Until your first cup of coffee, you might as well be that one guy in Weekend at Bernie’s. (We want to say his name was Bernie.) If you live or work in Midtown, get your caffeine at one of these spots. A bunch of them serve food as well, so keep that in mind before you settle for a stale bagel you find under your desk.
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Little Collins is an Australian cafe that you’d expect to find much further downtown. Fortunately for you, it’s in Midtown East, and (in addition to coffee) you can get a quick breakfast or lunch here that won’t make you sad. Get an egg sandwich or some avocado toast in the morning, then move on to a turkey confit or schnitzel sandwich for lunch. Wash it all down with a well-made flat white.
While we’re on the subject of Australian cafes, let’s talk about Bluestone. There are a handful of Bluestone Lanes downtown as well as two locations in Midtown. The downtown ones tend to be a little roomier, but the outposts in Bryant Park and the Meredith Building on 3rd Ave are useful places to grab a coffee and an avocado smash to go.
Coffee snobs of Midtown, we give you two Blue Bottles. There’s one below Bryant Park on 40th St and another in the bottom of Rockefeller Center. This much-hyped chain from the Bay Area is all about the quality of their coffee, so seek them out when high-maintenance caffeine is the only thing that’ll brighten up your Midtown day.
If you need to both A) grab a coffee and B) stress eat some pastries, go to Bibble and Sip. After noon, they have fresh-baked cream puffs in several different varieties - and maybe that’s just what you need to take the edge off your day. And while you’re eating a cream puff, you might as well go ahead and embrace an equally ridiculous midday drink - try their lavender latte or jasmine matcha.
There are two Ground Central locations in Midtown, and they’re both on the East Side. The one in the 40s is more of a grab-and-go spot, but the location on 52nd actually has some room to hang out. It might get a little busy here, but if you need to escape the office for few and close your eyes in a comfy chair, this is the place.
9th Street is another spot for coffee snobs. The brown stuff here is reliably good, and its semi-hidden location in the bottom of the Lombardy Hotel is a nice little place to camp for a minute with a macchiato. They don’t take cards, however, so if your boss sends you on a coffee run, get cash from them first (because you’re in Midtown to get paid).
Taylor Street is a chain from London with ties to Australia. So, yes, you can get a flat white and some avocado toast here, but you can also get a grain bowl or some lamb with cucumber salad. Up a set of stairs there’s a mezzanine with a decent amount of seating, and the whole place has relaxing, downtown vibes. There’s even a disco ball. We don’t know why it’s there, but maybe it subconsciously reduces the stress levels of Midtown office folk.
It feels more LA than Midtown Manhattan in here, and you also have to pass through a Ralph Lauren store to get here (it’s on the second floor). It might be a little much if all you want is a coffee to go, but if you want to sit down for a minute and have a (very good) cookie in a bright little room that is, technically, very cute, Ralph’s has your back.
Simon Sips is hidden in the bottom of a big office building on 6th Ave between 46th and 47th. It’s hard to find at first, but if you need an alternative to Starbucks, this should be your go-to spot in the area. The shop itself isn’t very large or especially inviting, but it’s a good place to get a good latte and a pastry to go.
For:ground is a newcomer to the Midtown coffee scene, and it looks more like a downtown gallery than a coffee shop. The room is long, narrow, and minimally decorated (mainly with cacti) - and they project old movies on a wall near the entrance. Make it all the way to the back, and you can order a coffee and maybe something to eat (like a sandwich or a pastry). It tends to be quieter, so there should be a good number of seats available, although that might change once people actually know it’s here.
Toby’s Estate roasts its own coffee in Brooklyn, and there are a few locations scattered throughout Manhattan. The Midtown one is a counter in Urbanspace Vanderbilt (just north of Grand Central), and, in addition to coffee, they have a choice selection of pastries and they’ll even make you an affogato. If you don’t know what that is, it’s espresso over ice cream. And if you’d rather just have ice cream, get a milkshake here. If you get it coffee-flavored, your trip still counts as a coffee run.