New Yorkers take their coffee seriously. Street corners are dominated by Starbucks, and city favorites include Stumptown Coffee, La Colombe, East Village espresso bar Abraço and California import Blue Bottle Coffee. But it’s not just about the coffee, but also the people and atmosphere. Check out ten of our favorite neighborhood coffeeshops in Manhattan below, and share your favorites with us!
10. Greecologies, 379 Broome Street
Greecologies, in the trendy Nolita area of Manhattan, offers much more than tea and coffee, and is in fact best known for its “authentic Greek yogurt from grassfed cows” that’s made on-site. The yogurt has a variety of unusual toppings available, ranging from sweet rose petal preserves and honey and thyme to savory olives, cucumbers and tomatoes and sun dried tomato and mint. It also offers various traditional savory Greek dishes and desserts, grassfed butter coffee, and of course, your more common kinds of teas and coffees.
On top of that, design buffs will be sure to enjoy the shop’s aesthetic appearance; its simple white walls, airy atmosphere and cozy nooks are sure to put your mind at ease. In addition, Greecologies, which was designed by a Greek architect named Dionisis Sotovikis, has an outdoor garden with wooden seats and tables to work or relax in.
9. Saturdays Surf NYC, 31 Crosby St. (Other location at 17 Perry St.)
On first glance, it seems as if this Soho shop has an identity crisis, as it sells surf gear, men’s clothes and books along with coffee. But somehow, it all works. The front of the Crosby Street space is devoted to a rack of surfboards and a coffee bar that sells the shop’s signature blend of La Colombe coffee. Clothes and books are displayed in the narrow hallway leading to the shop’s best feature: the airy garden out back where you can chat and sip your brew after some browsing. The crowd is a mix of surfers and artsy people who seem productive even when they’re just hanging out. The garden isn’t a place to be antisocial! There are plush couches or free wi-fi here, but you could spend just as many hours chatting. Cash only.
8. Kaffe 1668, 275 Greenwich St. (Other location at 401 Greenwich St.)
This quirky café, opened by two Swedish brothers, might seem a little out of place in TriBeCa, close to the Financial District, but it’s a welcome addition to the neighborhood. The shop’s mascot is the sheep, and its whimsical decor includes stuffed sheep and pictures of sheep on the walls. There’s a large basement that’s almost like a cave, a contrast to the bustling shop above. Along with Intelligentsia Coffee, Kaffe also serves homemade fresh pressed juices–and wine and beer at its 401 Greenwich location. Only 275 Greenwich has wi-fi, which is one of the fastest of Manhattan’s free hotspots.
7. Housing Works Bookstore Café, 126 Crosby St.
You could spend days in this bookstore browsing the donated titles with breaks for caffeine (they brew Intelligentsia Coffee), baked goods, savories and even alcohol at the on-site café. The entire store is staffed by friendly volunteers, and all profits go to Housing Works, a nonprofit that fights homelessness and AIDS. The bookstore has an upper level with smaller tables to hide from the crowd. The café space is rented out for events. You also get a couple free perks: wi-fi and condoms in a basket by the register (in keeping with Housing Works’ mission, “no glove, no love!”). Housing Works also made our Top 10 Bookstores in Manhattan list.
6. Ground Support, 399 W. Broadway
This café can get really crowded, but the atmosphere is relaxed nonetheless. Take a seat at the bar and watch the speedy baristas serve up your order, or choose one of the wooden tables and benches–reminiscent of picnic tables–on which to sit. When it’s sunny, the doors open out onto a little courtyard where you can hide from the business of Soho. Ground Support brews Intelligentsia Coffee and serves delicious sandwiches for a quick lunch.
5. Fair Folks and a Goat, 96 West Houston Street (Other location in East Village)
The bustling streets of the Lower East Side are abundant with options for coffee-lovers. However, the coffee shop Fair Folks and a Goat, which doubles as a retail store, remains unique for its way of attracting loyal customers: a $25 monthly membership fee comes with unlimited amounts of coffee, tea, espresso drinks and lemonade.
Despite being somewhat nonchalantly nestled along 96 West Houston Street, the shop’s vivid blue exterior stands out. The interior is unique. Displays featuring a wide range of eye-catching merchandise fills much of the shop, with a counter and bar to the left as you enter. Its walls are brick or painted a vivid sky blue or orange, making for an aesthetically pleasing locale.
While there is a fixed menu, the options are usually discussed with the customer rather than put on a sign. The menu used to be just coffee, espresso, tea and lemonade, but the business has now added items like matcha and mocha flavored drinks as well as new pastries. Though non-members can still purchase drinks for regular prices, this unique membership fee has drawn in many regular customers since the store’s opening three years ago.
4. The Chipped Cup, 3610 Broadway
While cozy coffee houses are no rarity in the East Village or Brooklyn, they’re a bit of a rare find in Harlem. The exposed brick interior is airy and bright with a vintage feel thanks to the repurposed furniture. (One of the tables is made from a Singer sewing machine.) There’s a garden out back, too. Chipped Cup serves Counter Culture Coffee and Kossars bagels.
3. Caffe Reggio, 119 MacDougal St.
With all the new coffee joints in town, sometimes it’s easy to forget the classics. Caffe Reggio has been a Greenwich Village mainstay since it opened in 1927, and not much seems to have changed since then. The interior transports you to Italy, with its Renaissance artwork, wrought-iron fixtures and even quotes from Dante’s Inferno inscribed on the walls. This is supposedly where cappuccinos were introduced to America. The star decoration is the café’s impressive espresso machine, dating back to 1902. If it’s old-school charm that you want, you’ll get it here.
1. Birch Coffee, 21 East 27th St. (Other location at 56th 7th Ave)
Birch Coffee, which used to be located in the now-closed, Gaudi-esque Gershwin Hotel, just moved a few blocks down from there. With its wooden furnishings and exposed brick, as well as a bookshelf corner and a bar opposite windows, it’s definitely one of the homier coffee shops in Manhattan.
Choose a free book left behind by one of your fellow coffee drinkers, or leave one behind for the ones to come. Birch features monthly single-brew coffees and serves local and sustainable food as well, though it’s on the pricey side ($10 + for some sandwiches) for coffee shop fare. With coffee selections varying by season, Birch offers high-quality food in addition to a pleasing, quirky atmosphere.