New York Coffeeshops
Ninth Street Espresso
- ALT Cafe
139 Ave A (at E 9th), East Village.
Step into the door and find yourself in a space that
looks more like Santa Cruz or Venice Beach than New York. Well, maybe
not quite; the crowd subtly reminds you that you are on the right coast.
The coffee is forgettable, though cheap by New York standards.
- Cafe Pick Me Up
145 Ave A (at E 9th), East Village.
A cozy coffeeshop in the East Village. Great coffee
and comfortable atmosphere—though remember, you are in New
York, and everyone looks just perfect. A pleasant place to sit by
yourself and read, chat with friends, or just meditate. Finding a
spot can be a problem on weekends.
- Ninth Street Espresso
700 E 9th St (at Ave C), East Village.
Once a fashionable customer complained that his
cappucino order was taking too long. The barista coolly sent him off
to the nearest Starbucks. You can bet, however, that your drink will
meet Seattle standards: Coffee ground, pressed, and brewed to order.
And very pleasant service when there is no rush. Sometimes the
baristas take their craft a tad too seriously, but even the newspaper
of record was impressed by these west-coast transplants.
- Ost Cafe
441 E 12th St (at Ave A), East Village.
I was already loaded up on coffee for that day, but Ost looked so appealing that I had to try it, risking a sleepless night. (I slept like a baby.) And it was everything it was supposed to be: chatty baristas, attractive customers, eclectic decor, superb coffee. This could well be a four star contender, but as a Ninth Street loyalist, I cannot make that call.
- B-Cup Cafe
212 Ave B (at E 13th), East Village.
Israeli coffeeshop, serving large cups of coffee at even larger prices.
- Cafe Vienna (aka Chez Betty)
E 3rd St (at Ave C), East Village.
The owner, a nice French woman, likes to chitchat and
makes a good cappucino. Not much of a place to work in, but very
pleasant if you want to relax a bit.
- Ciao for now
504 E 12th St (at Ave B), East Village.
Good americanos, expensive sandwiches. It's a small
cozy place to spend a few minutes in.
- Rapture cafe and books
200 Ave A (at 13th St), East Village.
With the huge space and the cheap by local standards
espresso drinks, you wonder how this place will stay in business.
Anyway it is different from all the local competition. The front has
a bit of a Starbucks-like feel with little round tables and people
perched over laptops. In the back there is seating at the counter,
and the patrons are unusually chatty. The bookstore part, which
currently has about 4 shelves, is right across.
Ninth Street on 13th St
136 E 13th St, East Village.
The immense popularity of Ninth Street Espresso recently
brought this clone on 13th St. The coffee and the service are just as
good (baristas rotate between the two locations) as in the original.
However the new place lacks reasonable seating space for now, though
the location has plenty of room for tables. One nice thing is that
they stay open till 10. Let's see what happens as they gain more
converts from nearby Joe.
- Esperanto Cafe
114 MacDougal St (at W 3rd).
Wonderful ambiance, great coffees, but nasty, nasty service. Yes, the
waitresses look pretty, but try to keep interaction with them to a
minimum. Unless you enjoy being guilt-tripped into leaving a tip that
you'll later regret and being kicked out on top of everything. The
cappuccino is very good.
(Update: For once, the service was great. 3/2006)
- Caffe Reggio
119 MacDougal St (at W 3rd).
A nice alternative to Esperanto once you get tired of the service there. Pleasantly decorated, though too dark for reading; nice for a quick chat with a friend over a quick cup of cap.
327 W 11th St (at Greenwich St).
A cute little neighborhood coffeeshops that is very
pleasant but mostly caters to the local snobs. There are a couple of
tables outside to sit on a warm day. Beware, there is no bathroom on
- Joe on Waverly
141 Waverly Pl (at Gay St).
This shop is popular with NYU students, so it is hard
to find a spot but once you do it is pretty pleasant in there. The
drinks are good and the space feels welcoming; the walls are covered with nice local art.
- Think Coffee
248 Mercer St (at 4th St).
A huge space, popular with students, serving enormous
cappuccinos and decent macchiatos.
- Stumptown Coffee
18 W 29th St (at Broadway).
The line here stretches well outside the shop. At first
sight, the baristas with hats and tattoos look a tad pretentious. But
forget all that. You are in it for one of the two best cups of coffee in
the city. Which is the better one? One could spend years arguing that one.
- Café Grumpy Chelsea
224 W 20th St (between 7th and 8th Ave), Chelsea.
This fantastic new coffeeshop in Chelsea makes a good
reason to take a trip to this side of town. The espresso drinks are
very good, but the real story is the variety of regular coffees that
are brewed in a special machine (apparently only two of these are
- View Bar
232 8th Ave (at 22nd St), Chelsea.
The main business of this place is a gay / lesbian bar
at night, but during the day it doubles up as a coffeeshop with
internet access, so it attracts a somewhat weird mix of gay couples
and web surfers. On my visit there they didn't know what an americano
was (they thought it was the regular coffee), but were quite happy to
make a good one after being instructed.
- Brasil Coffee House
161 Lexington Ave (at 30th St).
This is a pretty nice place to have coffee in midtown.
- Joe on East 13th
9 E 13th St (at 5th Ave).
Renowned for its coffee, and the coffee is good. The
seating is tight.
- Lotus Club
35 Clinton St, Lower East Side.
A coffeeshop that doubles up as a bar in the evenings:
The combination is so obvious one wonders why it wasn't invented
before. Choose to sit in a comfy sofa near the bookshelf, a bright
table next to the window, or at the bar looking at the decent
collection of spirits. Good sandwiches and good beer in the evenings.
The coffee is nothing to write home about.
- 88 Orchard
88 Orchard St (at Broome), Lower East Side.
A very pleasant coffeeshop with good food and good
coffee in the Lower East Side. Nicely decorated, relaxed, with
friendly if somewhat slow service.
964 Lexington Ave (at 70th), Upper East Side.
The best (and probably most expensive) cappuccino I
have ever had. This is not an exaggeration. The
Update: The quality of the coffee has greatly deteriorated. 4/2007
761 Madison Ave (at 65th), Upper East Side.
This fashionable, stylish, upscale coffeeshop lets you
choose between a dozen different blends of espresso, from a cosi
(strength 3) all the way up to a ristretto (strength 10). The coffee
is excellent, but at these prices you can get a meal most other
places. (Nespresso is owned by the Nestle company.)
- Max Cafe
1262 Amsterdam Ave (at 122nd), Upper West Side.
Nice, eclectic coffeeshop near Columbia, with several
seating areas: tables, couches, armchairs, and an espresso bar. Great
European style cappuccino.
- Oslo Coffee Company
133B Roebling St, Williamsburg.
Oslo has a reputation well outside Brooklyn for its
fantastic coffee. It is also a fun place to sit in, especially around the
- Verb Cafe
218 Bedford Ave (at N 5th St), Williamsburg.
The space is very pleasant, and the americano is
excellent. In the afternoon the typical customer is a
26 year old with a laptop.
- St. Helen Cafe
150 Wythe Ave (at N 7th St), Williamsburg.
This fashionable joint appeals exclusively to the faux
bohemian specimen that prevails in this part of Williamsburg. If you
don't fit the bill, go in anyway, enjoy a good cup of
coffee, and observe the beast in its natural habitat.
Small World Coffee, Princeton
- Small World Coffee
14 Witherspoon St, Princeton.
A beacon of civilization in the heart of darkness. Excruciatingly
slow service (the baristas ought to take a crash course at
Strada). No plugs for laptops.
Minuscule tables. But we love it in there, really.
- Small World Coffee 2
254 Nassau St, Princeton.
The coffee is just as good as in Small World 1, but
the place lacks reasonable seating and has no bathrooms. Get your drink