The western end of SOMA manages to be lively at night and fairly humdrum during the day, minus the traffic coming on and off the freeway (or possibly Costco). Aside from Vega, the little coffee stand selling Blue Bottle on Folsom between Eighth and Ninth Streets -- and which has no seating -- there isn't much of a café scene between Sightglass and Coffee Bar. So in spite of coffee's current ubiquity, Sextant Coffee Roasters fits in quite well on Folsom and 10th.
It's a lovely space, slightly raw and moody, and full of brick -- similar to the other museum-like or library-esque temples to light roasts. And although it lacks a website yet, Sextant has WiFi-- which Sightglass notoriously does not -- as well as a back patio with four mosaic-topped tables. Although walled in on three sides, it's about as bucolic an outdoor space as you're going to find in this park-starved corner of town. For now, the menu is pretty basic: the usual espressos, espresso-based iced coffees, and drips, all roasted in the rear. (Pastries are coming soon.) If you've ever been shamed by a barista over your desire to order a Red Eye, that horribly gauche beverage we all need from time to time, it's on the menu.
Should you be thinking, "That is the most hipster name for a coffee place yet concocted," well, at least there's an actual sextant in there. It's a device used by sailors to navigate by the stars -- and unlike typewriters or penny farthings and other graphic hallmarks of our age, the U.S. Navy still uses them. Now drink your coffee, Mr. Smartypants.
Sextant Coffee Roasters, 1415 Folsom St.