How do you figure out where to hold a meeting in San Francisco if you don’t have an office or simply want to switch up your environment? There are countless venues, so scrolling through Google and Yelp can be overwhelming. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Because business meetings can range from casual to formal, we’ve come up with spaces and places to satisfy all your meeting needs. Here are our top picks for where to hold your next business meeting.
If it’s a casual meeting and you don’t mind noise
Coffee shops and cafes
Ah, the standard “let’s grab some coffee” meeting. It’s tempting to just call it a day and meet at a Starbucks, but then you’d be missing out on San Francisco’s fantastic coffee culture and unique local cafes. For your next casual meeting, check out these coffee shops and cafes instead.
Philz Coffee – Now a national chain, Philz Coffee humbly started in a corner market in the Mission. While you can still visit the original location on 24th Street to see where it all began, there are Philz scattered throughout the entire city. The one by the Embarcadero features plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, Wi-Fi, and outlets. If you judge your meeting space by its coffee quality, you’ll enjoy Philz’s unique roasts and friendly baristas, who carefully brew and customize each cup to your taste. For non-coffee drinkers, Philz offers a small selection of teas.
Capital One Cafe – You don’t have to be a Capital One customer to walk into the Capital One Cafe and use the space, which makes it an accessible place to meet, take a phone call, or work. You can grab a drink at the Peet’s Coffee inside, which offers 50% off to Capital One customers. For an optimal meeting spot, be sure to scope out all three levels of seating. No matter which spot you choose to settle down in, there’s free Wi-Fi and lots of outlets. The only downside? They’re closed on the weekends.
Sightglass Coffee – If you don’t need Wi-Fi for your meeting, set your sights on Sightglass Coffee. They have a few locations around the city, but perhaps the best one is their flagship store and company headquarters on 7th Street in SOMA, which is an open and airy functional production roastery. While this location is always busy, you shouldn’t have a problem finding some seats. There’s plenty of counter seating on the first floor and even more seating and tables upstairs.
Beanstalk Cafe – Just a few blocks from Union Square, this modern, cute, and cozy cafe serves up the usual coffee and espresso drinks, along with bagels, sandwiches, and pastries. Don’t miss their cragel — a cross between a croissant and bagel. They also have a much larger second location in the Inner Richmond. Both places have Wi-Fi, but you might need to get there early if you want an outlet. (All the more motivation to get your work done fast before your battery runs out!)
Equator Coffees & Teas – Out of Equator’s three locations in the city, the best one for meetings is the one in SOMA. It’s actually a POPOS (see below), which is why it’s open to the public despite being in the lobby of LinkedIn’s office building. With floor-to-ceiling windows, the open space gets flooded with natural light. Grab a seat at one of the many communal tables, or don’t be afraid to sit on the white steps.
Chai Bar by David Rio – Spacious and modern, Chai Bar might just be your perfect meeting spot. There’s lots of seating inside and outside, free Wi-Fi, and plenty of outlets (just look under your seat). As the name suggests, you’ll find a variety of chai-based drinks here — everything from your typical chai latte to inventive specialties like the PB & Chai. There’s also the typical coffee options, tea, beer, and wine. For food, they offer a mix of Western and Eastern flavors.
Outdoor spaces and parks
When you’re feeling antsy and cooped up, opt for a meeting outside instead. With San Francisco’s mild weather, sitting outside is almost always pleasant and at worst, bearable. So, pile on those layers and get some fresh air and Vitamin D.
POPOS – Since 1985, San Francisco has required buildings downtown to provide public art that’s at least 1% of the building’s construction cost. This has resulted in POPOS, or privately-owned public open spaces. You can spot POPOS by looking for buildings that have a “Public Open Space” sign, often with the POPOS hours and location inside the building. But if you want to plan ahead, the San Francisco Planning Department has a handy map of all POPOS in the city. Each POPOS is different, so pick a place and you could discover a gorgeous rooftop, terrace, or atrium.
Transamerica Redwood Park – This unexpected patch of nature at the base of the Transamerica Pyramid offers a shady escape from the rest of downtown San Francisco. Despite its small size, Transamerica Redwood Park offers multiple benches, a fountain, and bronze sculptures.
Union Square – Don’t write off Union Square as just a tourist attraction. It can make a great meeting place, as long as you don’t mind the city chaos that constantly swirls around the plaza. Oh, and the pigeons. Union Square on a sunny day is absolutely lovely. Take a seat on one of the many steps or make use of the tables and chairs that are set out for the public.
If you’re meeting over drinks
It can be tricky meeting over drinks. Pick a less-than-desirable bar and you could end up having to scream just to be heard or smushed up against other people. Not every bar is conducive to a meeting, but here are the ones that are.
Press Club – This swanky wine bar and lounge carries an extensive menu of wines from all over the world, as well as an impressive selection of beers. Press Club also offers savory and sweet snacks to pair with your drinks. Even though there are plenty of tables and couches, Press Club does get busy. Consider making a reservation if you want to guarantee room for you and your guests.
The View – Most passing by the Marriott Marquis probably wouldn’t know about its bar at the top. Pick a clear day to visit The View, and you and your guests will be treated to sweeping views of the city and a stunning sunset. While there are a few seating areas, it can be difficult to find a spot to sit, so arrive early if you don’t want to be left standing with your drinks.
Rooftop 25 – Opened in April 2018, Rooftop 25 is an extension of the restaurant 25 Lusk and a much-appreciated addition to San Francisco’s small number of rooftop bars. The view at Rooftop 25 isn’t the best in the city, but its atmosphere and drinks make it a great meeting place. It also serves a full menu of snacks, small plates, and larger dishes, like woodfired pizza, tacos, and sandwiches.
If it’s a lunch or dinner meeting
Sharing a meal is still one of the best ways to bring people together. While you break bread, you can share insights, discuss projects, and collaborate. Plus, everyone has to eat at some point, right? Visit any of these restaurants and you’ll have a delicious meal that sets you up for a successful meeting.
Samovar Tea Lounge – The Samovar Tea Lounge in Yerba Buena Gardens is a gorgeous place to grab some afternoon tea or lunch. Soak up the sun in their greenhouse-like cafe or out on the terrace. There’s also no need to worry about dietary restrictions, as their menu has both vegetarian and vegan options.
Per Diem – Per Diem’s dark wood interior and booths are somewhat reminiscent of a speakeasy. Don’t be fooled by what you immediately see when walking in, though. The restaurant is larger than it looks, as it has a second floor with additional seating and even a tiny outdoor patio. Their menu features rustic flatbreads, handmade pasta, fresh salads, and mouth-watering sandwiches inspired by local California ingredients.
Credo – When a restaurant says they “believe that good food and good company go hand in hand,” you know it’ll make for a great meeting spot. This is the philosophy behind Credo, a modern Italian restaurant where responsibly sourced ingredients, hospitality, and lively conversation all converge. There’s both bar and table seating, with an open kitchen on the ground floor. If you’d like a slightly quieter atmosphere, ask about their downstairs seating.
Akiko’s – Sushi can be pricey, but well worth it. This is true at Akiko’s, a family-owned Japanese restaurant that serves traditional-contemporary sushi. Beyond its unassuming exterior, you’ll find the freshest fish and clean flavors. We highly recommend making a reservation here. It’s a fairly small restaurant with a few tables and some bar seating. There’s a good chance it may be full if you just drop by, so don’t risk it.
The Barrel Room – At The Barrel Room, food and drinks are constantly changing. Every four months, they introduce a new menu, highlighting a different region of the world. If you have regular lunch or dinner meetings, keep The Barrel Room in your rotation to be surprised with new flavors.
If you need a quiet, private space
Need a quiet and private meeting space for your meeting? You have a few options. Keep in mind that you will need to rent these spaces, but many of them also come with a whiteboard, monitor, and other office amenities.
Breather – Breather is a company that rents out workspaces and office spaces. Rentals are flexible and pricing is transparent, so you know exactly what you’re getting and how much it costs to rent a space for just a day or even a month. The spaces vary in size, so you can rent a small room if you’re just meeting with one or two people or a space that can accommodate up to ten people or more if you’re hosting a large meeting.
Peerspace – Peerspace offers meeting and event spaces for rent by the hour. Similar to Breather, you can select a space that fits your size, location, and layout preferences. If you’re just meeting with one person though, check Breather for more options. Most of the spaces listed on Peerspace are meant for large group meetings and events.
If you don’t mind walking and talking
If you’re just meeting with one person, consider a walking meeting. Not only do walking meetings get you out of your seat, but they’ve also been found to boost creative thinking and attentiveness. Some of the most famous company executives favor walking meetings, including Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg. While you can literally take a walking meeting anywhere in the city, here are some of the most picturesque places to do so.
Along the Embarcadero – The Embarcadero runs along the north-east side of San Francisco, providing unobstructed views of the Bay Bridge and the East Bay. It’s also home to a few favorite local and tourist spots, like the Ferry Building, the Exploratorium, and Fisherman’s Wharf. As a result, the Embarcadero can get busy with tourists, runners, roller bladers, performers, and more. If you’re taking a walking meeting during the weekday, though, it’ll be less crowded.
Golden Gate Park – Spanning over 1,000 acres, Golden Gate Park provides the perfect backdrop for a walking meeting. Depending on the route you decide to take, you could pass by a number of sights, including the Conservatory of Flowers, a polo field, and a bison paddock. There are also restrooms, water fountains, and benches throughout the entire park.
The Presidio – Similar to Golden Gate Park, the Presidio is where you should go to bask in nature and escape from the city. Unlike any other part of San Francisco, the Presidio envelopes you in towering cypress and eucalyptus trees while also being home to offices, residences, and restaurants. Take to the Presidio to discover some of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge and beautiful trails.