NYCGuide

The Best Coffee Shops In NYC

Whether you’re looking for the city’s best beans or its best loitering spots, these are our favorite places to get something caffeinated.
The Best Coffee Shops In NYC image

photo credit: Emily Schindler

Coffee shops play an important role in our society. Sure, they’re where you go to get your wake-up juice in the morning, but a good coffee shop is also a community hub. Where else would coffee snobs seek out better brewing methods, or literary snobs read Proust in public, or sitcom characters make witty remarks to their five friends? If you’re looking for exceptional brews, places to get work done, or just a good hang, stop by one of these spots. Especially if you’ve become overly acquainted with your robotic office coffee dispenser lately.

photo credit: Carina Finn

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Interlude is about as minimalist as it gets, with a smattering of tables inside a bright white Tribeca loft. Most people take their orders to-go, but if you do get a seat, it’s a peaceful place to recharge with a matcha tonic. The espresso drinks are top-notch, but Interlude’s matcha is near perfect, and not bitter at all. Don’t leave without a pastry—their malted chocolate chip cookie is one of the best cookies in the city—or don’t leave at all. You can sit out front to take in the calm of Hudson Street.

This coffee shop now has four uptown locations around Washington Heights and Inwood, but the tiny original on Pinehurst Ave. is great if you’re planning an afternoon in Fort Tryon Park. All of the excellent coffee here comes from small growers in Ethiopia, where the husband-and-wife owners first met. The beans are then roasted in small batches and sold by the pound or ground for use in the shop’s espresso, macchiatos, and cold brew. They have pastries and more substantial food, like injera wraps filled with spicy lentils and veggies. Buunni hosts regular community events, particularly at the largest location, in Inwood.

Prince might be the perfect coffee shop. The table-service Turkish cafe is a catch-all hub on the corner of Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, and on weekday mornings it fills up with Fordham students and email jobbers. On weekends, the laptop crowd is relegated to a “quiet area” in the basement, and the upstairs has more social energy. Light streams through the tall windows, and groups linger for hours in the expansive space, ordering fluffy coconut Raffaello cake and a succession of Viennese cappuccinos in tiny cups. Outside, there’s a contingent of people who require a fresh cigarette with each cup of coffee.

Sey is something of a rising star in the coffee world. At least according to three separate people who stopped to tell us this during our last visit. Coffee aficionados go out of their way to try this Brooklyn-based roastery’s beans, available at their plant-filled store in East Williamsburg. Sey switches up their espresso, iced, and drip selections every month, and  specializes in ultra-light roasts from single-source producers. It’s a nice, airy warehouse with more benches and bars than tables, so don’t count on room for your laptop. Come here when you’re ready to learn what a “washed coffee” is.

This East Village kissaten (a Japanese tea room and coffee shop) is one of the few places where you can get siphon coffee. Sit at the bar, surrounded by decorative mismatched china and stained glass lampshades, and your barista will prepare your order as meticulously as any mixologist. Each cup of coffee is made via one of three brewing methods (pour-over, aeropress, or siphon), and they have an exciting bean selection featuring Japanese roasters. You can also get a proper lunch of omurice and various sandos. Just get there before they turn into a bar at night.

An iced coffee from Kinship is the cherry on top of every leisurely stroll in Astoria Park. Located one block away, they’ve become a neighborhood staple with their line of single origin beans, which are available at all three stores in Astoria. This one, their largest, looks like the lobby of a modern design firm, and they actually have a machine that makes pour-overs, so you don’t have to worry about pesky human errors ruining your perfect cup. You can bring your dog inside, so your pup has somewhere to rest after your park sesh.

This Yemeni coffee shop in Williamsburg is open until 2am every night, but it’s a scene at all hours, especially on the weekends. There’s a small window on weekday afternoons when you can actually get some reading done, but by 4pm, it fills up with friends and families sharing fresh pots of spiced Adeni chai. An evening table in the cramped space can be hard to come by, as people tend to linger over flaky homemade khaliat al nahl, drizzled with honey. But who can blame them—we’re just as reluctant to leave once we get caffeinated and chatty.

A beloved espresso kingdom on 7th Street, Abraço has been fuelling the lives of East Village dwellers since 2007, with their small cups of biting, chocolate-y espresso, and olive oil cake. That cake is so moist, it could almost be an olive oil brownie in disguise. The pastry and snacking menu here changes every day, but you can always find this treat on the menu. The red lighting and neon sign might remind you of a bar, and you can in fact get cocktails here. One thing to know—they decidedly don’t offer any dairy-free milk alternatives.

Remi isn’t the only combination plant shop and cafe in NYC, but it is the only one where you can order a fancy latte and have them make you a matching mini floral arrangement. Naturally, the best drinks at this Midtown spot are floral varieties like rose and lavender, which accent the flavor of the espresso rather than make it taste like someone sprayed perfume in your drink. It’s more low-key than you’d expect for somewhere so photogenic, so feel free to bring your laptop. If you can’t do the digital nomad thing, this is the next best place to take zoom meetings (and make your coworkers jealous). They have another location four blocks up on 44th.

This stylish Japanese import is positioned right in front of Brooklyn Bridge, with a postcard view beyond its huge arched windows. That’s enough of a draw for tourists and AM joggers, but they also happen to make a perfect cup of coffee. Their signature drink is the Spanish latte made with sweetened condensed milk, but serious coffee nerds come here to geek out over single-origin pour-overs. If you’re heading for a picnic or a walk in Brooklyn Bridge Park, grab a Balthazar pastry to go, or soft-serve on summer afternoons.

This tiny Bed-Stuy coffee shop from alums of Daughter and The Fly is quite the scene on Saturday mornings. People in cow-print pants and emerging clog brands play footsie under the tiny tables, swapping bites of grain bowls and tamarind glazed plantains. The tight, concrete-clad space has a killer coffee program and great snacks, like a breakfast sandwich with soft scrambled eggs, pimento cheese, pickled green tomato, and paprika aioli. In the evening, it turns into a natural wine bar.

The pastries are on par with the coffee at this small counter spot in the East Village, and that is very important to us. Aside from expertly made coffee, the speciality here is cardamom buns, and these sticky, airy, delicately-spiced knots of dough are second to none. La Cabra’s pastry prowess isn’t exactly a secret, though, so expect a line that doesn’t let up from open to close. But the line isn’t totally atrocious, and the wait is definitely worth it. There are a few small tables out in front if you want to make everyone in line very jealous.

As much as we love our single origin pour-overs, we miss when coffee shops were somewhere you went to see loveable weirdos sing “Smelly Cat”. Black Cat LES is one place keeping ’90s-style coffee shop culture alive, in a subterranean space that feels like the common room of a dorm with leather couches, board games, and a piano. On any given night, there’s an open mic, comedy show, or reading, and if you’re a performer, you’ll get a receptive audience. You can order basic coffee drinks, organic teas, and mason jars of wine.

Variety is a mini chain, but it’s a likable one. There are eight locations between Brooklyn and Manhattan, and we’re partial to their Park Slope outpost. We don’t know why the coffee tastes better there, but it does. The cafe is big and sunny, with ample seating and fast wifi, and it’s also close to Prospect Park, so you can take a walk if you need to clear your head in the middle of getting work done.

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