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 LinkedIn 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 (in many cases) 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.
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.
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.
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. They serve good Mediterranean food, like shakshuka with a mountain of fresh pita, all day long. Plus, there’s 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. 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. You can pull a few tables together if your group grows, and they don’t tend to give the barista death stare if you 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 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 Post Malone 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 also 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 AirPods 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, 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.
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 sample sale in Soho. They’re open from 7:30am 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.
Your aunt said that 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 to meet at 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 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 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 combo of being 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 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 back to Grand Central. The back room is pretty dark, but on the plus side, the area’s 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. 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 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.
Norman feels like a coworking space, but you won’t have to listen to that AdTech startup’s elevator pitch every time you get coffee. Instead, this Scandinavian cafe and restaurant, which is inside a giant art and design space called A/D/O in Greenpoint, has tables and couches where you can have a meeting and only be interrupted when you want more coffee or high-quality food, like a fried egg on charred rye or crispy farro with wild mushrooms.
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 every day), 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 most neighborhoods in NYC have, 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. 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.
An old college 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 dishes 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 every day.
Williamsburg is a stronghold of 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.
Maybe you don’t want to deal with 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, salads and sandwiches starting at 7:30am every day. 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.
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.
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.
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 spot 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.