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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.

Beacon Coffee, 5777 Olivas Park Dr., Ventura, CA 93003, Score: 30/50

Finally, Ventura has a quality local coffee roaster. Beacon specializes in single estate coffee sourced from the “top 15% of the world’s coffee farmers.” They roast the beans on the premises and you can watch the roasting process from the dining area.

Score: 30/50

  • Food: 3/5 – Limited options, the focus is clearly on the coffee. They have locally made scones, cookies and chocolate bars.

  • Coffee: 4/5 – The latte ($3.50) was smooth and milky with a clean finish and low acidity. I wish it were stronger. Decent foam art. They have pour overs, cold brew coffee, espresso drinks (including flat whites), fancy hot chocolate, and teas.

  • Wi-fi: 1/5 – Free, secure, unlimited but I could not get online (connection was too weak). They warned me that the connection was very slow and said they were hoping to improve the wi-fi soon.

  • Ambiance: 2/5 – It’s a small place in an industrial office park with not much decor. The wood tables with the Beacon logo are nice.

  • Noise: 5/5 – Quiet, no music

  • Plugs:  0/5 – None in the seating area, one by the entrance that’s not practical to use

  • Parking: 5/5 – Easy, private parking lot, no sign of time limits

  • Comfort: 4/5 – A small place with four tables and plush, thick padded bench style seating

  • Bathroom: 3/5 –  Single, unisex

  • Art: 3/5 – Nothing on the walls

Tips: Coffee beans and coffee accessories are available for sale. Nonfat milk is not available but they have 2% milk. They only use organic milk.

"Laptop Campers Unite!"

- Laptop Camper

Dartealing Lounge, 470 3rd St., San Francisco, CA (SoMa), Score: 39/50

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A relaxing and charming tea room, Dartealing Lounge offers a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of life. Yes, they have free wi-fi but it’s not a popular camping spot.

Score: 39/50

  • Food: 4/5 – The crustless sandwiches are particularly tasty because of the flavorful spreads. Afternoon tea service for two is $48. You can also get salads, paninis, pasties, and sausage rolls. It’s on the pricey side like most tea rooms.

  • Coffee: 4/5 – They don’t serve coffee but they have excellent bottomless pots of tea.

  • Wi-fi: 5/5 – Free, unlimited

  • Ambiance: 5/5 – Love the vintage tea cups and mismatched china. Cute and soothing place - the walls are a pale robin’s egg blue. Plates and cups are on display. It has a cottage feel.

  • Noise: 4/5 – Quiet and peaceful

  • Plugs:  4/5 – Many available

  • Parking: 1/5 – It’s not impossible to find but very difficult to find during weekday business hours. It’s mostly metered parking.

  • Comfort: 5/5 – Plush chairs and small tables.

  • Bathroom: 3/5 – Not sure, know they have one but didn’t check out

  • Art: 4/5 – Nothing for sale but cute things on display everywhere

Tips: Dartealing Lounge is available for events. The kitchen closes at 5:15 PM. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

"Laptop Campers Unite!"

- Laptop Camper

The Most Popular Camping Spots in SF

If you ever really need to find a table and camp for awhile, this is a list of the most popular camping spots (or places with limited seating) in San Francisco. Go there during peak hours and you might not find a table. 

  • Arlequin Cafe
  • Atlas Cafe (no outlets, time limit on wi-fi)
  • Bello Coffee 
  • Cafe St. Jorge
  • Coffee Bar (reserves tables for lunch patrons)
  • Contraband 
  • Creamery (no outlets)
  • Epicenter Cafe (time limit on wi-fi)
  • Jane
  • Matching Half Cafe (one outlet)
  • Mojo Bicycle Cafe (no outlets)
  • Philz
  • Stable Cafe (no outlets)
  • Velo Rouge Cafe (1 outlet)

Parking is also a challenge in most cases, with the exception of Cafe St. Jorge and Bello Coffee. 

"Laptop Campers Unite!"

- Laptop Camper

Chameleon Cafe, 1299 Pacific Ave., San Francisco, CA (Nob Hill), Score: 33/50

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It’s definitely a popular camping spot and semi-funky with that independent coffeehouse feel. I ran into a job interview while I was here…it’s not a good spot to interview someone for a job - take your prospects to an office.

Score: 33/50

  • Food: 3/5 – Pretty typical. Pastries didn’t look attractive. They have bagels, breakfast burritos, salads, and sandwiches. The bagels are nice and big.

  • Coffee: 3/5 – Latte was okay - definitely bitter and not rich. No foam art.

  • Wi-fi: 5/5 – Free, password is at the register

  • Ambiance: 2/5 – Sunny corner cafe, big windows on both sides, old furniture, not particularly attractive (too much brown). Pick up a book or game if you want to hang out.

  • Noise: 4/5 – Music and traffic aren’t too bad. People are quiet because most are campers.

  • Plugs:  4/5 – Four outlets along the walls

  • Parking: 2/5 – Pretty busy area, best you can do is find free 2 hour parking

  • Comfort: 3/5 – Small tables, one couch, chairs are upholstered but not comfy

  • Bathroom: 3/5 – Unisex, for customers only

  • Art: 4/5 – Interesting art, might be for sale but didn’t see the signs

Tips: $5 credit card minimum. ATM on site. Wine and beer are served. Outdoor seating available.  It closes early (at 3 PM Monday-Wednesday).

"Laptop Campers Unite!"

- Laptop Camper

Bean There, 201 Steiner St., San Francisco, CA (Lower Haight), Score: 33/50

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Bean There serves up typical coffeehouse fare and the coffee isn’t great but it is more suited for laptop camping than your average place. They also have plenty of food and drink options. Many patrons are glassy-eyed hardcore campers.

Score: 33/50

  • Food: 3/5 – Big bagels, sandwiches, soups, pastries, gluten free pastries, breakfast burritos, quiche, empanadas, oatmeal, yogurt parfaits…plenty of food

  • Coffee: 2/5 – The latte had no foam art and was bitter

  • Plugs:  5/5 – Many outlets, enough for everyone

  • Wi-fi: 5/5 - Free, unlimited, the password is at the register

  • Ambiance: 3/5 – Cozy warm colors, lots of windows on one side, long wood benches, chalkboard menu

  • Noise: 3/5 – Music is loud but soothing, patrons are quiet, can hear traffic (busy intersection)

  • Parking: 2/5 – A busy area, but you should be able to find 2 hour free street parking

  • Comfort: 4/5 – Small tables all around, long hard wood benches and padded old wood chairs. Everyone who sits on the wood bench has a nice amount of privacy. It’s set up for laptop camping comfort (apparently).

  • Bathroom: 3/5 – Available, unisex

  • Art: 3/5 – B/W photos for sale

Tips: $10 minimum for credit card purchases. Books for kids to read. You can buy the NY Times here. Complimentary drinking water.

"Laptop Campers Unite!"

- Laptop Camper

Coffornia, 296 Ocean Ave., San Francisco, CA (Outer Mission), Score: 37/50

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From the outside Coffornia looks plain but the inside is actually cute - lots of blonde wood. They have several types of tea lattes, coffee, sushi, freshly made sandwiches, homemade pastries, and random corner store items. It feels Japanese owned.

Score: 37/50

  • Food: 4/5 – Sushi, made to order sandwiches, and homemade Japanese pastries (cake rolls, jelly, flan, cheesecake). The tomato omelette sandwich on torta sandwich roll was fresh and tasty - bits of fresh tomato in the omelette, lots of baby leaf lettuce, thinly sliced red onion, ketchup. The bread was like a less spongy English muffin and was nicely toasted. The green tea roll cake was moist to the point of being soggy with little red bean and not enough green tea flavor.

  • Coffee: 4/5 – I didn’t get the coffee but they serve Intelligentsia and Altius (a Japanese brand). The red bean latte was decent - milky, sweet but didn’t have enough red bean flavor (they added some red bean paste)..

  • Wi-fi: 5/5 – Free and secure, password is at the register

  • Ambiance: 4/5 – Much cuter inside than it appears from the outside, wood counter, wood tables, wood chairs, wood accents on the wall, big chalkboard menu, grey walls, cute hanging lights

  • Noise: 5/5 – Quiet, no music, mostly the sound of the refrigerators

  • Plugs:  2/5 – Spotted two along the walls

  • Parking: 4/5 – Hit or miss but not too bad in general despite being so close to CCSF, you can find all day parking

  • Comfort: 3/5 – Small tables, wood chairs and stools are hard, they should sweep the floors more often

  • Bathroom: 3/5 – Unisex

  • Art: 3/5 – No art on the walls

Tips: Get the lunch set special for $7.99 which is available all day. It comes with sushi or a sandwich, coffee or tea & a pastry. They also sell coffee beans from Intelligentsia and Altius (Japanese), candy, Asian sauces, and even paper towels. You can walk to CCSF/Ocean Ave. or down to Mission St./Excelsior for cheap eats.

"Laptop Campers Unite!"

- Laptop Camper

Sea Biscuit Café & Wine Bar, 3815 Noreiga St., San Francisco, CA (Outer Sunset), Score: 28/50

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The café is close to Ocean Beach and has that laid back by the beach feel that some places in the Outer Sunset have. At night it becomes a wine bar with beer, wine, champagne and mixed drinks.

Score: 28/50

  • Food: 3/5 – I heard the sandwiches, which are made with Boar’s Head and available hot or cold, are good. They also have a case of Krispy Kreme donuts (quite a few varieties). I also spotted pastries and a case of deli salads. The egg, avocado and cheese bagel had a generous amount of avocado but could have used some salt and pepper.

  • Coffee: 2/5 – Latte tasted flat, no foam art, no richness. They do offer a one cup at a time option. The latte is expensive.

  • Wi-fi: 4/5 – Free, ask for the password at the register. It wasn’t working at first but was fine after resetting the modem.

  • Ambiance: 2/5 – Long narrow space, looks older, random decor but with an ocean theme, chalkboard menu

  • Noise: 2/5 – People are quiet but the music is loud and annoying. I don’t like how the TV is on.

  • Plugs:  2/5 – Two plugs built into the banquettes

  • Parking: 5/5 – Pretty easy to park all day for free on residential side streets, street cleaning is on Mondays and Thursdays

  • Comfort: 4/5 – Chairs are padded and so are the banquettes

  • Bathroom: 3/5 – Unisex, for customers only

  • Art: 3/5 – Blue ocean with sealife mosaic creatures, fits the place, no art for sale

Tips:  You can hang out at Flanahan’s on the same block and order sandwiches, they will deliver to you. ATM available. Earn rewards with Belly. Square is accepted.

"Laptop Campers Unite!"

- Laptop Camper

 

Diamond Cafe, 751 Diamond St., San Francisco, CA (Noe Valley), Score: 29/50

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I’ve been waiting for that awful Cafe Ponte to close…it’s finally gone and a new cafe/coffeehouse has taken over the space. Diamond Cafe is a humble neighborhood coffeehouse with extra friendly service.

Score: 29/50

  • Food: 3/5 – They have sweet and savory crepes, scramblers, bagels, breakfast burritos, pastries, sandwiches and salads. My bagel was fine - fresh ingredients, the hummus was bland though (needed salt). Cakes and cookies are from Ultimate Cookie. They have a gluten free cookie.

  • Coffee: 2/5 – Not good - no foam art, latte was quite bitter. They use organic/fair trade coffee beans.

  • Wi-fi: 5/5 – Free, ask for the password at the register

  • Ambiance: 2/5 – Sunny corner of Noe Valley, lots of big windows, pale yellow paint, not much decor, chalkboard menu

  • Noise: 2/5 – Music isn’t bothersome. Traffic can be noisy. Some people do come here to talk but many come to camp too.

  • Plugs:  1/5 – One outlet only

  • Parking: 5/5 – Not too bad because you’re a few blocks from the busy part of Noe Valley

  • Comfort: 3/5 – It’s a small space with small tables and one long bench by the window. Chairs aren’t padded. It can get sunny by the window but they have shades. Lots of air.

  • Bathroom: 3/5 – Unisex, for customers only

  • Art: 2/5 – None

Tips: $5 credit card minimum. Complimentary water. 

"Laptop Campers Unite!"

- Laptop Camper

Philz Coffee/Delish Deli Sandwiches, 748 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco, CA (Fillmore), Score: 33/50

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An unusual Philz location - the drinks and pastries are in one building and the bagels and sandwiches are next door at Delish Deli. Unfortunately this means you have to wait in multiple lines to get a bagel and coffee. They have great coffee but uncomfortable seating and horrible parking.

Score: 33/50

  • Food: 4/5 – The usual Philz fare plus sandwiches made with Boar’s Head. You’ll find Starter Bakery pastries (croissants, scones, kouign amann, muffins), breakfast burritos (pre-made), bagels. The bagels are big and good, but didn’t seem toasted? Philz bagel has cream cheese, tomato & cucumber ($3.75). Favorite pastries: kouign amann, scones.

  • Coffee: 5/5 – Made by the cup with cream and sugar (tell them how much you’d like). Light, medium or dark roast available, choose based on flavor notes like chocolate, berry, hazelnut, etc. Try the iced coffees too. Mint Mojito has real mint leaves, yum.

  • Plugs:  4/5 – Plenty of outlets though not enough for everyone

  • Wi-fi: 4/5 - Free, unlimited, no password required

  • Ambiance: 3/5 – Ecclectic, funky, worn in - has an independent deli feel, kinda cozy

  • Noise: 3/5 – Music isn’t too bad, it’s always busy but not deafening

  • Parking: 1/5 – A busy area, mostly metered parking, or you can walk from Hayes Valley where you can find 2 - 3 hour parking if you’re lucky

  • Comfort: 3/5 – Small tables all around, chairs are padded but still very hard, couch in the corner

  • Bathroom: 3/5 – Available, unisex, one at Philz and one at Delish

  • Art: 3/5 – Random, nothing for sale

Tips: Order first, then pay. There’s an ATM inside Delish. There is no seating inside Philz, so camp at Delish. It could be difficult to find a table because this place is popular - campers are here.

"Laptop Campers Unite!"

- Laptop Camper

La Promenade Cafe, 3643 Balboa St., San Francisco, CA (Outer Richmond), Score: 38/50

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La Promenade replaces Zephyr Cafe, another coffeehouse. It doesn’t look like the place has been recently renovated and it still says Zephyr Cafe on the windows. La Promenade is one of the largest coffeehouses in SF and you should be assured to find a nice spot to camp. Because of the size, you don’t feel like you’re imposing if you camp for awhile.

Score: 38/50

  • Food: 3/5 – Typical coffeehouse fare, including sandwiches, bagels, soup of the day, a case filled with pastries, sweets. The bagel was decent - very cheesy with a juicy sausage patty.

  • Coffee: 4/5 – They seem to serve Mr. Espresso, Rodgers Coffee and Allegro Coffee. The latte was smooth and not bitter, but didn’t have richness or foam art.

  • Plugs: 3/5 – Sprinkled throughout

  • Wi-fi: 5/5 - Free, unlimited, the password is at the register

  • Ambiance: 3/5 – Dark inside and worn in, mural of street scene tries to make you feel like you’re sitting somewhere in Italy. Dark wood floors, wood chairs, wood tables. Kinda shabby chic with small chandeliers.

  • Noise: 5/5 – Soothing oldies music, quiet patrons

  • Parking: 5/5 – Look for all day parking on the side streets with street cleaning on Wednesdays and Fridays

  • Comfort: 4/5 – Small tables all around, padded chairs, couches. I like the booths they have where you can spread out and watch the cars go by.  

  • Bathroom: 3/5 – Available, unisex

  • Art: 3/5 – Nothing for sale, big mural of street scene fits the name of the cafe

Tips: $5 minimum for credit card purchases. Piano in the back.

"Laptop Campers Unite!"

- Laptop Camper