Looking for a great cafe and a place to relax and recharge? \r
Simple Pleasures on Balboa could almost be classified as a sanctuary that also serves coffee.\r
This is a place to escape to, have a coffee or a beer and maybe something to eat while you read a book or sit with a friend and solve the world's problems.\r
The staff is full of jive and always has a smile, but what really sets the place apart is the people behind the counter know exactly what they're doing. They crank out the absolutely positively best coffee drinks on the planet. Simple Pleasures even roasts their own beans (a few doors up the street). There is always fresh pastries and good food, and everything is fairly priced.\r
On most evenings, and on Sunday afternoons, you can even catch live music, all of which can be best described as seriously eclectic; jazz, folk, ethnic, classical, or even Steven Strauss and his ukulele (fantastic). You never know what you're going to get. The layout of the place is such that the music can't overpower the whole space. If you'd rather carry on a conversation you can hang out up front, or grab an outside table.\r
The decor isn't pretentious; just well worn and relaxing. The place is definitely not trying to make an artistic or architectural statement. There's no scraping metal chairs on concrete floors or avant-garde hollow industrial acoustics. It's just funky and very comfortable.\r
At any given time the clientele is a cross section of local folks and visitors: New age, punk, tech, old lefties, some buried in a laptops or a book, people who were strangers five minutes earlier discussing the world. Everyone is always made to feel welcome and at home, which is exactly how a cafe' should be.
Pros: Great coffee drinks - roast their own beans. Always a friendly crowd.
Cons: The search for parking.