When I imagine a typical co-working space, I either think of the airplane hangar full of infinite apes typing up the complete works of Shakespeare or an equally large room full of Facebook interns coding for hours until someone brings them a grilled cheese. So imagine my surprise upon walking into Covo, a new coworking space and cafe on Mission Street between Fourth and Fifth streets. It’s full of natural light, art that doesn’t look like it belongs in an orthodontist’s waiting room or a self-impressed boutique hotel’s lobby, and in fact looks almost like a flagship bank branch from the pre-ATM era when clocks were analogue and the interior of a financial institution was something that people actually laid eyes on.
And it only costs $3 per hour to use.
Having enlisted restaurateur Matt Semmelhack — two of whose spots, AQ and Fénix, are only a block away — to create a three-story space that merges food and beverage service with the concept of a contingent office, Covo is a diurnal cafe that becomes a tap room at 3:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday, serving wine and beer on tap. (A full food menu is forthcoming, although there are already goodies under pastry domes to go with your Equator Coffee, plus avocado toast and chia pudding.) Having once been the home of Ford Graphics, it’s attractive without looking corporate, with light wells that shunt solar energy to the subterranean level, the closest thing to the Googleplex that mere mortals can ever come, minus all that sinister world-conquest stuff.
Covo has six core values, some of which jump off the high dive into the deep end of jargon. (If you know anyone who gets excited by things that are “systems-driven,” please expose them to fresh air, posthaste.) But people in non-tech or tech-adjacent fields should know that Covo has neither ball pits and scooters nor the clamor of overcaffeinated people crowing about user experiences — although there is a nap room. It’s quiet, sophisticated, and adult, with a materials library for designers, affordable plotting services for architects, and a lecture series for continued education.
While you can make use of Covo’s hourly rate, membership at one of several tiers comes with benefits, from unlimited coffee and printing to a bike room, day showers, the ability to bring your furry friend, and discounts on food and drink. The idea was to get ensconced in the Goldilocks Zone, providing maximum comfort for the maximum number of people’s maximum level of productivity. If you work in any sort of creative endeavor, you’ll feel at home here, even if what you do requires monastic silence. (Some conference rooms are soundproof.)
That’s better than a Members Only jacket, now isn’t it?
Covo, 981 Mission St., 415-997-8996 or hellocovo.com