by Ramona Emerson - 35 Reviews - 2 List
Throughout their history, cafes have been hangouts for subversives, artists and revolutionaries. But in a city that is itself so counter-culture, what would a cafe have to do to be anti-establishment, sell raunchy BDSM sex toys? Well, one SoMa coffeehouse is doing just that, and we've found four other hotbeds of anti-mainstream culture--and most of them have great coffee, too.
Updated: February 04, 2010
At this cozy Divisadero Street bike/beer shop there's one thing the tattooed messengers speaking fixie, neighborhood people waiting for a tire to be patched on their Huffy, and laptop laden graphic designers trolling Facebook for news about their ex-girlfriend all have in common, and that is the fact that they would rather eat their own carbon footprint or risk death and dismemberment on a bike on Market Street at 9am than drive a car to work.
Revolution Cafe is so much like your typical artsy neighborhood coffee shop that it might be more accurate to drop the "counter" and just call it a culture cafe. This is not a dismissal, as much as a pretty good term for a spot that has live music most nights of the week, is a hangout for every artist and wannabe artist in the Mission, and has white rastas smoking bowls on the front porch to keep even the most weed-tolerant squares from coming in and ruining the vibe.
San Francisco's first kink cafe and boutique combines two of the city's most popular activities: unconventional sex and locally roasted coffee. With BDSM-themed photographs lining the walls, and a small but well-stocked fetish equipment boutique, Wicked is like that ex you keep sleeping with: creepy if it weren't so comfortable. Besides, where else can you get a nicely pulled espresso while learning how to hog-tie your husband and beat him with a bull-whip?
Vesuvio is to San Francisco what Les Deux Magots is to Paris: a place where tourists go when they need to check "counter-culture" off their list. Despite that, this famed Jack Kerouac hangout, which was founded in 1948 as a place for people who didn't fit in at other bars, is still a lovely little cave of bohemian delights. There's absinthe, and bartenders who would hide you from the Gestapo, not to mention it opens (and starts serving beer) at 6am.