8:30 p.m. Wednesday: Best Place to Sip Coffee at Any Time of the Day 

World Ground Cafe

It's harder than you would think to find a good coffeehouse. They can be too quiet or too loud, too pretentious or too dull, too squeaky-clean or too dirty, too cutesy or too cold. But at World Ground, in the Laurel district of Oakland, everything is just right. They have good coffee, beer on tap, peanuts in the shell, sandwiches, soups, salads, and truly delicious smoothies. This is a great place for studying, reading, meeting friends, or just people-watching. There's an outside area along with the indoor tables, and all those coffeehouse-related things such as poetry readings and live music. World Ground has the whole place-you-want-to-hang-out-in down so well that another one recently opened in Jack London Square, so now there are two places to get your caffeine fix in a relaxing and stimulating atmosphere.

Readers' Pick: Peet's

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