New York City is definitely not at a loss for coffee shops. There's a Starbucks on every corner, in practically every borough, and probably next door to a smaller, far less franchised coffee shop that took up residence first, before that thing we lovingly call 'gentrification' crept in. Here in New York, finding good coffee is easier to access than finding the right train line. From diners to bodegas, fancy coffee shops to total bagel dives and even food carts--the inky stuff is poured everywhere you turn. We prefer a quaint little scenery with our caffeine so you won't normally find us lounging in those big commercial spots. The atmosphere is just as important to us as the taste of the brew. So, we've rounded up some of our favorite NYC joints with the most memorable beans and scenes:
Saturdays Surf ~ This SoHo spot serves as a surf shop and coffee bar where patrons can peruse wave and skate boards and über cool laid-back styles laced with west coast vibes. What makes this spot so spectacular is the airy setup, the really good La Colombe beans they brew, and their massive backyard that transports you to another place entirely. We've spent many a summer afternoon relaxing out there with our perfectly constructed latte, daydreaming about how much the apartments must go for in the neighboring yards. Also, we are pretty sure that everyone on Saturday's payroll is also a model.
Box Kite Coffee ~ The newest and second location sits on the East Village's infamous St. Marks Place. Here, you'll find serious coffee with distinguished notes that vary from cardamon to concord grapes, handmade vegan and gluten free treats that taste far better than they sound, cool tunes, lovely mugs, and cute, bar-style seating.
Cafe Pedlar ~ Cobble Hill / Carroll Gardens residents have been calling this sunny spot a favorite to perch with a coffee or tea and a sweet or savory treat for years now. Even considering the abundance of Brooklyn coffee shops, this local joint hardly feels any real threats of competition. Cafe Pedlar brews Stumptown beans and handles foam art like a seasoned pro. Grab a cup to go and mosey on down Court Street for some local boutique shopping.
Little Zelda ~ They say that when coffee shops start sprouting in your otherwise sparse neighborhood that it's the first sign of gentrification. This couldn't be truer for Brooklyn's Crown Heights area and the growth spurts of Franklin Avenue. This particular coffee spot pales in comparison to the competition however, in that it's just so darn cute. The space is tiny, but the appeal is huge. Aside from a great cup of joe, Little Zelda also offers wine, beer and tapas that pairs perfectly with the mis-matched antique decor. Be sure to stop by Wedge, just next-door, for even more adorableness, and serious meats and cheeses.
Red Lantern ~ We've already shared our enthusiasm for this place before, in a previous blog post but since we are discussing beans and scenes here, we can't leave them out of the lineup. This Fort Greene hotspot doubles as a seriously legit bike shop that also just happens to brew awesome coffee with their own, Guatemalan sourced beans, presses their own vegan nut milks, and makes some very delightful sandwiches and treats. You'll find the nicest crew here too. Just a bunch of guys that share a love for fresh and sustainable eats and riding bicycles.
Irving Farm Coffee Roasters ~ There's a few of these locations around the city and they are all wonderful, but we particularly love the Grand Central coffee bar. Irving Farm roasts their own beans in the Hudson Valley and their coffee is superb. Their locations are always clean and woodsy, much like the river and valley they come from. Grand Central lends that gorgeous, ancient and stately appeal to the New York centric coffee producers, so pairing these two is an obvious and natural union.
Again, if you're on the streets of New York and in desperate need for a cup of joe you won't have to look far at all. But if you want to treat yourself to more than just a caffeine buzz you now have a few very solid and savory options to do just that.