One of the things I love most about the Bay Area is the coffee.
Some of my favorite coffee shops are Boot and Shoe (Oakland), Blue Bottle (Oakland & SF) and Devout (Fremont). In addition to delicious light roasts they all have fresh pastries and treats to choose from. This however is not a blog for hipster coffee shops and organic pastries; this is a blog for FREE, I've shopped til I dropped, I'm stuck on 880, I forgot my wallet, I don't want to pay for parking, I need a little help from my friends, coffee.
Living Spaces - Fremont & San Leandro
I love Living Spaces for their accessories, clearance room and their proudly brewed Starbucks coffee. In the Fremont location walk in and turn right (you'll pass the rugs, the pillows, shelves filled with home accessories and then on your right hand side you'll see a coffee bar set up with Starbucks coffee and Coffeemate creamers.
Barnes and Noble - Emeryville
West Elm makes me happy, like REALLY happy. Having to pay for parking however does not. To shop at the West Elm on Bay Street in Emeryville you have to park in a garage, a pay per hour garage.. To get around this I buy coffee at the Barnes and Noble next door to West Elm.
Now yes I still have to pay the $2.00 for my Tall Pike's (hence the "free-ish" in this blog's title) however, when I do they validate my parking (I believe it's up to 2 hours free but double check when you pay).
The Starbucks is on the second level of Barnes and Noble.
Bicycle Coffee - Oakland
Bicycle Coffee would have made the list of favorites in the opening paragraph of this post. However, they don't serve local pastries so they didn't quite make the cut. That said you can find them at the Lake Merritt farmer's market on Saturdays and on Friday, you can visit them in Jack London for FREE coffee.
If you are in the mood for a sweet (or savory) treat....after you grab your free coffee at Bicycle you can take a short walk across the street to Blue Bottle.
Expresso Parking - San Leandro
Expresso Parking is (in my opinion) the BEST place to leave your car if you are flying out of the Oakland International Airport. In addition to shuttles that leave every 15 minutes (helpful if you're always running behind like I am), they also offer proudly brewed Peet's coffee and Otis Spunkmeyer muffins for you to grab on the way to your flight on when you pick up your car.
Okay that's my list thus far. I'll update as I discover more.
If you know of any free or free-(ish) coffee hacks in the SF Bay Area please feel free to share in the comments.