Bernadette Melvin is a former employee of SF’s Spinelli’s, which was bought out by Seattle-based Tully’s Coffee in 1998 (Spinelli’s, in addition to generally good coffee, always had the best baked goods of any coffee chain in SF). When Tully’s pulled out of this physical location in 2007, she moved in and opened with — and insisted upon — Arnold Spinelli’s coffee (formerly Bonavita, now called LaCoppa).

She’s a long-time local to the neighborhood, and the locals love her back. The shop is even run largely by her family members. This gives the café a far more popular and friendly feel than Tully’s could ever engender here. And who wouldn’t want to tell their friends that they spent their Weekend at Bernie’s? (My trash-so-bad-it’s-good fetish with 1980’s Andrew McCarthy movies aside, that movie has become a cultural reference for everything from Pope John Paul II’s final days to Fidel Castro today. Weekend at Fidel’s, anyone?)

Is it Tully's? No, it's Bernie's. Bernie herself brews my espresso

Using a three-group Faema E91 Diplomat, they pull shots with a rich-looking, darker brown crema. It may be a little thin, but there’s a lot to it. The cup has a full aroma and a robust roast taste of thyme and tobacco. There’s a lot to like here.

Read the review of Bernie’s.

Bernie's espresso