As I have weaved all over San Francisco on my bicycle this year, I have had the chance to meet some awesome people and see their inspiring workplaces.

You will not see this office featured as one of the best in San Francisco for 2011.

Since this is the time of the year we think back on the year that was, I thought I would take the opportunity to show you the best of the San Francisco startup scene from my lens.

I hope you enjoy the list, and let us know if you work in a cool office space in San Francisco that you want to mention.

Best Deck

While I spent time looking out at several views of downtown, the Bay Bridge, and AT&T Park there was one view that was better than all of them. The rooftop deck at StarMaker Studios was my definite favorite. You just cannot beat a rooftop like this in the Mission District on a nice day in my opinion. President Nathan Sedlander does a nice job of featuring this as a benefit to working for their company. If you know where the Slow Club is, you might be able to find this place.

The rooftop deck at StarMaker Studios embodies relaxation and is pure San Francisco startup.

Best View

I had to separate the best view category from the best deck category as I felt I needed both. Sometimes the best view doesn’t always come with a deck. That said, my favorite view this year was from ReTargeter’s new space at 33 New Montgomery. Their view from the 11th floor really captures the essence of working in downtown San Francisco.

While it is not the top floor, I believe ReTargeter’s view captures the vibrance of downtown on a workday.

Most Collaborative

My favorite collaborative office for this year was at Rally.org. Interestingly enough they do embrace Pair Programming as well. I had been to the Osha across the way on 2nd Street countless times. I never really paid attention to the building directly across the street, but got the chance to visit them in November. A really awesome group of people with a very collaborative space.

Rally’s space oozed the Pair Programming that they put into practice.

Bonus points for Rally…they have my favorite kitchen so far too. Perhaps that will be a category in itself for 2012:)

I may be biased because I love coffee, and they make it prominent…but this is one cool kitchen.

Most Comfortable

This one was close, and I had to end it in a tie. The two most comfortable spaces on our list have a common thread: you could literally live in both of them.

From the moment I stepped into their office on 10th Street, I felt at ease. MemSQL has done a tremendous job of creating a space where their team can feel at home while they work. CEO Eric Frenkiel has paid attention to all of the details in crafting their space.

The MemSQL team has all of the comforts of home, including a gourmet kitchen not seen here.

The other space that felt the most comfortable to me was the home of ZeroCater. When I visited their office, I quickly learned that they were based in a house on Waller Street in San Francisco. The telling factor that it was their office was the orange Y-Combinator sign in the window. When I entered you could see the comfort as CTO Bill Moorier worked away with his feet up (seen in the photo below too!).

It’s hard to get more comfortable than working out of an actual home in San Francisco.

Coolest Building

This one was a no-brainer for me. While many people would likely not agree, my pick is the Storek Building. I made it to two Ruby Meetups there this summer, and loved the open warehouse feel. I returned this past week to see a complete remodel fn the lower level. It is complete with new offices, foosball, ping-pong, and a gourmet kitchen. My favorite part of the entire space is the open, mezzanine level where companies like Iron.io get the chance to work.

Companies like Iron.io have the fortune of sitting on the mezzanine level of the Storek Building.

And another view of the classic Storek Building from the exterior.

The Storek Building is a classic inside and out, especially if you like brick.

Best Co-Working Space

I had the opportunity to visit co-working spaces such as Dogpatch Labs (Pier 38), RocketSpace, Sandbox Suites, SOMAcentral, and The Summit. I likely woud have voted for Pier 38 as the best space, but the untimely demise at the hands of the city of San Francisco has ruled them out. My winner for this category is pariSoma. It’s not because it is a fancy place to work. It’s because there is a “get it done” attitude in the building, and some awesome bootstrapped entrepreneurs rolling up their sleeves there. It doesn’t hurt that they organize lots of events, including classes on brewing beer.

Call me crazy, but I love the fact I can pull up a chair at a ping-pong table next to another entrepreneur!

Flat Out Awesomeness

I had to supply at least one photo of Klout’s office at 77 Stillman. Not only is CTO Binh Tran one of the most hospitable people I have met, they have also created one of my absolute favorite spaces in San Francisco. You can check it out too as they open their doors frequently for hackers to come by on beer nights.

Klout’s old warehouse space has come alive with collaboration and fun.

 San Francisco Rocks

Okay, so I am a little partial because I live and work in San Francisco. Not to mention, I love it in the city. That said, I have also lived in other cities across the United States. I just don’t believe anyone captures the vibrance and creativity of entrepreneurship like San Francisco does.

And I would be remiss if I did not show at least one photo of our very own HQ for Ongig. We are a team of 3 working away in the Mission District. How can it not be one of my favorites?

In the spirit of full transparency, I was compelled to show the HQ for Ongig in the Mission District.

We would love to hear from you about which office spaces are your favorites in the city and why. Make a comment or drop us a line.

Here’s to an awesome 2011, and to the future in 2012!

by in Career Development, Companies, Entrepreneurship

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  • http://www.taggert.net/ jtag

    Thanks for the tour of spaces and psyched you included Rally! (The kitchen is indeed perfect; we hold a lot of impromptu meetings there). Downstairs and part of Rally is also the RallyPad-a new space for social enterprise and non-profits to get their work on (look for our website early 2012). Ping pong happens there often.

    For coworking there’s still a charm at Citizen Space and I’ve had some great experiences at NextSpace on the corner of 2nd and Market (more than just tech folks there).

    Square and Airbnb deserve mention too. Cheers.

  • Cdcmarquez

    Love the kitchen/coffee focus, ping pong work tables and rooftop sanctu-airies!
    Work hard, refresh at work, work hard some more! Smart and fun.

  • Charl Norman

    Love the office pix, we have a dedicated category to office photos on our blog as well:
    http://www.bandwidthblog.com/category/internet-company-offices/

    Keep sharing pix from your office travels!

  • http://twitter.com/a_w_young Adam W Young

    I don’t know how something with people sitting so close to each other is supposed to be “most comfortable”. That would drive me insane.

    • http://twitter.com/n8dunn Nathan Dunn

      Agreed, Adam. I like my space, and I’ve been in an individual office for so long, it would definitely be a big change for me to go to an open space like this.

  • Joe

    Great article!

  • Sat Heezy

    The entire new trend of “open-floorspaces” is completely awful for anybody that values peace and quiet in a production or development environment. Over the past few years I’ve worked in several and all this sort of setup seems to encourage is impromptu ‘meetings’ that occur as shouting matches over other peoples’ heads.

    I think it’s a tragically misguided concept because it’s far easier for those so inclined to find a ‘collaborative space’ to have discussions than it is for those of us who prefer to stay ‘heads-down’ to escape from the constant drone of work-related discussion and socialization.

    My current office is so loud and busy that I’ve taken to wearing headphones and listening to music the entire time I’m at work. This effectively cuts me off from the rest of the team, and serves as a far greater hinderance to collaboration than a cubicle wall would.

    So far, the sole benefit of working in a place like this is that it gives me a great excuse to work from home as much as possible. The entire concept seems to be based around ‘de-workifying’ the workplace and I just don’t feel that easily tricked.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dtracz Dennis Tracz

    IDEO’s space on the Embarcedero is great and currently being renovated. Everyone’s bikes hang from the ceiling and great views from under the Bay Bridge
    Address:‎ Pier 28
    501 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94105

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rachelle-Alexa/717255630 Rachelle Alexa

      I was specifically shown footage of the IDEO workspace when I took a new product dev. course at Santa Clara Uni. Touche on collaborative space!

  • Karencadenhead

    Clearly you have not visited Two Degrees office space, a short leap from Klout. We have history, bars to eat, cool people, bars to eat, an antique stove, bars to eat, and a view of the alley where you really start to understand what goes on in and around South Park. Oh, we also have a KMart basketball net and the most delicious two degrees bars you can imagine in four amazing flavors.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=20200281 Jana Boruta

    StackMob by far has the best office space in SOMA.

  • Jagdaddy1

    I do not like the open space, cubicle, deconstructed warehouse look in an office space. At some point you can go too far, by doing too less. There’s something to be said about individuality and privacy. If not, why not place urinals against a wall and shoulder height partitions around the women’s toilets in middle of the floor, so that no one would ever miss a power point presentation in the all glass conference room. And the exposed sewer pipes could be converted into a drip irrigation system for the herb garden, near the smoking deck!

  • Bockstahler

    cruel, horror , to stay theire for more than 1 hour , I would get ill.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/johanson707 Joe Hanson

    I really enjoy working in the open floorspace. It builds so much teamwork, having everyone near each other. I never want to work in a cube again.

    I actually recently made a video about a muralist who did a mural on our office wall. If you like Start Up Art, check it out! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v63TD-YQqDk