Good Coffee in Big Arty Space

If you're going to spend top dollar for your fancy java, there might as well be some perks thrown in (pun intended). Four Barrel Coffee, open for four months on Valencia in the Mission, boasts a huge room with a lofty ceiling featuring beautiful exposed beams. The vast space is adorned with sculptural wood tables, and a row of animal heads line one wall -- chic if not exactly PC.

Donuts are trucked in from the Mission's own Dynamo Donuts, including the famed glazed-maple-bacon. Your cappuccino will have the food-porn photographer's fave, the fancy drawn-on-foam topping, if that's your thrill. They're building their own roaster, too (for now the French press is made with Stumptown coffee from Portland). They offer a simple Italian/French lineup of classic espressos, machiattos, and lattes (look elsewhere for shots of flavored syrup and ice-blended frappuccinos). 

We've been on an economy kick, brewing our own at home, but we were in need of a jolt of caffeine, and fell in love with the unusually appealing room. The sheer extravagance of space and witty stuff to look at made us want to linger -- and return.

Four Barrel Coffee, 375 Valencia (at 15th Street), 252-0800. Open Monday through Thursday 7 a.m. -- 8 p.m., Friday until 9 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. -- 9 p.m., Sunday 8 a.m. -- 8 p.m. Cash only.

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