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. And while many of them are either uncomfortably silent, far too loud to concentrate, or full of people with no apparent intentions of ever giving up their seats, the places on this guide are different. They have plenty of comfortable seating, reasonable noise levels, quality caffeine options, and (in many cases) also good 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.
The Workweek Guide is presented in partnership with Cole Haan. All restaurants and bars featured on The Infatuation are selected by our editorial team.
manhattan (below 23rd st)
It sounds like a myth: an East Village cafe serving high-quality coffee in a bright space that actually has plenty of seating. Well, not only is Spiegel real, but it also continues to fly under the radar and thus isn’t overrun by the wifi-mooching masses. This place serves good Mediterranean food, like shakshuka with a mountain of fresh pita, all day long - and there’s even table service with free coffee refills, so you can keep yourself caffeinated without interruption.
When you need a meeting place around Union Square or Madison Square Park, check out Devocion, which is located three blocks from both. They roast their own coffee and it’s the kind of place where a real coffee nerd could be very happy, but whether or not you’re interested in the various cold brew methods on offer, you can use the tables or leather couches in the bright, attractive space for casual meetings.
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 professional Instagrammers, this is a very pleasant spot for coffee and a bite. The prime Greenwich Ave outdoor seating is a nice bonus.
You’re both in the real world now, but you also knew each other in college when you spent an entire night trying to figure out how to make a vending machine dispense double the snacks. Black Cat is a coffee shop on the LES that feels like the common room of a dorm - with leather couches, board games, a piano, and shelves of beer and wine - so you can talk about work, but you also won’t feel far removed from your glory days.
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 the colder months. Food-wise, they have full menus starting at 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 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 lower 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. They also don’t tend to give the barista death stare if you stay longer than an hour.
There are plenty of coffee shops in FiDi that work for meetings, but if you don’t want to call your medium-sized beverage a “grande,” then your options are more limited, and you should head to Fika. This mini-chain is Scandinavian-inspired, and even if you’re not in the mood for shrimp salad with dill on house bread, you can still make use of the bright, comfortable space that has plenty of seating. This FiDi location is large, especially for the neighborhood, and has a bunch of booths, as well as communal tables that work for meetings with bigger groups.
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 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.
This place is a rarity among downtown cafes - a quietish spot with wifi and a lot of seating - and this has not escaped the notice of students. So you will almost certainly be surrounded by NYU undergrads up to their AirPods in SparkNotes. The good news is that with so many study sessions and coffee dates going on, you won’t feel awkward speaking at a reasonable volume.
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 daytime get-together in Tribeca.
Order a cappuccino in the courtyard of the High Line Hotel, take a deep breath, and you might 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.
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. 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 it 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 can make this place look like a sample sale in Soho. They’re open from 7:30am until 9pm, though, so keep Blank Slate in mind for breakfast, or one of those early evening meetings when 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, and the huge hotel lobby has lots of comfortable couches and armchairs. There’s also 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.
Your aunt said you’d hit it off with her financial advisor’s nephew, and you agreed to meet for coffee. Sure, any cafe could work, but on the off chance that your aunt was actually right, you’ll be happy you chose DTUT on the Upper East Side. Start with coffee at a table up front, and if things are going well, order food or some drinks from the full bar and get to know each other while playing a board game by the couches.
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 encounter terms like “brekkie” and “avo smash” here. If you want to meet someone for a flat white and healthy food in a bright space, try it out. 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 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, and there are plenty of healthy-ish breakfast and lunch options, including some vegan ones.
La Pecora Bianca is not exactly a coffee shop. However, this Italian restaurant in Nomad does operate a coffee bar starting at 8am on weekdays and 9am on weekends. And the large, attractive space offers the rare combination of being a good spot for both drinking coffee and people-watching. It’s easy to get to from just about anywhere in the city, and it has a surprisingly affordable breakfast that’s worth checking out.
Ground Central is a Midtown coffee shop with a back room that looks kind of like someone’s library, and it’s a nice spot for a meeting with a few people who eventually need to get on a train home to Connecticut. The back room is pretty dark, but on the plus side, the area’s normal chorus of jackhammers, horns, and sirens feels 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 (this particular one is convenient to the 68th Street 6 stop). 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, this spot probably has it under its tricked-out trench coat. The coffee shop opens at 7am every day and has tables for a two-person get together, while the large lobby basically doubles as a casual coworking space. 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 taking a break from your meeting, and 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), 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.
Awkward silences are best avoided, no matter what kind of meeting you’re having. So rather than going to an empty coffee shop where your words will echo off the walls like you’re alone in a canyon, go to Toby’s Estate in Williamsburg. It’s big and has plenty of seating, but it’s also a block from the Bedford L stop, so it’s always packed and loud. As long as you don’t mind the crowds, you can hang out and order an acai bowl or smoked salmon toast.
Bushwick doesn’t have the three-coffee-shops-per-block density that many other NYC neighborhoods do, but fortunately Little Skips has a good amount of seating right by the JMZ. They’re open until 8pm every day, and the sandwiches are solid. Just keep in mind that there’s no wifi on weekends.
An old friend messaged you out of the blue asking what it’s like working at your company, and you agreed to meet for coffee. After about 30 minutes, you realize that you actually have a lot to catch up on and should probably get some food. If you’re at Blank Cafe in Williamsburg, you won’t need to stand up from your table. This all-day spot serves Japanese comfort food ranging from an omelette with roe in the morning to curry udon later in the day. And if you really go down memory lane and want to transition to booze, they offer Happy Hour from 2-6pm.
Williamsburg is a stronghold of coffee shop/bar hybrids, and Sugarburg, located right on top of the L and G trains, is another convenient spot to grab either 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 in one of Sugarburg’s booths.
Maybe you don’t want to deal with the crowds at Sugarburg, or you just want a standard coffee shop rather than a cafe that’s also a bar. Check out And / Or. It’s located at the entrance to the Lorimer L stop, and it has a good amount of seating at two-person tables, plus a counter in the window and a communal table in the back in case you have a big group.
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. This French cafe serves a variety of coffee, breakfast, salad, and sandwich options starting at 7:30am every day, and you can usually find seating at a two-top inside or an outdoor table right on Bedford.
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. Plus, most of the breakfast and lunch items are kind-of-healthy, and you almost never have to wait for a table.
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. So keep an eye out for Hungry Ghost, 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.
Brooklyn Roasting Co. in Dumbo is a big space filled with casual seating. It doubles as a roastery, so it’s an industrial-looking spot with a variety of very fresh coffees, and a bunch of people who look like they could be architects and work in offices nearby.
Park Slope has the nickname “Stroller Slope” for a reason, and the neighborhood’s Blue Bottle location knows it. This bright, minimalist cafe has high chairs at the window counter inside, along with designated spaces for parking strollers outside. So if you’re looking to drink a pour-over with some babies in tow, your options don’t get much better than this.
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 near Prospect Park. They serve La Colombe coffee and good sandwiches from 7am-9pm on weekdays, and starting at 8am on weekends.
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, and it 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.