There's nothing quite like the agonizing pleasure of shopping to make a cup of coffee sound that much more wonderful, or even like the only thing left that could possibly keep you alive. Rather than settling for the nearest chain-store swill (and bumping seasonal gift totes with all the sheeplike masses), why not search out one of the city's finer coffee establishments to break for that most appreciated cup of quality coffee, espresso, tea, or hot chocolate? Here are a few of our top recommendations, by district.
'NY coffee guide' on Serious Eats
It's both the salvation of the freelancer and the bane of the cafe owner's existence: the coffee-shop-as-workplace. And though the scenario's second-nature in most cities, finding a place to "laptop camp" in New York City can prove to be a bit of a challenge. That said, there are a handful of places that still let, and in some cases encourage, their working patrons to linger.
Been Parking your Slopes or Cobbling your Hills with little clue as to where best to sit and sip? The food-filled, cute-shop-lined streets of South Brooklyn are full of coffee purveyors eager for a share of your cup. But among them are some truly special spaces whose clean sunny spaces and no-nonsense approach to preparing excellent coffee are joined by exemplary staff, extra-tasty goods, or simply just the right vibe. We round up a few of the finest (notably mourning the indefinite loss of Stumptown's brilliant manual brew tasting bar in Red Hook, now on hiatus due to having too much coffee to store anywhere else) and encourage you to air up the bike tires for a tour.
Lower rents and a tabula rasa of long-forsaken storefronts with huge potential dominate the ever-changing Bed-Stuy, and coffee is hot on the heels of restaurants and hipster-exodus gentrifiers in populating the city's streets. Three of the newest are doing a great job both in pouring above-the-bar espresso and coffee drinks, as well as filling out a sense of community in a constantly shifting landscape.
There are few neighborhoods more pleasant for a coffee wander than those on the East Village and Lower East Side of Manhattan. There must be something in the proximity of the East River that just brings the magic—wait, scratch that—at least there's something in the community, anyhow. This list comprises a handful of our favorite coffee destinations in the neighborhood.
Glorious Chelsea! From gallery to warehouse to office to mediocre restaurant, this neighborhood has it all—not the least of which is a small handful of reliably solid, innovative coffee purveyors ready to meet your daily West side needs. Of the billions of businesses in this small area, we've highlighted a few whose coffees rise above the crowd—so take a short stroll through the 'hood and sip as you go.
It can be hard to survive the urban landscape without a cup of coffee—and it's unreasonable these days to be asked to survive without a great cup of coffee. With this in mind, Serious Eats: Drinks brings you a new set of neighborhood coffee guides. Today, we're in Williamsburg and neighboring Greenpoint.