The Aussie entrepreneur's guide to San Francisco

Walking down the streets of San Francisco it’s not unusual to hear a few Aussie accents.

But while there’s a significant cohort of Australians who have made the move, chasing the tech startup dream, trying to order a flat white and a smashed avo on rye isn’t as straightforward as it sounds.

So with that, we’ve hunted down some Aussies who now call San Francisco home to figure out where to get the best coffee, brekkie, beer and all the other creature comforts you start to miss when you’ve been in the Bay Area for a while.


HeyLets co-founder Dean Kelly has searched San Francisco high and low for a decent avo on toast. It hasn’t been an easy feat.

“If you are missing a great breakfast that doesn’t include Huevos Rancheros or bottomless mimosas and is more like the yummy mummy Paddington/Double Bay scene, then you need to get the avocado on toast at Jane on Fillmore, or at Reveille on Columbus Street,” he told Business Insider.

Many Aussies making the move to SF spend a big chunk of time seeking out surf. Ocean Beach is where a lot of them end up and after braving the icy water you’ll find them downing a big, hearty egg and bacon brekkie at Java Cafe in Sunset which education tech company Kanopy’s Tom Humphrey says has a Bondi vibe. “Kind of”.

While we’re on poor Bondi imitations, RecruitLoop co-founder Mike Overell recommends the beach at Chrissy Field for a soft-sand run, followed by coffee at dynamo donut by the water.


Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The thing about San Francisco is the locals think they have an epic coffee culture. But Aussies know it really isn’t that great. Starbucks is an obvious one to avoid, Kelly said.

Don’t even try to ask for a flat white, you’ll just be met with a quizzical, “you’re not from around here” look.

But if a latte is what you’re after, Humphrey suggests you head up to Contraband cafe on Nob Hill.

Australian sport

Photo: Getty

Greens Sports Bar on Polk is the equivalent of the Paddo RSL, Humphrey says, especially when the Tahs are playing.

But if international rugby, cricket or AFL is what you’re after, Brisbane boy and director of content strategy at Heat, Nick Reggars, suggests you head to Kezar Pub near Golden Gate Park, or Danny Coyle’s in the Haight.

Rooftop bars

Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane have some incredible roof top bars. With Australia’s fantastic weather and stunning backdrops, drinking outside is something most of us love to do.

“If you are missing rooftop bars, like SweetHearts Rooftop BBQ in Kings Cross, then the only place to go in SF is El Techo in the Mission,” Kelly says.

Zeitgeist in San Francisco. Image: Zeitgeist.

While it’s not a roof top, Zeitgeist in the Lower Haight does have a sunny beer garden. It’s not the prettiest place but there are 40 beers on tap and it’s protected from the SF wind.

Eating outside

Australians also like to eat outside. But SF can be freezing, so the options are limited.

“If you are missing the outdoor eating/drinking on the water like you get at Watson’s Bay Boutique Hotel, then you need to get to Sam’s at Tiburon. Catch the Ferry from Fisherman’s Wharf,” Kelly says.

Cliff-top walks

While Americans call it hiking, us Aussies know how to do a scenic walk. Whether it’s the Bronte to Bondi stroll or a quick climb up to Palm Beach lighthouse, it’s something we generally enjoy.

Kelly says there isn’t really a replacement in SF for these experiences but the one walk which comes close is Lands End Trail.

“It is a great hike along the coast, but you can’t stop off at a place like Glamarama (Tamarama) for a quick coffee or body surf,” he said.

Decent Italian

Humphrey says if you’re missing Leichardt’s Italian scene, a bunch of Aussies get their fix at Baonecci in North Beach.

Got any more suggestions? Leave a comment below.

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