Where Not To Pay $12 For A Juice Or Smoothie
The best juices from all the neighborhood spots you’ve walked by without noticing.
Juicing gets a bad rep. Partly because at least one person in any given cycling class is talking about how their two week-cleanse really helped them get in touch with their body again, and partly because juices tend to be very expensive. We don’t have a solution to the first problem yet (unless you’re willing to avoid all workout classes in Manhattan), so we did the next best thing.
We put together a list of places where you can get your dose of liquefied fruits, in juice or smoothie form, at prices that won’t hurt your wallet as much. You know that random health food store around the corner from you, where they actually make really solid fresh kale and pineapple juice for like six bucks? We set out on a mission to find a whole bunch of those places. These spots are as good as ones that charge double, although we’re not promising they’ll reconnect you to your body. If that’s a risk you can take, read on.
Check out the rest of our Guide To Being A Little Healthier.
photo credit: Noah Deveraux
Juicy Lucy's Juice Bar
A tropical-looking shack on the very not-tropical corner of 1st & 1st, Juicy Lucy has juices, smoothies, and acai bowls all for under $8. You’ll be happy with whatever you get, and even happier when you walk past Juice Generation a few doors down knowing you still have money for dinner and that 10-pound bag of Haribo Gummy Bears you’ve been eyeing on Amazon. If it’s more convenient (or it’s freezing outside and you’d rather wait for your juice indoors), there’s also another full storefront on Avenue A.
photo credit: Noah Deveraux
Mr. Piña Fruit And Vegetables
Mr. Piña is part of a chain of fruit stores (others are Mr. Berry, Mr. Melon, Mr. Coco, and Mr. Kiwi) in Brooklyn that would probably serve juice for twice the price if it were in the West Village. The locations all look like your basic bodega, but with aisles of fresh and inexpensive fruit instead of overpriced laundry detergent. You pay with the rest of the shoppers at the register, and then bring your receipt over to the juice bar. Also like your bodega, there are regulars who know exactly what they want and might push you aside if you take too long to order (if you need inspiration, the menu has suggestions for just about every ailment, including hemorrhoids). Last time we were there, our juice barista made too much and instructed us to chug until she could fit it all in our cup. We’re OK with any place that determined to give us our money’s worth.
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photo credit: Noah Deveraux
Lifethyme Natural Market
Lifethyme is that health food store in the West Village that costs twice as much as its Brooklyn counterpart. Luckily, that’s still pretty cheap. The name makes it sound like a market where your vegan yoga teacher would shop, but don’t let that scare you off. It’s a reliable place to do your healthy-ish grocery shopping, and the juice bar in the back doesn’t disappoint. You can’t customize your order, but they have a few leafy options and a few sweet options.
Vitality & Health Natural Market
Vitality Health is a “natural market,” which basically means it’s the neighborhood version of a Whole Foods. However, it’s a lot less expensive, and it should be your go-to juice, smoothie, and local dog food (this is apparently a thing) spot if you live in Astoria. When you’re not shopping for Max, you can order your drink at the bar, or from the window outside if you’re in a rush. Also, the juices come in glass bottles, so you can pat yourself on the back for being healthy and saving the earth at the same time.
The Health Nuts
Health Nuts is the sort of nutritional store that has a huge wall of supplements you’ve never heard of and shampoos made out of sea kelp and dolphin feelings. But you should walk past these, because there’s a reasonably-priced juice bar in the back. A lot of measuring goes on before they start blending, so we’re pretty sure everything is extra healthy. They also have locations in Midtown, the Upper West Side, and Bayside.
Hawa Smoothies & Bubble Tea
This place looks like the snack bar at your local pool, but the menu has much better options than half-frozen mozzarella sticks. It’s a tiny, cash-only spot in the East Village where the juices have names like “Hot Passion” and “Pome Queen.” If you’re not into those, they’ll gladly make a new concoction based on whatever you diagnose yourself with. Plus, you can drink your juice with those huge neon-colored straws they put in the bubble tea, which makes being healthy objectively more fun.
When we asked friends for their low-key juice bar recommendations, a lot of people told us that Green Symphony was the best thing about Times Square. That’s not a very high bar. But there are some hidden gems in Midtown, and Green Symphony is one of them. It’s a small bodega with juices, smoothies, and more brands of protein bars than we knew existed. We’re fans of all the drinks, as well as the cookies made with applesauce instead of sugar (we have yet to confirm if this is actually better for you). There’s a little seating area in the front if you need some time before facing Elmo (or your job) again.
Madhufalla Green Planet Organics
Nolita is a land full of matcha lattes and pink restaurants, which makes it essential you know about Madhuffalla’s existence. It’s a juice bar without any bells or whistles (except for the steady stream of models who come in) that survives because the juice is just really good, not because the wallpaper is photogenic. The space is clean and bright, but Madhufalla definitely doesn’t care about wallpaper, and that’s what we like about it. They also have smoothies, soups, and a few snacks.
This corner juice stand south of Union Square has smoothies, coffee, and acai bowls. If you work in the area, it’s a good place to grab a healthy drink when you’re falling asleep at your desk. Plus, the people who work there are much nicer than most people who are stuck in a five-by-five room all day.
Hudson Market is a hybrid food hall and grocery store in Chelsea that looks like a place your stepsister in Stamford would buy her produce. You’ll find apples in wicker baskets, lots of gingham, and a pinstripe awning over the deli. If that sounds like your recurring nightmare about suburbia, stay up front where the surprisingly cheap juice bar is. They also have smoothies, chia pudding, and acai bowls, but the juice is the best bang for your buck.
Most of the places on this guide are for your grab-and-go juice needs. Head to Pause when you want to sit down, enjoy your drink, and maybe get some work done. It’s a small, narrow coffee shop on the Lower East side with slouchy couches, salads and pastries, and mugs that you’d find in the home section of Anthropologie. The juices are simple (don’t come here if you’re looking for turmeric or spirulina), and you can make a whole meal out of your trip for less than $15. It gets crowded, so hit it during an off hour if you want a seat.