RecommendationAlex Bell from Snow White Coffee recommends grabbing coffee at Farley's Coffee East in Oakland, California as his 'Oakland Must' as part of the Dirt Road Travels city travel guide for Oakland.

Oakland, California

Farley's Coffee

"We want to hold on to that part of our society and our community that's sacred."

Beauty's Bagel Shop
Leaning Tower

Farley's Coffee

"We want to hold on to that part of our society and our community that's sacred."

"Trust yourself, trust your vision and trust what you want to do."
Recommended by:
Alex Bell
Owner, Snow White Coffee
Recommended in:
Oakland, California

Alex's Take

"I worked at Farley's in San Francisco when I was in my 20s. I worked for the guy who started it, and now it's his son who runs it. I'll always have a special place in my heart for Farley's. It's where I got my start! 

My experience at Farley's is what drives Snow White. I hope that someone that works for me eventually goes the same thing, and goes and builds a community-driven place somewhere else."

Amy & Chris Hillyard, Owners of Farley's Coffee

Our Story

"Farley's has been around for twenty-eight years. My father opened it originally in San Francisco. He broke his French Press and couldn't find a place in the city to replace it, so that's how the idea got started.

That Farley's opened in 1989, which was when the earthquake came in San Francisco and Oakland. The store was in Potrero Hill, which was the only place that had electricity and water. The community really needed a place to gather, so he opened early, which wasn't normal then, so the community could be with each other and grow through this natural disaster together, and that shop became the community hub.

Years later, we lost our jobs in the dot-com bust, and picked up and went to Southeast Asia and traveled. When we got home, we didn't have a place to live, so we lived above Farley's. Chris' dad ran the shop and lived on the third floor. So We got to walk into this other way of seeing the world through that shop. The bean smell, the smell of having coffee and the sound of the cafe, and how it ebbs and flows throughout the day.

That's what we knew when we moved to Oakland, which at that time was just emerging as a city. We needed a community coffee house and we wanted Farley's to become what it was in Potrero Hill.

Our mission is to make the places where we do business better places to live and work. Our community spaces are few and far between now and as a local independent business, we wanted to create a space where everybody feels welcome whether you're a traveler, an office worker or somebody studying. We want to hold on to that part of our society and our community that's sacred, and that is under attack from today's lifestyle, especially in the Bay Area."

Our Oakland Musts

"One of our favorite places is Beauty's BagelsHomestead on Piermont is also great and is a husband and wife team that created the Chez Panisse of OaklandSequoia Diner in the Fruitvale/Laurel District is awesome and so is the Leaning Tower of Pizza!"

More from Farley's

Farley's Coffee


Farley's Coffee
Chris Hillyard
Farley's Coffee
Beauty's Bagel Shop
"As quality a bagel you'll find on the west coast."
"The Chez Panisse of Oakland."
Leaning Tower
"Isaac's the quintessential hardworking independent business owner."
Farley's Coffee
"We want to hold on to that part of our society and our community that's sacred."

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