[Don’t Recommend] Cafe Bassam

Imagine Indiana Jones designing a coffee shop. The result would be Cafe Bassam: an intimate setting [literally, with tables bunched together so closely that maneuvering through them is a challenge in itself] with random antique clocks, rifles, and other vintage trinkets on the walls. On one side, rows of tea line the window. On the other, a hiding place under the wall of rifles. Almost anywhere you turn, some interesting treasure waits to be discovered.

Cafe Bassam
3088 5th Ave
San Diego, CA 92103
(619) 557-0173

Let’s just agree here: life without coffee = sad times. I’ve attempted to beat my addiction three or four times at least, opting for the healthier alternative of tea..but nothing can replace the richness and depth of a good mug of steaming black coffee.

Cafe Bassam is one of the most unique coffee shops I’ve visited. Its decor is interesting, the ambience inviting. While the actual coffee isn’t the best, it’s definitely a place I’d recommend stopping by, just to enjoy the laid-back atmosphere. For those who like getting some work done outside the house, there are little tables aplenty, both inside and out [I mean, if you enjoy being elbow-to-elbow with your neighbor].

I normally don’t do iced coffees, but I had to make an exception on this day [thanks, San Diego heat wave]. Perhaps if I had ordered my normal black coffee, I’d have come to a different conclusion about the coffee quality. Who knows? As it was, my drink turned out to be a watery not-quite-coffee..thing. Michael had an overly sweet Thai iced tea. Meh.

Conclusion: As mentioned, the best thing about Cafe Bassam would have to be the decor and feel. It’s a great place to hang out. The coffee left a lot to be desired, so I would sadly be unlikely to make a return visit unless I’m actually in the area.


  • Parking is atrocious, so be forewarned. There is only metered street parking, which can be hard to find on busier days.
  • Trying to get work done here may not be for you if you happen to be claustrophobic. The tables barely have enough space between them to get through, but you could end up like me and chance upon a little, more isolated corner. Hehe.