Gallery Cafe the Northeast corner, Mason and Washington, of Nob Hill is a great neighborhood cafe. Located at 1200 Mason Street, across the street from the Cable Car Museum, and it serves great coffee, wine, soda and sandwiches, salads and sweeties. Gallery Cafe is a great little spot with free wifi, as well as paid Internet terminals to return email to friends and relatives back home. http://gallerycafe-sf.com/
The staff is very friendly, and do their best to be helpful and to remember you. They are always pleasant even if you arrive a little before they usually open in the morning, and never rushing you out the door. There are generally two staffers at any time, one makes the sandwiches and salads in the back, and the other makes coffee and cashiers. There is nothing on the menu over $8.00. The drinks are very reasonably priced. The food is made with fresh ingredients, and delivered to your table.
The high ceilings means that the cafe is almost never hot and stuffy, and I have seen people sit there for hours working on their computers, reading or eating. There is a smattering of magazines and the walls are covered with paintings and prints, and sofas in the back, and some outdoor seating out front. There are events at night on occasion, mostly readings if I remember correctly. Most patrons keep to themselves and except for weekend mornings, the place is never crowded or loud, just very low key. It is a very good working environment. The bathroom is extra clean, smells fresh, and no one with touch your stuff if you have to use it for a few minutes.
The clientele is an eclectic mix of tourist, neighborhood locals, passers by on their way to work, cable car workers and students. It is not unusual to hear Cantonese spoken. It is a great spot to meet, as well to orientate yourself and start your day. Gallery Cafe is centrally located. Both the Hyde and Mason lines stop right in front of the cafe to take you downtown, and the stop for Fisherman’s Wharf and the Hyde Street Pier are only a block away. Chinatown is just down the hill and North Beach is within half a mile walk.
Except for the occasional cable car rumbling by, Gallery Cafe is a great low-key spot, whether you are a local or a tourist staying on Nob Hill. There is no pretention, just the basic food, drinks and services done well. Gallery Cafe is open from 6.30am to 7pm on weekdays and 7.30am to 7pm on weekends.