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.

Caffe Vita, 4432 W Sunset Dr., Los Angeles (Los Feliz), CA 90027, Score: 39/50

Seattle meets Los Angeles at this LA outpost of Seattle’s Caffe Vita. It’s become a popular spot for serious laptop camping. Rudy’s Barbershop (of Seattle) is next door. I think I love everything about the place including the Caffe Vita merchandise, art, decor and of course the coffee.

Score: 39/50

  • Food: 4/5 – Nice quality pastries including muffins, croissants (not flaky enough), scones, doughnuts, cookies, etc. They don’t have substantive food like sandwiches.

  • Coffee: 5/5 – Consistently superb, with pretty latte art of course. The lattes have depth and creaminess, without being bitter or overroasted.

  • Wi-fi: 3/5 – Free, unlimited, no password required but I did have problems connecting

  • Ambiance: 5/5 – Sit outside with your laptop or inside, high ceilings, exposed brick, hip/industrial feel

  • Noise: 3/5 – The music is loud but never annoying, patrons are quiet

  • Plugs:  4/5 – Plugs upstairs and probably downstairs

  • Parking: 1/5 – Not easy, one hour free street parking is about the best you’ll find

  • Comfort: 4/5 – Chairs aren’t padded but they aren’t uncomfortable either, mostly small tables

  • Bathroom: 5/5 –  Two nice ones

  • Art: 5/5 – Always interesting pieces

Tips: The upstairs is darker and more private than the downstairs. It can be busy here so you might not find a table. You can buy coffee beans, hats, t-shirts, coffee making accessories, and mugs. I like the t-shirt and mug designs.

"Laptop Campers Unite!"

- Laptop Camper

 

Antigua Bread, 5703 N Figueroa St., Los Angeles, CA (Highland Park) 90042, Score: 32/50

image

For a bakery, I was surprised to not see that many pastries, but Antigua Bread does have a full menu that includes options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Look for the Mexican items on the menu and the pastry case.

Score: 32/50

  • Food: 4/5 – Pastries include pan dulce (Mexican sweet breads), muffins, croissants and danish. You can also get omelets, breakfast sandwiches, sandwiches, burgers, smoothies, salads, burritos, etc. My Antigua breakfast sandwich had bacon, scrambled eggs, cheese, avocado and ham on white toast with breakfast potatoes on the side.

  • Coffee: 3/5 – No foam art on the latte.The latte wasn’t bitter but it didn’t have that complex richness that I look for.

  • Wi-fi: 3/5 – Free, secure, unlimited but I got kicked off a few times.

  • Ambiance: 3/5 – Homey, warm colors inside, exposed brick wall, covered patio seating outside.

  • Noise: 3/5 – Noisy outside due to all the traffic

  • Plugs:  2/5 – Spotted two outside

  • Parking: 4/5 – They have their own parking lot and free parking for 2 hours

  • Comfort: 4/5 – Cozy, busy bakery/cafe

  • Bathroom: 3/5 –  Single, unisex

  • Art: 3/5 – Not much art on the walls

Tips: It can be busy here so you might not find a table. You can buy coffee beans.

"Laptop Campers Unite!"

- Laptop Camper

 

The Pie Hole, 59 E Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91105, Score: 30/50

image

Aka pie heaven, the place that converted me from pie hater to pie lover. Of course there’s free wi-fi in pie heaven.

Score: 30/50

  • Food: 5/5 – Savory and sweet pies to choose from. Some standards are always available, others are seasonal/specials. The crusts are amazing and they’re generous with whipped cream. Favorite pie: Earl Grey!

  • Coffee: 5/5 – Their own blend of organic coffee is excellent and perfect with pie. You can buy the coffee beans by the pound.

  • Wi-fi: 5/5 – Free, unlimited

  • Ambiance: 4/5 – High ceilings, industrial, lots of empty space, limited seating

  • Noise: 3/5 – Music is loud but soothing

  • Plugs:  0/5 – Didn’t see any

  • Parking: 1/5 – It’s in Old Town so parking is a pain even late at night. There are some parking garages that offer 90 minutes free parking.

  • Comfort: 3/5 – Benches and chairs aren’t padded

  • Bathroom: 0/5 – None

  • Art: 4/5 – Nothing for sale but cute place

Tips: They sell Pie Hole apparel. Whole pies are available with 24 hour notice. The space known as Indiana Colony is share with other vendors (currently Coolhaus and Pressed Juicery with more to come). Earn rewards with Belly.

"Laptop Campers Unite!"

- Laptop Camper

Saj Bakery, 11146 Balboa Blvd., Granada Hills, CA 91344, Score: 29/50

image

Saj Bakery combines the comforts of freshly baked Lebanese flatbreads and savory pies with free wi-fi. While they have a/c, it’s not terribly effective on a hot day in the Valley.

Score: 29/50

  • Food: 5/5 –Saj and oven baked manaish are served up fresh and big. They also have sandwiches and shawarma. The veggie saroukh is a thin baked flatbread folded over finely chopped onion, peppers, tomatoes, spices topped with sesame seeds, simple and good but the veggies could have been more interesting
  • Coffee: 3/5 – The coffee comes out of a push button machine (I didn’t try it). Traditional tea tastes similar to Lipton.
  • Wi-fi: 5/5 – Secure, ask for password, unlimited
  • Ambiance: 2/5 – Like being in another country? Don’t expect anything fancy. There’s a huge open kitchen with grills and ovens.
  • Noise: 3/5 – Loud Middle Eastern music is interesting, quiet patrons
  • Plugs:  1/5 – One by the entrance
  • Parking: 5/5 – In a shopping center, easy, unlimited free parking
  • Comfort: 3/5 – Chairs are padded but still hard, tables far apart, can be uncomfortably warm on hot days despite the a/c
  • Bathroom: 0/5 – None? Didn’t see one
  • Art: 2/5 – Framed pictures of Lebanon on the wall, same frames, some are crooked

Tips:  $10 credit card minimum. They have yogurt drinks in the fridge and lots of yogurt (labneh) items.

"Laptop Campers Unite!"

- Laptop Camper

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

image

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

image

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

image

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

image

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