It’s the time of year when most New Yorkers prefer to be inside rather than deal with the cold outside. Some of the best places to take refuge from the biting city chill are cozy coffee shops. New York City’s coffee house scene has so many options. You can settle into a hidden coffee shop, a coffee shop that’s inside another quirky store, or discover some of the city’s oldest coffeehouses. Here, we’ve rounded up the coziest coffee shops where you can defrost in a warm, inviting atmosphere:
10. Swedish Seaman’s Church Cafe, Midtown
If you’re looking for a homey vibe, the hidden cafe inside the Swedish Seaman’s Church is the perfect cozy coffee shop. You are lured in by the smell of Swedish treats like saffron and cardamom buns. Inside, Swedish flags, dainty flowers, and pretty placemats top each table.
In addition to the fresh;y made pastries and hot drinks that you can purchase and enjoy at the cafe, there is also a selection of Swedish-brand food products like jams, cookies, candies, and even peas. These items are hard to find anywhere else in New York! Address: 5 E. 48th Street
9. Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, SoHo
Housing Works Bookstore is one of the best independent bookstores in the city, and it has one of the coziest coffee shops. Funds from the bookstore and cafe help the organization raise money to support its mission of ending “end the dual crises of homelessness and AIDS through relentless advocacy.”
The two-level space is run completely by volunteers and the books on sale are donated. You can grab your next great read while snuggling up to a hot cup of coffee and a treat from the cafe’s menu.
8. Caffè Reggio, Greenwich Village
Caffè Reggio brings a bit of old-school Italian charm to Greenwich Village. This isn’t only one of New York’s coziest coffee shops, but also on of its most historic. It is one of the oldest continually running coffee shops in New York City and has one of the oldest espresso machines, which originally ran on coal.
Greenwich Village Coffee Tour
The cafe boasts warm-colored walls, a tin ceiling, and an eclectic mix of furniture. Large 16th-century Italian paintings hang on the walls while the shiny silver espresso machine sits proudly in the dining room. Greenwich Village is brimming with coffee history and other historic coffee shops that you can check out on Untapped New York’s coffee tour. Address: 119 MacDougal Street
7. Cafe con Libros, Crown Heights
Some of the coziest coffee shops are found in bookstores! 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.
6. Black Cat, Lower East Side
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 furniture. 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 include open-mic events, comedy shows, academic lectures, themed movie nights and even tutoring services. Address: 172 Rivington St.
5. 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.
4. Partner’s Coffee (formerly) Toby’s Estate, Williamsburg
There are several Partners Coffee (formerly Toby’s Estate) locations, but 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 a class at the brew school there.
However, the main highlight is the space itself, which is decorated like a modern bookstore. Its bookshelf is filled with vintage and reclaimed “Aussie nostalgia” and coffee paraphernalia. The large windows at the front of the shop allow warm sunlight to fill the space as you sip your brew. Address: 25 N 6th St.
3. The Uncommons, Greenwich Village
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.
2. The Marlton Espresso Bar, West Village
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 decorative but also functional. 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.
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 bookshelves filled with reads, the space is truly cultivated as a refuge from the chaos of Midtown. Address: 155 East 52nd St.
Next, check out 8 Quirky Coffee Shop Combinations and 10 NYC Churches Hiding Coffee Shop and Cafes
This article was written by Susan Xu and updated in December 2022 by Nicole Saraniero