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At the sidewalk tables outside, attractive hipsters enjoy a late brunch — grilled panini, poached eggs and toast, or the waffle of the day with fruit. Inside, animated with the buzz of excellent espresso drinks, still more attractive hipsters converse as soulful beats play in the background. At the counter, laminated tributes to subversive visionaries from Mother Jones to Bob Marley kindle activist sparks. Owners Andrea Ali, Keba Konte, and Rachel Konte are artists who select thought-provoking work to showcase on the walls. Never has the leftist cafe community been so tasty, creative, and mod. Organic, fair-trade coffee served.

Celebrated for fresh and gourmet-style lunch fare, this small cafe ironically shares space with a convenience store. Although it may be somewhat disorienting to order a goat-cheese-and-arugula sandwich on Artisan bread while wire racks of candy and jerky loom in the near-distance, any cognitive dissonance vanishes with the first bite. Crunch into organic pesto, thick cucumbers, locally grown arugula, and know happiness. Like the superb and reasonably priced sandwiches, inspired smoothies feature healthy ingredients gathered from local farmers’ markets. No foodie should complain. Quality pastries served, organic and Fair-Trade coffee. Cash only.

The International House of Pancakes, where one can ingest copious amounts of flapjacks from the crack of dawn to the butt crack of the evening.

For those who thrive in happy paradoxes, Jump’n Java is the ideal cafe. The space is cozy yet feels spacious, with large, light-welcoming windows. Small tables allow for anonymity, though at the same time, visitors must share a convivial seat on benches running the full-length of the walls. A tropical-island mural makes for a kind of vacation experience, even while most patrons settle in with free wi-fi and very good coffee for serious work. Nourishment in this oasis of contradiction includes empanadas, piroshkies, spinach feta pie, and Zoe’s sweet treats.

Located in the historic Tribune Tower in downtown Oakland, Modern Coffee is Oakland’s first coffee taproom. Offering a continuous rotation of the best artisan coffees from her favorite local roasters, owner Kristen Nelson crafts espresso drinks with care, accommodating customers’ whims and needs. If you want some snacks to go with your coffee, check out the extensive selection of locally made baked goods, sandwiches, salads, and quiche. Tea-lovers won't feel left out either, with plenty of varieties to choose from. Free Internet and a couch area in back, but no restroom.

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