In what feels like the world aligning with itself, San Anselmo’s Equator Coffees is reopening the historic Art Deco Round House Cafe in early fall. Perched at the southern end of the Golden Gate Bridge, the café first opened in 1938, a year after the bridge itself opened. Often called the Bridge Café, its former and new name, Round House Cafe, reflects the building’s roots and iconic shape.
Situated within the Golden Gate Recreation Area, one of the most visited spots in the National Parks system, Round House Café merges Equator’s reverence for quality, sustainability and social responsibility (it’s the first coffee company in California to become B-Corp certified) with the Golden Gate Parks Conservancy’s mission to preserve the Golden Gate National Parks, enhance the visitor experience and build a community dedicated to conserving the parks for future generations.
“Equator Coffees will be a beloved addition to the Golden Gate Bridge Visitor Plaza, which was transformed in 2012 for the Bridge’s 75th anniversary,” says Paolo Cosulich-Schwartz, spokesperson for the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District. “We hope visitors will use this space to meet, learn about the history of the Bay Area’s most iconic landmark, and enjoy their visit to the bridge with a warming beverage from Equator.”
Equator, which began in 1995 when founders Helen Russell and Brooke McDonnell first roasted coffee in a Marin garage, is no stranger to working with national parks. The coffee is already brewed at locations in Presidio, the newly remodeled Warming Hut at Crissy Field and the Fort Mason gatehouse, which Equator opened in 2017. Another location at Alcatraz Island is coming next. The menu at Round House Cafe will look similar to Equator’s other locations.
There is a reason that the coffee company has been so successful at securing these popular locations. Have you tried the Red Eye? It’s filtered coffee with a double shot of espresso, perfect for cutting through fog-addled mornings. The macchiato, café au lait and chai latte are for the rest of the caffeine-dependent drinkers. Croissants, scones and morning buns will still be sourced from Sausalito’s Cibo Bakery and breakfast tacos will be made in house. Digital ordering is the new normal — but you can still order at the counter.
“The Golden Gate Bridge represents who we are as a people and as a country — our community coming together to imagine and construct what was thought to be impossible,” says Helen Russell, the company’s cofounder. “The Round House Café will be a new point of pride for our farmer partners. Locals from across the Bay Area to visitors from across the world will have a chance to savor delicious roasts and flavor profiles in ethically sourced and produced cups of coffee.”
It would be remiss not to mention the view from the Round House Café: Look left to gaze across the bridge’s expanse to see the Marin Headlands or crane your neck to glimpse the Sutro Baths. Look right to take in the sweep of the Angel Island, Alcatraz and Fort Mason. That is, as long as Karl the Fog doesn’t interfere with the proceedings.
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Christina Mueller is a long-time Bay Area food writer. She hails from the East Coast and has spent way too much time in South America and Europe. She discovered her talent as a wordsmith in college and her love of all things epicurean in grad school. She has written for Condé Nast Contract Publishing, Sunset, and the Marin Independent Journal, among others. She volunteers with California State Parks and at her child’s school, and supports the Marin Audubon Society, PEN America, and Planned Parenthood. When she is not drinking wine by a fire, she is known to spend time with her extended family.s the Assistant Editor at Marin Magazine and a graduate of Elon University where she studied Professional Writing and Fine Art. Born and raised in San Francisco/Marin, she loves traveling just as much as coming home to the Bay Area. She has curated a sophisticated palate for food, travel and culture and uses her travels as an outlet to develop her photography portfolio and hone her writing craft.