Taraval St., San Francisco, CA (Parkside), Score: 29/50

image

The old Cutlet House is now home to Beach N’ Boba. It’s a new hangout spot for young Asians who come in groups to snack on fried finger foods, desserts and boba tea drinks. The drinks range in size from huge to ginormous. It doesn’t open till 3 PM but it stays open late (till midnight or later).

Score: 29/50

  • Food: 3/5 – Limited menu of fried finger foods and desserts (ice cream, cheesecake). The kimchee egg rolls with beef, cheese and kimchee were pretty salty.
  • Coffee: 3/5 – Coffee isn’t available; they only have tea drinks. Gold, black, green or jasmine tea drinks can be customized with add ins, level of sweetness, and flavors (syrup added). The boba is pretty firm, sweetened, fresh and chewy but a tad undercooked. The drink has pretty strong tea flavor but isn’t that creamy.
  • Plugs:  0/5 – Didn’t see any
  • Wi-fi: 4/5 – Secure, fast, unlimited
  • Ambiance: 3/5 – Beachy décor, laid back hangout spot, casual and very Asian
  • Noise: 2/5 – Music is quite loud, custeomers are noisy
  • Parking: 5/5 – Easy parking, free
  • Comfort: 3/5 – Padded chairs and padded banquettes, small tables and booths
  • Bathroom: 3/5 – Think there was oone
  • Art: 3/5 – Interesting art not for sale, abstract, goes with blue wall

Tips: With the hot milk tea you can’t adjust the sweetness level, with the other ones you can. Credit cards are accepted.

"Laptop Campers Unite!"

- Laptop Camper

Hot Press Café, 2966 Mission St, San Francisco, CA (Mission), Score: 30/50

image

If ambiance isn’t a concern and you’re craving an affordable, made to order hot gourmet panini, check out Hot Press Café. It’s not the fastest place because one guy does everything (cashier, cleanup, cooking). Almost everyone who walks in comes for the panini sandwiches.

Score: 30/50

  • Food: 4/5 – They specialize in hot paninis with an international influence (some are Italian, some Mexican, some Middle Eastern). Vegetarians would be pleased with all the veggie panini options. You can also get salads, Three Twins Organic Ice Cream, Mitchell’s Ice Cream and sweet dessert sandwiches.  There’s a kids menu. My #2 Try Trick Me tri-tip steak panini with cheese, mushrooms and onions had a tasty garlic aioli and good flavors but the mushrooms were almost raw, the onions hadn’t been cooked long enough and the meat had some gristle.
  • Coffee: 3/5 – Drip and French press are available. They serve Caffe Trieste (or Castro Coffee Company – not sure which). There was a sour aftertaste but the coffee was relatively smooth.
  • Plugs:  3/5 – A couple along one wall
  • Wi-fi: 5/5 - Free, unlimited, average speed. Ask for the password at the counter.
  • Ambiance: 2/5 – Somewhat depressing because of the lack of décor (or bad décor) and dim lighting. It looks like it used to be a convenience store?
  • Noise: 3/5 – The people are quiet but you can hear traffic. The radio and TV are on.
  • Parking: 2/5 – Mostly 1 hour free parking or meters in the area…drive a few blocks away for 2 hour parking.
  • Comfort: 3/5 – Many small tables, counter seating, chairs aren’t padded, pretty spacious so the tables aren’t too close together
  • Bathroom: 3/5 – 1 unisex
  • Art: 2/5 – There are some paintings depicting nature but they aren’t nice

Tips: Earn rewards with Belly. Use LevelUp to pay with your phone. You can pick up packages here. They have Swapbox lockers.

"Laptop Campers Unite!"

- Laptop Camper

Café UB, 3901 18th St., San Francisco, CA (Castro), Score: 27/50

image

The old Urban Bread is now called Café UB. It hasn’t changed much. The décor looks very similar (lots of wood) and they still carry Panorama Bread. The menu (e.g., sandwiches they offer) and the pastries look the same.

Score: 27/50

  • Food: 3/5 – I wasn’t too happy with their sandwiches when they were called Urban Bread but haven’t had once since they changed ownership. The pastry cases hold croissants, cookies, empanadas, scones, muffins, etc. You can get bagels with various spreads and add ons. I think they use Quaker granola for their parfaits.
  • Coffee: 3/5 – The latte had no foam art but wasn’t bad, it was pretty smooth
  • Plugs:  0/5 – There used to be outlets but the new wood benches block them
  • Wi-fi: 5/5 - Free, very fast, no limits. Ask for the password at the counter.
  • Ambiance: 3/5 – Has a rustic look with a lot of wood, modern light fixtures, very laid back. Somewhat spartan in appearance but pleasant enough.
  • Noise: 3/5 – It’s not a busy place and the people who come here are quiet but the traffic is noisy (they keep the door open). The fridge was loud before and it’s still loud
  • Parking: 2/5 – Free 2 hour parking is easy to find but it’s hard to find a space that isn’t limited to 2 hours or metered
  • Comfort: 3/5 – The metal chairs and wood benches aren’t padded but are fairly comfortable, small tables, counter seating.
  • Bathroom: 3/5 – 1 unisex
  • Art: 2/5 – Nothing hanging other than some mirrors

Tips: It’s a smaller space, so it’s better for shorter camping. They still offer day old bread at a discount. It’s open every day at 7 AM. I don’t think anything is baked there because it never smells like freshly baked bread.

"Laptop Campers Unite!"

- Laptop Camper

Golden Bear Trading Company, 1401 6th Ave., San Francisco, CA (Inner Sunset), Score: 28/50

image

It’s an unusual place to camp…Golden Bear is a liquor store that added a coffee bar and some tables, chairs and counter seating. The handcrafted coffee is brewed one cup at a time (like Philz).

Score: 28/50

  • Food: 3/5 – There’s a case of pastries (muffins, croissants, scones), quiche, piroshky, premade breakfast burritos, and baklava. You can also order bagel sandwiches and deli sandwiches made with Boar’s Head meat. The egg & cheese bagel ($4.95) was small without much egg, so it was expensive
  • Coffee: 4/5 – Turkish coffee, handcrafted, made by the cup with cream and sugar if desired, pretty good but not as strong as Philz. The house blend is smooth. They don’t have espresso drinks.
  • Plugs:  3/5 – Outlets along the walls
  • Wi-fi: 5/5 – Secure, fast, unlimited
  • Ambiance: 3/5 – I remember this corner store from way back when. It looks like it was remodeled recently. It does look pretty nice inside with new tables, new white chairs, wood floor. But it’s still a liquor store (with a coffee bar).
  • Noise: 4/5 – Quiet except for traffic and easy listening music station in the background
  • Parking: 2/5 – Tough area because it’s so close to UCSF. You should be able to find 2 hour free parking in the neighborhood, the main area has metered parking. If you park in Golden Gate Park you can park for free for 3 hours.
  • Comfort: 2/5 – Chairs are new and not padded, counter seating, outdoor seating. I don’t think it has heating or it wasn’t on. The chairs aren’t that comfortable.
  • Bathroom: 0/5 – not sure if they had one, I didn’t see one
  • Art: 2/5 – Simple art not for sale, has lists of cities on the wall

Tips: They offer 10% off for UCSF students and employees. The owner or guy behind the counter is pretty chatty, maybe too chatty, but nice.

"Laptop Campers Unite!"

- Laptop Camper

Quickly Kobe Bento, 44 West Portal Ave., San Francisco, CA (West Portal), Score: 26/50

image

Quickly got its start in Taiwan in 1996 and has since expanded to many countries. It’s now the largest Asian drink chain. If you’re looking for some milk tea and a fried snack, this is your place.

Score: 26/50

  • Food: 3/5 – Mostly fried food (snacks), egg puffs, musubi and rice/bento bowls. The popcorn chicken is pretty good.
  • Coffee: 3/5 – Never tried the coffee but the milk tea drinks are okay, they have tea flavor and aren’t super sweet
  • Plugs:  2/5 – Two outlets towards back but awkward location (can create tripping hazard)
  • Wi-fi: 4/5 – Secure, the password is posted
  • Ambiance: 2/5 – Has an afterschool high school hangout vibe with Asian music and videos. It manages to draw a mostly Asian crowd though it isn’t in an area with many Asians. Maybe everyone else is scared off by the Asian pop music.
  • Noise: 2/5 – People are quiet but the music is loud and annoying
  • Parking: 2/5 – You should be able to find 2 hour free parking in the neighborhood, the main area has metered parking
  • Comfort: 3/5 – Chairs are new and not padded, counter seating, small tables
  • Bathroom: 3/5 – one unisex restroom
  • Art: 2/5 – no art, just signs with pictures of food

Tips: It’s cheap and this location accepts credit cards (many other Quickly locations do not). The customer service is better than the typical Quickly location. Note, the shop doesn’t open till 11 AM.

"Laptop Campers Unite!"

- Laptop Camper

Martha & Bros. Coffee, 3868 24th St., San Francisco, CA (Noe Valley), Score: 33/50

image

Martha & Bros. impresses with its variety of food and beverages. They have tons of iced and hot coffee and tea drinks. There are four locations in SF and they roast their own coffee beans.

Score: 33/50

  • Food: 3/5 – The bagel sandwiches are generous and tasty. You’ll find sandwiches, cakes, cookies, muffins, scones, croissants, smoothies, salads, dessert bars, cakes, yogurt parfaits, bagels and more.
  • Coffee: 4/5 – They roast their own beans, coffee is strong and bold, no attempt at foam art
  • Plugs:  3/5 – Spotted a few by the banquettes
  • Wi-fi: 4/5 – Free, unlimited, secure, the password is by the register
  • Ambiance: 3/5 – Warm, bustling neighborhood coffeehouse where friends meet to chat, also usually has a couple of laptop campers, homey décor, older and worn in feel. It’s kinda chaotic and busy.
  • Noise: 4/5 – Many people talking but otherwise quiet
  • Parking: 3/5 – Not that bad, may require walking a few blocks
  • Comfort: 3/5 – Small tables, some chairs are padded, banquette is padded, other chairs aren’t padded
  • Bathroom: 3/5 – One unisex restroom
  • Art: 3/5 – None for sale, various murals along the wall related to coffee

Tips: Outdoor seating is available. They have 10 minute parking across the street. You can buy coffee and tea, plus accessories. Service is friendly.

"Laptop Campers Unite!"

- Laptop Camper

ilana’s Coffee, 2314 Clement St., San Francisco, CA 94121 (Outer Richmond), Score: 27/50

image

It’s amazing how many coffeehouses have come and gone in this same spot: Coffee Luvers, Patima’s Organic Coffee, Angelo’s Café…there may have been others. Ilana’s Coffee isn’t that different from the previous places. They offer the standard things you’d find at a coffeehouse.

Score: 27/50

  • Food: 3/5 – You’ll find baked goods from City Baking Co., sandwiches (deli, Vietnamese), salads, quiche and bagels. The combination Vietnamese sandwich ($4.25) was stuffed generously with thinly sliced chewy cold cuts, pickled carrots and daikon, cilantro, jalapeno, mayo and pate; the bread is nicely toasted so it’s crispy on the outside, soft on the inside - pretty decent.
  • Coffee: 2/5 – They have the usual espresso drinks plus bubble tea. The latte is weak with no foam art but it’s not bitter.
  • Plugs:  1/5 – Spotted one at the very back
  • Wi-fi: 4/5 – No password needed, insecure, free, unlimited, good speed
  • Ambiance: 2/5 – Not much ambiance, quiet place, clean, yellow walls, Asian plants for good luck, homey in a way
  • Noise: 4/5 – Softly playing music, hum of refrigerator, traffic, people are quiet
  • Parking: 2/5 – Hit or miss, can be challenging but if you’re lucky there are all day spaces around
  • Comfort: 4/5 – Chairs are padded, small tables, tables aren’t too close together
  • Bathroom: 3/5 – one unisex restroom
  • Art: 2/5 – no art

Tips: They have many grab and go bottled drinks. It’s a nice enough place but doesn’t offer anything too unique or special.

"Laptop Campers Unite!"

- Laptop Camper

Progressive Grounds, 2301 Bryant St., San Francisco, CA (Mission), Score: 31/50

image

This Progressive Grounds has the same owner as the one in Bernal Heights. The Bernal Heights location is larger. Both locations are comfortable and good for camping out. The owner seems to really like masks.

Score: 31/50

  • Food: 3/5 – Plenty of options, including gluten free and vegan ones. They have sandwiches, homemade soup, salads, grilled lavash wraps, bagels, smoothies, falafel, homemade cake, pastries, cookies, Mitchell’s Ice Cream, etc. Bagel egg sandwiches come with big heaps of egg. One day I want to try the kefta (Moroccan style beef burger).
  • Coffee: 3/5 – The latte is passable and served very hot but the foam is airy and doesn’t add creaminess. The latte is watery with little depth.
  • Plugs:  3/5 – Outlets along the wall
  • Wi-fi: 4/5 – Free, unlimited, stable, no password required
  • Ambiance: 4/5 – homey, laid back, vaguely exotic  and comfy with hanging Moroccan lanterns, you can sit outside and watch traffic drive by on Bryant
  • Noise: 4/5 – Soothing, quiet laid back jazz music, quiet patrons
  • Parking: 1/5 – It’s not good, mostly 1 hour free parking because of the proximity to SF General Hospital, 2 hour free street parking is available too but hard to find
  • Comfort: 4/5 – Big soft plush cushions for bench seating, wooden chairs aren’t padded, mostly small tables and one big communal one
  • Bathroom: 3/5 – one unisex restroom, reminds you of a home bathroom
  • Art: 2/5 – local art looks amateurish

Tips: Coffee beans available for sale. There are plenty of bottled drinks available to grab and go. They have gluten free bagels. They participate in the Belly frequent buyer program. Beer and wine are available.

"Laptop Campers Unite!"

- Laptop Camper

SilverStone Coffee, 3278 24th St., San Francisco, CA (Mission), Score: 26/50

image

Located right by the 24th St. BART Station, SilverStone has a strong Mexican owned vibe with Mexican art. Camp here and grab a taco or burrito down the street (on 24th) afterwards.

Score: 26/50

  • Food: 3/5 – They have sandwiches, breakfast bagels, pre-made burritos/wraps, pastries and a fresh juice bar. The egg and cheese bagel ($4) features your choice of bagel and cheese. There wasn’t much egg and they didn’t add anything but egg and cheese. The bagel quality wasn’t great. Most juices are only $4.
  • Coffee: 3/5 – Latte wasn’t bad though the foam was airy and didn’t add to the creaminess of the drink, it wasn’t bitter. No foam art. The prices are low ($3 for a medium latte). They also have ice cream lattes.
  • Plugs:  3/5 – A couple along the wall
  • Wi-fi: 4/5 – Free, secure, ask for password at the counter, no time limit, good speed
  • Ambiance: 2/5 – Casual without much character, random décor. The TV is on way too loud and is annoying. Clientele is mostly Mexican. The vibe is a little weird and uncomfortable just like the BART station where many people hang out. Someone was asleep, slumped over the table
  • Noise: 3/5 – Patrons are quiet but it’s a noisy place with the traffic and TV on
  • Parking: 1/5 – It’s going to be hard to find, metered parking, some 2 hour free parking on side streets
  • Comfort: 3/5 – Many small tables, most chairs are padded, tables aren’t too close together
  • Bathroom: 2/5 – Scared to investigate, it’s popular and gets some interesting characters who stay in the bathroom a long time.
  • Art: 2/5 – Nothing for sale, Mexican looking art, fits theme of the place

Tips: They participate in the Belly frequent buyer program. There’s a patio in the back that can be rented.

"Laptop Campers Unite!"

- Laptop Camper