Most people who follow my worldwide coffee adventures (all 7 of you) know my love for San Francisco’s Sightglass coffee roastery in SOMA. It’s an awesomely designed, middle finger in the air “fuck you” to all other cafes with their fit-out for their mother ship coffee mecca. It’s seriously perfect, easily my favourite café in SF and maybe even the world. Their coffee is amazing, their branding super sexy-cool (I’m slightly jealous that I didn’t design it myself) and like I said a sentence ago if you missed it, I really, really love the space.* At least once a week I’d go out of my way (which just means: out of the Mission) to visit them, make myself feel really cool/hipster and read a book ( currently pretty deep in reading Spot goes to school, been stuck on that one for a while, a much more deep and complex read then Spot gets lost) over an Espresso & Americano (long black for us Australians). But guess what? They just opened up their new café in The Mission. Which means that now I never have to leave the Mission. That makes me a happier Aron.
*FYI I have NEVER been given a free coffee or received any money from Sightglass for this super positive review. So, I guess, you’re all thinkning the same thing that I am: Sightglass, seriously, WTF? I want free coffee and/or money.
THE NEW CAFE
To cut a long story short, the café is pretty much a scaled down version of their 7th street café, to fit a smaller warehouse and have a more local vibe. It’s warm, intimate and yet still very open thanks to the high ceilings and airy space. Every square inch has been designed meticulously, nothing left to chance. From the diagonal floor boarded ceiling, mosaic-tiled floor to the custom brass and wooden display case, everywhere you look, you’ll notice some overly well-designed element. When you enter, the tiles at your feet read ‘Coffee’ and that’s exactly what you are there for. Nothing more (maybe some pastries and vegan cake nonsense) and nothing less (I guess if you don’t have a coffee then, yeah, you can have less, but seriously, if you go to this place and don’t have a coffee then you can fuck right off back to where you came from, probably Russian Hill…) The only downside coming from the intimacy and the size is that there’s a chance that you won’t find a chair or a table during the busy hours. Personally, I don’t really care as I’m happy to stand and drink a coffee whilst coming up with witty (more likely sexist/racist) comments about all the customers who walk through the doors, the people who work there and pretty much everyone I ever encounter in life.
Take a stool from inside and bring it out the front to enjoy your coffee. It’s not exactly advertised, probably due to some council bullshit about keeping the footpath clear for the blind, whatever that means. Sightglass will turn a blind eye to it (or just curse you under their breath as you do it) but this really is the best way to enjoy some sun and see more people then you can keep up walk past and stop at every-single-fucking dog tied to a tree and tell the owners how their dog is the most beautiful dog they have ever seen. On that note: Hey jerks, going by the logic that, since you say it directly to the dog, you imagine that they can understand what you are saying, obviously the other dogs can also hear what you are saying to every other dog, how do you think they feel when you go and call every dog the most beautiful you have seen after you just said it about them 2 minutes ago? That’s what I call animal cruelty.
Well obviously the coffee is easily some of the best you are going to have in San Francisco, maybe even the USA. It doesn’t matter what you order you won’t be disappointed. In fact you’ll most likely be blown away. I usually have 3 coffees here every time I come and that’s because a) I ‘m usually hung-over and b) it’s so damn delicious. They always have new blends; single origins and other snobby sounding things to try that taste always great. They also do a really suave ice coffee in a hipster jar (for good measure). They don’t have skim milk, so sorry to all the big-boned people, not only will you have to walk a little to get here from the station, you’ll be (should be) sticking to the espressos and Americanos. That’s definitely not a bad thing for you or for anyone. They are delicious and are how coffee should be consumed anyway. And you’ll burn some of those calories you have been saving up. However, they do have almond milk because every now and then you may want to trick your taste buds into thinking you’ve literally just consumed shit for laughs. Seriously though San Francisco, what’s the deal with almond milk? Used sparingly and cold, it’s tolerable, only just, but that stuff is fucking horrible when steamed. Also it sounds like I'm ending on a negative note here, but i just really don't like almond milk. But to set the record straight, the coffee here is pretty much flawless, whatever you order.
The Angry Frenchman
He sits out the front on most Saturday mornings, squinting angrily at both the people that walk past and that really ugly apartment that’s opposite. It is a horrible ugly fucking eyesore.
But when you see him, you should definitely pose next to him for a photo with your hands making a peace sign and instagram the hell out of him #angryfrenchmansf
For everyone in the know, then you knew about this little hub before it was cool, so obviously it’s not cool for you now, so just stop reading here. Also reminds me of a classic joke that hipsters (obviously have already heard, and heard it before everyone else, even before the person who came up with it):
How do you drown a hipster? Throw him in the mainstream.
For everyone else, this is a really cool, upcoming pocket of the (deep?) Mission. You can easily spend a whole day here. Start your morning with a coffee or 3 at Sightglass, Have one of SF’s best brunches at Central Kitchen (book way in advance), buy some cold cut meats and wine at Salumeria, go back to Sightglass grab a take away coffee (coffee ‘to go’ for you Americans) and walk around the neighbourhood, you’ll find some nearby parks and places to eat your meats and drink your wine (out of a non-descript water bottle of course). When you are just about inebriated, head to Southern Pacific Brewery (for the foreigners reading make sure you bring your passport as ID (not your license or anything else) to get in or else the dickhead security guard (see: little bitch at the door) won’t let you in rambling bullshit off as he’s trying to impress his 3 friends which have nothing better to do than sit with him every day) for a beer while you wait for your reservation at Flour + Water, which has some of the best pasta in the city. If you didn’t get the hint with the key word I used before ‘reservation’ you really need to book in advance here as well Einstein. Once you are full of carbohydrate goodness, you get to my favourite part of the night and go right back next door to Sightglass to Trick Dog, one of my favourite cocktail bars, say hey to the strapping young doorman with the long blonde locks (he’s a top bloke, a real security guard, buy him a drink as well, it wont hurt you or him) and drink cocktails and listen to some jazz/Motown/soul until you can’t see straight and are stumbling home walking in the wrong direction and falling asleep on a near by tree (it happened to a friend of mine).
Just like the first Sightglass, it will be some of the best coffee you will have in this city. And that's saying a lot as it has some pretty big competition. So don't think about it, and just go. Now.
Machines: 2 x Custom white/chrome Strada's
12 ounce beans (Owl's Howl Espresso Blend): $15.75 (USD)
3014 20th Street, San Francisco, CA, 94110
M-Sat 7-8, Sun. 8-8