Picking a place to meet someone outside the office during the day can be stressful. You don’t want to commit to a full meal, it’s too early to drink, and as nice as it sounds to just sit on a park bench, it’s weird to have a meeting in the park.
Fortunately, there are coffee shops. Unfortunately, many of them are either silent or blast the beanie’d barista’s alt-rock Spotify playlist. And if you manage to snag one of the small, wobbly tables, you don’t really feel comfortable having a conversation while sitting shoulder to shoulder with two people deep in thought about how best to crop their new Facebook profile pictures. But not the places on this guide - the spots on here have plenty of comfortable seating, reasonable noise levels, quality caffeine options, and many even have food in case you decide to hang out for a while. They’re organized below by area, and are in generally convenient, meeting-friendly locations.
manhattan (below 23rd st)
Like many other Australian coffee shops, this Bluestone Lane location in the West Village is bright and comfortable, with healthy food options and well-made espresso drinks. As long as you don’t need wifi and are OK being surrounded by Instagram models, this is a very pleasant spot for coffee and a bite. The prime Greenwich Ave outdoor seating is a nice bonus.
It sounds like a myth. An East Village cafe serving high-quality coffee in a bright space that actually has plenty of seating. Not only is Spiegel not a myth, but it continues to fly under the radar and thus isn’t overrun by the wifi-mooching masses. They serve good Mediterranean food, like shakshuka with a mountain of fresh pita, all day long. There’s also table service with free coffee refills, so you can keep yourself caffeinated without interruption.
As long as you aren’t easily distracted by tourists speaking a bunch of different languages, the cafe at the base of the Standard Hotel in the East Village is one of the cooler spots for a coffee meeting downtown. They uncover the outdoor patio on Bowery in nicer weather, but it’s also a cozy option during colder months. They also have full food menus from 7am every day in case you want something to eat while you try and figure out if the group sitting next to you is speaking Russian or Czech.
The Grey Dog is different things to different people. Some use it as a grab and go coffee shop. Some people come here for book club and a glass of wine. We recommend it as a good utility spot the next time you need a casual meeting place in Manhattan. There are four locations, all of which are relatively quiet, and have wifi and plenty of seating. We wouldn’t tell you to go out of your way to eat here, but the food menus are extensive and you can easily use Grey Dog for a working breakfast or lunch. You can pull tables together if your group grows, and they don’t tend to give the barista death stare if you to stay longer than an hour.
Whether it’s because you’re fantasizing about the secret dark sides of the people who live in West Village brownstones or because the entrance can be tough to spot, you could walk by Grounded a hundred times before realizing that there’s a large coffee shop inside. Besides a couple leather couches, there are a lot of small tables that are rarely all taken. This is a good option for a last-minute casual meeting in the West Village.
Having meetings at coffee shops can be difficult, in part, because the noise level tends to be deafeningly quiet or deafeningly loud. You’re either going to bother the wifi zombies who mistook this cafe for a public library, or you’re going to lose your voice screaming over Despacito blaring from the speakers. Think Coffee’s NYU location tends to have plenty of study sessions and coffee dates going on, so you won’t feel awkward speaking at a reasonable volume. It has wifi and a lot of seating. This rarity amongst downtown cafes has not been lost on students, so you will almost certainly be surrounded by undergrads up to their heads in SparkNotes.
You could use Gotan simply for a coffee date, but we prefer it for a breakfast or lunch meeting. Feel free to meet someone for a meal and justify taking a four-top by spreading out your bags and laptops, but also make sure to get the scrambled cheddar biscuit or eggplant and egg flatbread. The bright space also has plenty of seating and free wifi, making it our go-to for a casual day-time get-together in Tribeca.
Order a cappuccino in the courtyard of the High Line Hotel, take a deep breath of summer air, and you may actually convince yourself that you’re smelling the Italian countryside rather than taxi exhaust. If you’re looking for an outdoor coffee meeting spot in Manhattan, your options don’t get better than the only Intelligentsia Coffee outlet in NYC. They serve very good caffeinated beverages both in the lobby of the hotel and from a refurbished old truck parked in the courtyard.
Despite its name, this is more of a diner or casual restaurant than a coffee shop. Nonetheless, the large space right off Union Square works for all kinds of meetings. Do an early morning coffee date, have a business lunch at a four-top, or sit outside and watch the locals slalom through packs of tourists on Union Square. Unlike some cafe/bar hybrids, you can order coffee and espresso drinks here until close (4am everyday).
Union Fare5 E 17th St
While this massive food hall has areas selling everything from pastries to poke, the coffee bar at Union Fare serves La Colombe espresso drinks all day. It’s just off Union Square, so it’s a convenient meeting location for just about everyone. You won’t have a ton of privacy as it’s mostly large communal tables, but you can almost always find open seats. If it’s the kind of meeting where you aren’t sure if you’ll need food or not, then the different lunch stalls make Union Fare a particularly good option.
manhattan (above 23rd st)
Blank Slate would be an ideal cafe for a meeting if so many people didn’t already know that it’s an ideal cafe for a meeting, meaning it’s almost always packed. But we’ll still recommend it, because it’s easy to get to from pretty much anywhere in the city, and has a fair number of individual tables. If you’re planning on eating, they have good food options all day, but again - the lunch lines here can look like a Supreme sneaker drop. They’re open from 730am until 9pm, so it’s a good option for a get together over coffee and breakfast, or for one of those early evening meetings where you’re not sure if it’s a coffee thing or a glass of wine thing.
During the day, the lobby of the Ace Hotel is mostly filled with people who have a few hours to kill before their next tech MeetUp. The Stumptown outpost in here serves quality caffeine until 8pm everyday, and the huge hotel lobby has lots of comfortable couches and armchairs. There’s wifi and a good noise level, so you can have a meeting without whispering or screaming. Just be prepared to hear people casually drop “Silicon Alley” and “letter of intent” into conversation.
Pretty soon, there will probably be more Australian coffee shops in New York than American ones. Citizens of Chelsea is one of them, and as such you’ll find such words as “brekkie” and “avo smash” here. If you want to meet someone for a flat white and healthy food in a bright space, come here. It’s also walking distance from Penn Station.
This is the first NYC location of an Australian coffee shop from London and the upstairs dining area here is a good place for a meeting. It’s separated from the grab and go area downstairs, so you won’t have to deal with masses of commuters looking for their morning fix, a particular rarity around Grand Central. There are plenty of healthy-ish breakfast and lunch options, including some vegan ones.
La Pecora Bianca is certainly not a coffee shop. However, this fairly high-end Italian restaurant in Nomad does operate a coffee bar every day starting at 8am. The large, attractive space offers the rare combo of a good spot for both a coffee meeting and people watching. It’s easy to get to from just about anywhere in the city, and they serve surprisingly affordable breakfast that’s definitely worth checking out.
Ground Central is a Midtown coffee shop with a back room that kind of looks like someone’s library. It is a nice spot to meet with a couple people over coffee near Grand Central. The back room is pretty dark, but on the plus side, it means the area’s chorus of jackhammers, horns, and sirens are somewhat muted.
Cafe Jax is a comfortable neighborhood coffee shop with a good amount of seating. Most of the tables are small and pretty close to each other, so this isn’t the spot for power brokers to plot a hostile takeover. Fortunately, this is the Upper East Side, so local residents can use their parlor rooms and smoking dens for meetings of that nature.
Gregory’s isn’t the coolest cafe around, but they have a bunch of locations in useful areas like Fidi and Bryant Park. If you’re looking for coffee and wifi, you’ll likely be able to find a Gregory’s nearby. The pastries are worth checking out as well.
Williamsburg, greenpoint, bushwick
Freehold is the meeting place Inspector Gadget. No matter what type of space you need, Freehold probably has it under its tricked out trench coat. The coffee shop opens at 7am and has tables for a two person get together, while the large lobby basically doubles as a casual coworking space all day. It has armchairs, plenty of tables, and horseshoe booths that are good for larger groups. The table service in the lobby allows you to order from the coffee shop or restaurant without hitting the pause button on your meeting. There’s even a large courtyard out back in case you’re looking for an outdoor option. At night, the bar scene becomes the focus and Freehold pulls out one more gadget: a disco ball.
The West may be a little dark for serious business meetings, but it’s a great option for any type of casual get together. There’s a ton of bar and table seating inside, plus a sizable backyard with functioning wifi. They serve great coffee drinks in real mugs, as well as sandwiches throughout the day. Coffee is served until close (2am everyday), but this place does turn into a bar in the evening, so don’t expect to pore over a spreadsheet with someone once the discounted shot and beer combos start.
Budin is a Nordic cafe, so expect a bright space that kind of looks like it was designed in a woodshop class from the future. They also sell beer and wine, along with some random housewares and clothes until 11pm every night. While the multi-use space is a cool place to have a low-key meeting, we like it most for its big backyard. Try some Scandinavian coffee or beer, and get a much needed Vitamin D infusion. Think about all the places where people never get to have outdoor meetings. Like Midtown, or Scandinavia.
Bushwick doesn’t have the three coffee-shops-per-block density that most neighborhoods in NYC have, but fortunately Little Skips has a good amount of seating right by the JMZ. They’re open until 8pm everyday and the sandwiches are solid. There’s no wifi on weekends, so you may be in trouble if you’re looking for that so, so common Saturday laptop powwow in Bushwick.
Fabiane's Cafe & Pastry Shop142 N 5th St
Two blocks from the Bedford L stop, Fabiane’s is a highly convenient meeting spot for people coming from other parts of Brooklyn or Manhattan. The French cafe serves a variety of coffee, breakfast, salads and sandwiches from 730am-11pm everyday. It’s at the heart of the busiest tourist strip in Brooklyn, so prepare to see plenty of long cargo shorts and fanny packs. You can usually find seating at a two-top inside or an outdoor table right on Bedford.
Devoción69 Grand St
Devocion is a big, bright, attractive option for a casual meeting in Williamsburg. They roast their own coffee and take their barista duties quite seriously, but whether or not you’re interested in the various cold brew methods, you can use the large space for meetings. The tables are spread out, so you’ll be able to have a conversation.
Williamsburg has a stronghold on coffee shop/bar hybrids in this city. Located right on top of the L and G trains, Sugarburg is another convenient spot to grab coffee and a bite during the day, or a cocktail later on. It gets swamped during weekend brunch, but there’s usually plenty of seating available during the week. If your meeting requires wifi and a private table, camp out at one of Sugarburg’s booths.
Crown Heights, Dumbo, Park Slope, Prospect Heights
If you need a meeting spot in Park Slope while your toddlers learn French or do pilates, Kos Kaffe is a nice bright cafe right on 5th Ave. They roast their own coffee beans and serve to-stay drinks in mugs. Most of the breakfast and lunch items are healthy-ish, and you almost never have to wait for a table.
If you need of a meeting spot in Dumbo, Brooklyn Roasting Co. is filled with casual seating. It doubles as a roastery, so expect an industrial space with a variety of very fresh coffees, and a bunch of people who look like they could be architects and work in offices nearby.
Hungry Ghost253 Flatbush Ave
Some parts of NYC have multiple coffee chains on every block, but very little else in terms of decent places to get caffeine. The area surrounding the Barclays Center is one such region. If you’re looking for a neighborhood coffee shop in the area, Hungry Ghost is a casual spot serving Stumptown coffee and breakfast/lunch. There are a bunch of small tables and a couple leather armchairs that make this a good non-Starbucks option for a coffee date.
Lincoln Station is a large coffee shop in Crown Heights with wifi and plenty of individual tables. It’s a block from the Brooklyn Museum, so keep it in mind for a meetup spot near Prospect Park. They serve La Colombe coffee and good sandwiches from 7am-9pm everyday.
If you need a meeting spot before or after daytime activities in Prospect Park, Breukelen Coffee House will probably be a convenient option. It’s walking distance from the Botanic Gardens, Prospect Park Zoo, and Brooklyn Museum. This Crown Heights coffee shop serves Stumptown Coffee and good pastries. The large back room has a handful of tables and comfortable seats that make this a solid place for a casual get together.