SF Net

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The SF Net logo

SF NET Coffee House Network was an electronic bulletin board system created by Wayne Gregori in San Francisco, California in July 1991.[1][2][3]

The network consisted of coin-operated, public access computers installed in many Bay Area coffee houses.[4] [5] SF Net allowed individuals from all walks of life to communicate with each other via chat rooms and message boards. Additionally, it provided games and access to FidoNet.[6]

The coffee shop terminals were the culmination of a series of clever solutions to the problems of long-term remote placement in areas marked by low supervision and a young crowd. According to the then-popular Boardwatch magazine, the inexpensive, hence replaceable PC XT sat inside a locked plywood cabinet with vandalism-resistant Zolatone[7] paint and "keyboard condoms," or spill-resistant rubber coverings. Wayne Gregori hired David Lahti, the developer and operator of a popular San Francisco BBS, to develop and maintain the code base for the cafe table's communications software named, TableTalk, the BBS code base was maintained by Gregori. Lahti and Gregori developed and introduced a handshake between the coffee shop terminals and the BBS to distinguish them from other callers, ensuring paying customers could continue to use dedicated lines.[8]

Participating Coffee Shops[edit]

Name Location
Brain Wash 1122 Folsom Street, San Francisco, California
Horseshoe Cafe 566 Haight Street, San Francisco California
Ground Zero 783 Haight Street, San Francisco, California
Club Coffee 920 Valencia Street, San Francisco, California
The Coffee Zone 1409 Haight Street, San Francisco, California
Muddy Waters 521 Valencia Street, San Francisco, California
Jammin Java 701 Cole Street, San Francisco, California
Java Bound 1916 Irving Street, San Francisco, California
Jammin Java 1398 9th Avenue, San Francisco, California
Java Source 343 Clement Street, San Francisco, California
Laundry Cafe 570 Green Street, San Francisco, California
Caffe Roma 526 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco, California
Monday Blu's 3821 18th Street, San Francisco, California
Cafe Nefeli 1854 Euclid Street, Berkeley, California
Cafe Milano 2522 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, California
Espresso Roma 2960 College Avenue, Berkeley, California
Coffee Source 2404 Telegraph Berkeley Street, Berkeley, California
Central Park Books 32 E. Fourth Street, San Mateo, California
Royal Ground 1146 4th Street, San Rafael, California
Mama's Royal Cafe 387 Miller Avenue, Mill Valley, California

SF Net discontinued service in August 1997.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ John Flinn (18 August 1991). "High-tech small talk offered at The City's cafes". San Francisco Examiner.
  2. ^ Leonard, Andrew. "CyberCafes Mean Business". Retrieved 20 August 2012.
  3. ^ Katherine Bishop (2 August 1992). "The Electronic Coffeehouse". New York Times.
  4. ^ John Boudreau (17 February 1993). "A Cuppa and a Computer". Washington Post.
  5. ^ Linda Joyce (1991). "SF NET Coffee House Network CNN Report 1991 San Francisco". CNN.
  6. ^ Shann Nix (14 January 1993). "The Computerized Kaffeeklatsch". San Francisco Chronicle.
  7. ^ "Zolatone - Technical Information". Master Coating Technologies. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
  8. ^ "SFNet - Coin Operated Bulletin Board Invades Coffee House Culture". Boardwatch Magazine: 65–69. May 1993.

External links[edit]