Four Barrel #3: A Hidden Gem

Four Barrel Coffee is a well known small coffee chain in San Francisco. So you’re probably wondering “hidden gem? Serena stop hiding in a cave.” I actually mean hidden as in, this Four Barrel I visited was in a unusual surprising location. Four Barrel Portola is located along San Bruno Ave. If you’re familiar, or you’ve never been, San Bruno is like Chinatown #3. Chinese restaurants left and right. No one, I mean no one, comes out here unless you live here and this 4-6 stretch block is where your grandma comes to do some grocery shopping along with small little one-off random stores.

(as usual, for parking, location, and tips, just scroll to the bottom)

So when my girlfriend texted me saying she thinks there’s a Four Barrel Coffee you can imagine how surprised but excited we were. The hipsters are spreading! (Another joke.) Not sure how long this has been opened. I THINK it’s been a year.

I have a lot of a friends who live out that way. So FINALLY, there’s a coffee shop where we can just, have coffee, chat and hang out without driving to the Mission.

And I really do mean this place is HIDDEN. If you drive by, or even walk by, you can easily miss it. This little coffee join took over an auto garage (I assume) and they’re tucked in a little dead-end ally.

It’s cute, quaint, and cozy. You’ll wallk in and see this

coffee four barrel portola

The decor is amazing!

coffee four barrel portola

coffee four barrel portola

four barrel portola toast

Their toast with jelly and almond butter. To be honest, I wasn’t that big of a fan. They have about 5 toppings to choose 2 from and I think I picked the wrong topping combination.

The coffee itself though, pretty damn good coffee. It’s one of those place where I’ll go out of my way for good coffee and good talks with my friend.

Hint: Be prepared to stand! This place is small. Like I said, it use to be an auto garage so there’s not a lot room. They have about 6 stools and that’s it. No tables besides a shelf attached to the wall to display their merchandise and put your stuff on. When you sit, it’s about the height of your chin (I’m short – 5’2″) so not exactly ideal as a table. You’re really just sitting on stools and holding your drink. But other than that it’s spacious!

They DO however, have outdoor seatings with little tiny tables. If you look at my Instagram picture, it’s a little blurred out, but that white area to the right of Four Barrel has tables, or a bar like shelf, attached to the wall with white seats. We just didn’t sit outside because it was TOO hot. If you live here, I think you remember that 90 degree weekend we had recently.

This place is more of a come here with friends place than sit here with my laptop and do work place. Warning, if you bring your laptop, be prepared to not do any work.

Parking: We didn’t have to find parking! Why? Because my best friend’s mom drove us. Why? Because parking is DIFFICULT. On a Saturday or Sunday morning, the Asians are out! They’re most likely enjoying some good dim sum and tea time, and all the parking spaces are taken up by horrible Asian drivers. (I hope you know that was a joke. And I’m Asian. So yeah.) So if you’re driving here, I would say you’ll circling around a few times before you find either meter parking or residential parking.

Location: Again, unusual location. I’m STILL wrapping my head around this! I don’t know who would come out here for this location besides the locals from Cow Palace, Outer Mission, and Daly City and beyond. I normally go to the one in the Mission. If you’re curious about the Mission location, on Valencia, it’s bigger, has LOTS of seats (and an adorable outdoor seating), and pastries. Parking is tough out there too.

These photos/videos are from Four Barrel on Mission:


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Four Barrel
2 Burrows St.
San Francisco, CA 94134

Yelp (for the Portola location):
Four Barral on Urbanspoon

Other locations:

Mission (the one I usually go to)
375 Valencia St.
San Francisco, CA 94103
Four Barrel Coffee on Urbanspoon

The Mill
736 Divisadero St.
San Francisco, CA 94117



Hey Serena, I'm drooling a little..

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