Winter has been pretty unforgiving this year, prompting many of us to stay indoors. However, if you find yourself having to venture out into the tundra that is currently New York City, make sure to find a refuge that offers a warm, cozy place to defrost.
Coffee shops are an excellent option, and New York City is full of unique ones that boasts different themes and vibes. Here are a few of our favorites:
10. Spreadhouse Cafe, Lower East Side
Image by Greg Minasian
Spreadhouse is a New York City-based creative agency that specializes in full service film production. Its cafe, bar and event space on the Lower East Side is a physical creative space that feels like a “loft or a garage full of freelancers and people working on screenplays,” according to The Infatuation.
The space itself can only be described as eclectic: there’s a range of seating options, including communal tables, couches, floor cushions and its wildly popular basket swing chairs. Additionally, there are a few design highlights that are worth noting like its t-shirt vending machine, pink neon sign and stack of psychedelic TVs displays.Address: 116 Suffolk St.
9. Cafe con Libros, Crown Heights
For book lovers and coffee aficionados, Crown Height’s recently opened Cafe Con Libros is a must visit. The feminist bookstore, founded by Kalima DeSuze, is a community-oriented space, which provides unique programming like book clubs, book fairs, prison outreach and more.
“It’s a place made safe and accountable by boundary pushing Feminist books, community members, and open dialogue,” writes DeSuze about the shop. “We hope to provide a space for building community and healing through reading, dialogue, and simply being in the company of fellow community members.” Address: 724 Prospect Pl.
8. Black Cat, Lower East Side
Image courtesy Black Cat LES
Black Cat LES is “basically a living room,” says Untapped contributor Apoorva Tadepalli. It’s a neighborhood-driven coffee and tea house inside a dimly lit space that is fitted with comfy seats and vintage lounge furnitures. The brainchild of Aaron Ho, a business owner and criminology professor, Black Cat LES was founded as a community space that brings together like-minded intellects.
With that in mind, the cafe offers an extensive food and beverage menu, as well as free events. Scheduled programs included open-mic events, comedy shows, academic lectures, themed movie nights and even tutoring services. Address: 172 Rivington St.
7. Milk and Roses, Greenpoint
Milk and Roses is a “Greenpoint mainstay” that operates as a cafe by day and an Italian-inspired restaurant by night. Its rustic and romantic interior is reminiscent of an old-library, complete with walls of books, lamps and bright red couches.
Head there for brunch and dine on entrees like Rustic Pot-Pie or the Farmer’s Breakfast. Otherwise, it’s open for dinner, offering a variety of pasta dishes, the finest Italian wines and exquisite mixed drinks. There’s also a charming garden in the back that is home to potted plants, walls covered in vines and overgrown foliage during the warmer months. Address: 1110 Manhattan Ave.
6. Toby’s Estate, Williamsburg
Although there are several Toby’s Estate locations, the original one in Williamsburg is generally the favorite among patrons. That’s because it’s home to the production team that roasts all of the coffee for its cafes and wholesale customers. Customers can actually watch the process unfold or learn about the coffee making process by taking class at the brew school there.
However, the main highlight is the space itself, which is decorated like a modern bookstore. Its bookshelf, which is filled with vintage and reclaimed “Aussie nostalgia” is so famous that Toby’s Estate actually encourages visitors to take a #tobysshelfie” in front of it. Address: 25 N 6th St.
5. The Uncommons, Greenwich Village
Image by Uriel Clavijo courtesy The Uncommons
If you’re looking for a place to burn a couple of hours, pay a visit to The Uncommons, Manhattan’s first boardgame store and cafe that welcomes guests of all ages. There, you can find an expansive inventory of board and card games — one of the largest in the East Coast — that span across multiple genres.
In addition to being a game center, The Uncommons is very much a social space, where events likes tournaments and meet-ups are regularly held. You are also free to “walk-in” and play on a regular game night. Address: 230 Thompson St.
4. The Marlton Espresso Bar, West Village
Image courtesy Marlton Hotel Facebook
Whether you’re in need of a morning coffee or an after-work drink, the Marlton Espresso Bar (Margaux) offers a warm refuge for you to camp out in. It’s housed inside West Village’s boutique Marlton Hotel, where it essentially serves as the lobby. As for the interior, the space is covered with wood-paneled walls, and features velvet couches, book shelves and heavy tables. The highlight, however, is the fireplace that’s not only functional, but also decorative.
Yelper Dan-Ah K. writes that there’s a separate dining room in the back, but you can certainly order a meal and enjoy it in the cafe area. Address: 5 W 8th St.
3. Birch Coffee, Flatiron
Although there are several Birch Coffee locations in Manhattan and Long Island City, its Flatiron outpost is particularly cozy. It seats about 30 people and is home to a little book nook that’s separated from the rest of the cafe.
There, you can find tall bookshelves lined with quirky volumes, rich mahogany furniture, brick walls and a beautiful chandelier. If you’re in the mood to socialize, the coffee shop also offers conversation cards that you can place on your table to help initiate conversation with other friendly patrons. Address: 21 E 27th St.
2. Grounded, West Village
Another community-based coffee and tea house, West Village’s Grounded is far from a “well-polished” coffee shop. Yelpers describe the space as “ruggish,” artsy and homey. That’s because it’s decorated with a variety of seating options (from benches to couches and barstools), paintings, lamps and a ton of plants.
Like many of the other coffee shops on this list, there is also a bookshelf for anyone looking to cozy up with a good read. The skylight is an additional plus for this location. Address: 28 Jane St.
1. Ground Central, Midtown East
There’s a reason Ground Central calls itself “the best coffee shop in Midtown East.” It’s not only focused on producing a good brew, but also on coffee culture in general. The Midtown East outpost on 52nd Street is decorated with New York themed murals, created by famed Australian street artist, Heesco. There’s also an extensive collection of vintage rock & roll records and a library lounge in the back, which is truly the best part about this quaint space.
With black leather couches, matching wooden furniture and book shelves filled with reads, the space is truly cultivated as a refuge from the chaos of Midtown. Address: 155 East 52nd St.