The only thing the Castro needs less of than cafes is commercial vacancies, but while the remains of what used to be Home get bulldozed, a lovely brick building across the street has a new tenant: Santa Cruz’s own Verve Coffee, which hadn’t yet set up shop in San Francisco.
Two years in the making, it’s a project from the incredibly badly named L.A. firm Design, Bitches. But nothing else about this place feels like an aggravating cliche from 2013. Rather, it’s 1,200 square feet of welcoming airiness, too compact ever to be a laptop farm, with plenty of light wood and clean, diagonal lines to complement the triangular space. It used to be an eyewear shop, but as it’s directly atop the Muni underground, we’re betting this is a wiser use of the space (with apologies to people who like squinting to determine which direction a capital E is pointing, first thing in the morning).
You want fancy pastries? You got ’em. Verve’s avocado toast, radish toast, poached organic egg biscuits, and prosciutto biscuits are from Manresa Bread, the offshoot of David Kinch’s three-Michelin-starred Los Gatos restaurant, which has a pre-existing relationship with the chain.
Oddly for a well-regarded roaster, there are plenty of teas, from jade or ruby oolong to jasmine pearl, along with Verve’s “bowl of soul” (a tea latte made with hot soy milk and honey, plus extra soy foam). And if you want a plain old cup of $4 drip, these come tied with a napkin ribbon in lieu of a sleeve. Your heart may melt, but not because your fingers are burning and the heat traveled to your sternum.
Verve Coffee, 2101 Market St., 415-780-0867 or vervecoffee.com