Best Neighborhood Coffee Shop - 2003
The Haight-Ashbury District is one of the last hipster havens in the country without a Starbucks, and the locals like it that way. That's because every morning, Upper Haight and Cole Valley denizens line up at Cafe Cole, an itty-bitty, ramshackle coffee dive right off the main drag. There's a crop of regulars who pop in each morning, some stationed at the outdoor tables with their dogs, for coffee, smoothies, chai lattes, and deliciously warm bagels and cream cheese. And after a couple of trips in, the staff will start to remember your order. The wooden-walled nook boasts an almost disturbingly eclectic décor, but the assorted snapshots and large-scale paintings of animals dressed in suits are a refreshing alternative to chain-cafe uniformity. Most important, Cafe Cole brews a remarkably tasty house blend that beats Starbucks any day.