Blue Bottle Coffee Coming To Dolores Park

Sick of hearing about Dolores Park yet?

Last night, Parks and Rec approved a 2-year lease allowing Blue Bottle Coffee to post up in Dolores Park, meaning we’re going to start seeing some long lines for something other than the bathrooms. The cart will operate from 8am-4pm.

Local businesses, such as (shocker!) Dolores Park Cafe, aren’t too crazy about this development and are hoping to prevent the kiosk from being located in “the heart of” the park. Hey, don’t worry guys: I’m sure a steady amount of sales come from folks wanting to use your customers-only restroom. Or maybe it’s time to protest the park bathroom renovations too?

In other related news: do you think the park “jumped the proverbial shark,” as Brock puts it?

[via the Examiner, photo by Lauren Hoernlein]

23 Responses to “Blue Bottle Coffee Coming To Dolores Park”

  1. ticklemepinko says:

    I don’t think Dolores Park cafe has to worry. Coffee is such a small fraction of their business, and really more of an afterhought there. Since Blue Bottle won’t serve giant cookies, pie, chocolate-dipped macaroons, hummus wraps, or vanilla soy caramel machiatos, I think DP Cafe will be just fine. People will still get hungry, and some people will always want froufy flavored coffee drinks.

  2. Faceword says:

    This is the second blog post this week about Blue Bottle appropriating public space for corporate use.

    See the other article here:

    I’m starting to notice a pattern.

    • Brillo says:

      Appropriating public space for corporate use? Thank you Mr Chomsky. Blue Bottle has some major connections, but from a public vs private standpoint this is no different than the hot dog & pretzel stands downtown, the Happy Belly cart in Golden Gate Park, or any taco truck. Do you object to the paleta vendors selling corporate La Michoacana popsicles too? This is a good thing for the city’s street life.

      • Tweedledum says:

        Blue Bottle owner is good friends with one of the voting board members for Parks and Rec, Phil Ginsburg. I think there is another blue bottle employee who has a spouse in the permitting dept. so I would say this is as close to connections as one can get! A taco truck is cannot be compared to a coffee company that generates bot retail and wholesale.. enormous revenues that make eyeballs puff and spin. When comparing Golden Gate Park to Dolores Park is like apples to oranges. GG is designed to hold millions of visitors a week if needed and is set up for vendors. DP is a local small neighborhood with no parking, not a major tourist destination, and not set up for Parks and Rec personal cottage industry.

    • MrEricSir says:

      “…appropriating public space for corporate use”

      You could say the same thing about pot dealers on Haight St.

    • MrEricSir says:

      And for the record, if this concerns you, you should go out and protest Outside Lands. They don’t just take a small cart to the park, they consume a large space — and charge people to use it!

  3. Ryan says:

    Great news. It’s a long walk from Dolores to any decent coffee place.

  4. When I go to Dolores Park, I bring my own refreshments from home. Why not? Businesses that live off of the unpreparedness of youthful dingbats should be prepared to fight it out in the free market.

  5. whatupwiththat says:

    The problem is not ‘free market’ or a ‘decent’ coffee place (there are about 12 within 2 block of the park already) or what ‘percent of sales Dolores Park Cafe will lose’… it has to do with the fact that NONE of the businesses in the immediate area, the neighborhood were even asked if they wanted a ‘cart’ or were informed about the ‘already made decision’ to ‘permit’ Blue Bottle to go into the park. Blue Bottle will be giving the park 10% of their sales. Our parks should be parks, not the makings of a ‘strip mall’. I am all for ‘carts’ and whatnot in the park, but this is the start of something bigger. Its not what the Parks and Rec/Blue Bottle are doing, its how they are doing it.

    • MrEricSir says:

      Dude, if you want to make the Tamale Lady go through a process like that here in NIMBY valley, she’ll be out of business.

      • whatupwiththat says:

        @MrEricSir…. you obviously don’t know a lot about what has been going on with permits, vendors, dolores park etc….
        In regards to your comment about the Tamale Lady…..With the new ‘permits being issued for vendors through P&R’… those that do not have ‘permits’ will be ‘turned in’, kicked out, asked to leave etc….
        If you like the Tamale Lady and other permit-less entrepreneurs (like I do) than you CAN NOT like permitted businesses to go into the park…. sooooooooooooooooo
        Blue Bottle and others go into the park with blessings from the P&R dept. OUT goes the Tamale lady and others, more or less.
        Also, the reason Blue Bottle would need a permit is because they will be dragging in a 12×8 foot trailer, NOT A CART into the park…. A trailer??!?!?! WTF?

    • tinklemepinko says:

      A decent cup of coffee is subjective. For some of us, those 12 places don’t have coffee that we like.

      Also, carts have already been in Dolores Park for a long time. There’s an ice cream guy that goes around, a popsicle guy, etc. There’s sometimes even a pot truffle guy.

      What I don’t like is this idea that Blue Bottle should be held to a different standard than any of those other carts. The posicle guy never got permission from Dolores Park Cafe or the neighbors to sell posicles. And, as MrEricSir points out, neither did the Tamale Lady. But the same people who whyne about Blue Bottle “appropriating space for corporate use” hail the Tamale Lady and the popsicle guy as “grassroots” and “local.” You can’t really have it both ways. If they get a pass, so does Blue Bottle.

      And no, that doesn’t mean the door is open for McDonald’s and Starbucks to come set up in Dolores Park. Blue Bottle is not a multi-billion dollar corporate chain and it never will be.

      Lastly, if they are giving 10% of their profits to Dolores Park, then that seems like a good thing. Of course the whyners will spin it as a buy-off, but I see it as giving back. Who else is doing that for the park? Good on them.

      • Dolores Park says:

        Dear Ticklemepinko slash Blue Bottle employee slash jerker offer to Blue Bottle cup of joe,
        Don’t you think it would fair if your company had to go through the same process as all other businesses vying for a cart….. had other businesses actually gotten the same opportunity as you? Blue bottle gives nothing back to the community, 10% of sales is nothing, a joke actually. And lastly, yes Blue Bottle does bring in millions collectively when you include their wholesale market. As far as you putting all of your focus on Dolores Park Cafe. Why? Fayes coffee, Tartines and Bi-Rite are all opposed. Maybe it’s something more personal for you?

      • Cracked says:

        The popsicle guy and the the ice cream guy are extremely impoverished guys that probably make about $200 days if they are lucky. They have proabably poured every single cent they own in a beat up tiny cart. Blue Bottle guys make a few million a year, build enormous kiosks and don’t wonder where their next meal is coming from. Real sensitive you are Ticklemepinko. White and privilged Im sure

      • Tweedledee says:

        You white guys crack me up. I love when you compare a poor hispanic woman selling tamales who can barely pay her rent, a super poor hispanic ice cream guy who pushes a cart wearing grimy dirty pants.. to a wealthy white man, well connected to City Hall and lives well beyond most of our means and makes millions selling coffee. Great comparison. Genius level even

      • whatupwiththat says:

        @TINKLEMEPINKO – You as well are limited with your information about the goings on at Dolores park, permits, etc…
        I am for grassroots (Popsicle guy , Tamale Lady).. Blue Bottle is no longer grassroots.
        As I said above, if permits are issued for businesses the P&R dept. decides on… then others who are without permits would then be considered ‘illegal’ and be asked to move or get out.
        So therefor, Blue Bottle should be held to a different standard… considering they won’t be wheeling around a push cart in the park, they will be setting up a large trailer. Do you like trailers in your neighborhood park? How is that a good idea?
        I am all for push carts, grassroots, local/independent people hocking their goods in services without permits and having neither a negative or positive impact on the park… they just do their thing.
        But businesses setting up another location in the middle of the park?
        Bad idea.
        Go to the community meeting next week, the 27th I think and get informed.
        No one is whining… and if you think the 10% of their profits is going directly to the betterment of Dolores Park itself, you are once again mistaken.

  6. Craig Hooper says:


    Would have been nice to have brought this little piece of news up at the community meeting. Because it sure has been kept awful quiet…

    Just sayin’.

  7. I'd like a coffee cart but am concerned says:

    It seemed like no one knew this was happening until it was a done deal. I’m in favor of a coffee cart, but this one seems like it was a special no bid contract, set up for a connected friend rather than open for all vendors to apply.

    Too often privatizing scheme that are ideologically sound, have been ruined by implementation where the friends of the politically connected get to buy trains, water, petroleum infrastructure for pennies on the dollar, and this looks like that sort of deal brought local.

    • Dolores Park says:

      Why isn’t Bevin Dufty getting involved. I think this should come up at the next community meeting on September 13th at Mission High Gym

  8. Frosty says:

    Oooh, good for them. And good for people who like good coffee. Dolores Park Cafe, for all its other charms, makes really shitty espresso drinks.

    And if you believe in meritocracy, good for San Francisco and the karmic balance of the world. Maybe this will motivate the cafe to make a decent espresso instead of sitting back on the wide wide tush of their ridiculously lucrative location.

    However, I’m a bit surprised Four Barrel didn’t jump on that first. Wouldn’t it be cool if they had a cart that was made out of four actual barrels?

    • copperhead says:

      Dolores Park Cafe and Bi-Rite made that neighborhood what it is today. Im sure they pay exorbinant rents to be there and work their asses off to make their places operate successfully. On another note, I like Dolores Park Coffee, Hayes Video’s coffee and Tartines. They are all pretty fucking awesome!

  9. what says:


  10. Dolores Neighbor says:

    Rumor is that Dolores Park Cafe is upgrading to Four Barrel or some other great coffee company. Tartines has already upgraded! Undercover resources have uncover that Ticklemepinko is in face a lovely Blue Bottle employee! Way to go with all of your thougtful concerns supporting 18th st. Businesses. On another note, it is actually all the businesses with the exception of Delfinas that think it’s pretty uncool. So kind of you to be so conerned. Here is yet another posting about Blue Bottle and their holier than thou City Hall connections:

    t should come as no surprise (considering the financial relationship between Blue Bottle and the architects involved in this project) that the neighbors’ concerns were ignored in favor of providing greater benefit to Blue Bottle and their habitual customers. Blue Bottle is a tiny cart in a block-long mixed use street. It’s also a relative newcomer here (2005), and has never made much of an effort to make nice with the residential neighbors nearby.
    [It's worth noting that they went through the motions of soliciting input from the community when they were trying to get the permits in 2008, until the neighbors voiced the very concerns and objections that are now becoming realities. They made no effort to change the plans to alleviate our concerns -- just paid us lip service and thanked us for our feedback (which they ignored). All communication stopped when we refused to sign a document that would make us perpetually responsible for additional maintenance costs and liability.]
    This entire project is really just an expansion of Blue Bottle, who will soon get the benefit of a rent-free plaza, owned by the city and used almost exclusively by their customers (if this weren’t about Blue Bottle, it would be at the other end of the street, where it would logically connect with Patricia’s Green and the impending pop-up spaces in the city-owned lots).
    I predict tables and no more through traffic, within two years — the complete elimination of this as a public roadway. That’s great if you’re running a cafe (permitted as a kiosk/cart), and want a place for your customers to sit…but it’s not so good if you happen to have a 20 car garage that opens into someone’s living room.