This classic, lively North Beach dive café serves espresso, sandwiches, alcohol, and simple hot plate dinners. It’s a very social place where the customers and staff engage in random conversation.

Like everyone else, Mario thinks everything he makes is the best in town They cover their dark walls (since made bright by new lighting fixtures) with photos of friends, family, and the occasional local celebrity visit. There’s also a bit of that confusing North Beach Italian culture jumbled together here: wall posters and decorations that reference everything from Roma to Toscana to Piemonte — as if they simply blended as one entity.

Seating options here include several indoor café tables, a series of worn stools at the counter, and a couple of outdoor tables that are put out when the weather permits.

Mario's Bohemian Cigar Store Café looking festive for the holidays Scene inside Mario's Bohemian Cigar Store Café

They serve their espresso from a two-group Elektra Maxi machine at the rear end of the bar. It gets a lot of regular use, which helps the coffee rotation, and the baristas (read: wait staff) here grind to order, more or less. Just above and behind the machine, however, you’ll notice their sign advertising “Expresso” [sic]. But don’t let that scare you too much.

They serve their espresso with a pale, even, thin crema, pouring it directly into dark brown ACF Graffeo cups (somewhat unusual), almost to the rim. It has a flavor of mild spice with some herbal notes, which is diluted by the volume of the pour. However, the body remains decent. Not bad, considering.

Read the updated review of Mario’s Bohemian Cigar Store Café.

Window table service at Mario's Bohemian Cigar Store Café Mario's Bohemian Cigar Store Café espresso