For about a decade, the owners of Hi-Note kept running into each other at the same karaoke spot. They bonded over their mutual love of singing in public, then decided to open this cafe and bar in Alphabet City. At Hi-Note, the focus is on music. There’s a DJ station playing music all day, starting in the morning when this place functions as a coffee shop. On Mondays, you can sign up to take over the turntable for half an hour with your own vinyl, and Thursdays are for electronica. It never seems to get too wild here, but if you need an escape, you can walk through the kitchen to get to a surprisingly big backyard. You might have noticed that we haven’t mentioned karaoke. Don’t worry—the whole room is soundproofed for that, and it’s coming soon.