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Coffee and Books in San Francisco’s Mission District – the perfect job?


Borderlands Cafe, the (somewhat) newly minted accompaniment to San Francisco’s best science fiction and fantasy bookstore, Borderlands Books, is hiring:

We have an unusual job opening at Borderlands Cafe.  It’s not glamorous, but it would be great for a local high schooler or a nearby person with a flexible schedule.  The hours would be 7 pm – 9 pm, Monday – Friday, and the job would include cleaning, busing tables, and doing the closedown work at the Cafe.  Considering how short the hours are, the person really should live quite close to the cafe.  Pay is SF minimum wage, but you get to work with a great group of people and you get a discount at the bookstore!  Email for more information before sending a resume.

I’ve spent a lot of time there, and I can personally attest to the greatness of the people.  This job is a lot like the first job I had—at a game store—but with the addition of COFFEE!  So, totally awesome and vastly superior—possibly the perfect first job for a high schooler who lives in the area.

You can see that I am not alone in loving the cafe by checking out their Yelp page. (I love it just slightly less since they removed the couches up front, and have never been 100% reconciled to their no -WiFi policy, but I understand and support the reasoning behind both decisions.)


Filed under: Coffee, San Francisco, , ,

Check out the San Francisco Coffee Company – of München

I’m definitely checking this out the next time I’m in Munich – the San Francisco Coffee Company.

Coffee Place Theresienhöhe
Theresienhöhe 12
80339 München

According to one local review, SFCC is “lecker” (delicious):

Den Besuch heute habe ich als Gelegenheit genutzt, mal einen Chai Tea Latte zu probieren. Lecker ist das allumfassende Fazit :-)
(via Kaffeeversum.)

But I am not going to trust that. I plan to dispatch our local correspondent – Bettina, are you reading this? – to check it out for me.  Something tells me it is not going to measure up to real San Francisco coffee standards.

Filed under: Coffee, ,

Computers and Cafes

What do you do at a coffee shop?: So have laptops killed the coffee shop? I can’t go that far. What I will say that it does alter the physical landscape of what a coffee shop looks like, which is that it looks like people are working, which interferes with the idea of the kind of coffee shop people like me see – a place with great mugs, great coffee, friends, or a journal to empty your thoughts… (via Fighting Reality.)

Fighting Reality goes to cafés to read and relax and feels like the preponderance of laptops is a somewhat unwelcome intrusion of the world of work into this space of sociability, pleasure and relaxation. And I sympathize with his/her perspective—it’s certainly not an isolated one.

When the people behind Borderlands Books were opening a café next door, they asked for input from their community of friends and customers on what that café should be like. One of the issues was WiFi (wireless internet access), and the decision was made that WiFi would affect the character of the café in precisely the ways that Fighting Reality raises. They didn’t put in WiFi, so their café would not turn too much into a work space, with a bunch of individuals hunched behind their laptops, beavering away in the digital salt mines of our Web2.0 world. Instead, what they hoped for and largely achieved was a space where people read books (often purchased next door) on the comfy couches or chat with friends at the nice wooden tables.

Just down Valencia Street, the very popular coffee shop Ritual Roasters took a somewhat different approach. They left in their WiFi, but took out almost all of the power outlets. Customers can still surf, tweet, Facebook, but only as long as their batteries last. This approach may perhaps have been motivated more by commercial considerations, pushing for a faster turnover, than at creating a particular ambiance, but in fact it has changed the feel of their space. Before, coming into the café one would be faced by ranked masses of laptops (mostly MacBooks), making the place resemble an open-plan office. Now, there’s less of that, with laptop users mostly clustered around the large communal table in the back, where the few remaining power outlets are. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Coffee, , , ,

We love… Cities and Cafés – two great things that go great together

The Guardian travel section has another interactive walking tour that is worth a look, this one involving one of my absolute favorite kinds of places – cafés…

London walks: Coffee tour: From meeting places for 17th-century poets to the 50s espresso bar revolution and today’s new ‘flat white’ kids on the block, Dr Matt Green traces the role of coffee houses in the capital. This walking tour can be downloaded on to your mp3 player or mobile and used as an audio guide on location along with the map, which you can print out or use on your phone… (via Travel |

Coincidentally, I’ve spent the last three Saturdays taking a friend on walking tours in the Bay Area that centered around cafés. The idea is to take a 5-10 mile walk through San Francisco or Berkeley/Oakland, looking at city sights and stopping regularly to refresh one’s self at a cafe, and to get some reading in at the same time. My friend is less into reading for long periods in cafés than me, and something of a foodie, so these recent walks have had shorter café breaks, but have been fleshed out with wonderful food from some of the exciting gourmet and foodie establishments that have been springing up all over the Greater Bay Area like a plague of nummy treats. I may try to write up one of these tours and post it in the near future…

A historical tour of London cafés would be interesting for the perspective it would provide on coffee shop culture.  During the 60s, when cafés really started appearing in the United States there was a strong association of them with counter-cultural social and political values, but history shows that this association has been around since the earliest days of coffee-drinking.

And cafés go back pretty far in English history:

Coffeehouse: The first coffeehouse in England was set up in Oxford in 1650 by a Jewish man named Jacob at the Angel in the parish of St Peter in the East in a building now known as “The Grand Cafe”. A plaque on the wall still commemorates this and the cafe is now a trendy cocktail bar. Oxford’s Queen’s Lane Coffee House, established in 1654, is also still in existence today. The first coffeehouse in London was opened in 1652 in St Michael’s Alley, Cornhill. (via Wikipedia.)

For a take on the more recent history of London cafés, check out Classic Cafes | London’s vintage Formica caffs!

Filed under: Coffee, , , ,

We love… stylin’ caffeine delivery systems

old school and steampunk CDS (caffeine delivery systems) – courtesy of Blue Bottle Brooklyn Roastery & Coffee Bar.

(via Laughing Squid)

Filed under: Coffee, ,



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zerode by nick chapman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

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is an over-caffeinated and under-employed grad school dropout, aspiring leftwing intellectual and cultural studies academic, cinéaste, and former poet. Raised in San Francisco on classic film, radical politics, burritos and soul music, then set loose upon the world. He spends his time in coffee shops with his laptop and headphones, caffeinating and trying to construct a post-whatever life.


What's in a name... The handle "zerode" is a contraction of Zéro de Conduite, the title of Jean Vigo's 1933 movie masterpiece about schoolboy rebellion.



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