Best Starbucks - 2003
Factoid: San Francisco is so coffee-centric that we support nearly 1 percent of the world's 6,526 Starbucks Coffee shops. With 63 Starbucks retail stores to choose from in our caffeinated town, it is really, really hard to decide which one is best. Especially because they are all so damned similar. There is, however, something marvelously collective about the aesthetics of the Starbucks universe, not surprising, perhaps, given the almost socialist beauty of its economy of scale. The help is usually overeducated and depressed, but the coffee itself is mega-better than most of the acidic swill sold by so-called mom-and-pop cafes. The world could do worse than be run by Starbucks executives, as opposed to, say, George W. Bush and Herr Rumsfeld. But we digress. The Starbucks at 340 Mission stands out for several reasons. One, it has lounge chairs and people leave newspapers lying around that can be read for free. Two, it has a clean, well-lighted bathroom efficiently stocked with the necessary rolls of tissue and nice soap. And three, it is near a bus stop.