Find Your Next NYC Java Fix
Life is too short for bad coffee. For those who drink a cuppa or two (or more) a day, the combination of perfect flavor, aroma and potency is hard to come by. So when a shop that pours a great cup of coffee is discovered, fierce loyalty ensues.
Some of the best local coffee shops in New York City are compiled here by two members of the Archer Hotel New York staff — Jacob Cerda, chef concierge, and Paul White, front desk host. Stop in, try them out and shoot us a note on our Facebook page to let us know your favorite place to caffeine up. But first, a quick note on the beginnings of our favorite brew.
The Origin of Coffee
Legend has it that Kaldi, a young Ethiopian Sufi goatherd, discovered the coffee plant around 850 AD. Realizing that his goats wouldn’t settle down at night after eating the red berries of the coffee plant, Kaldi decided to try them for himself. To his delight, he felt energized. He took the berries to the abbot of the local monastery to share his discovery, but the skeptical monk threw them in the fire.
That’s when the magic happened: The roasted beans smelled so good, Kaldi and the abbot scraped them out of the fire, ground them up and dissolved them in hot water. Ba da bing, ba da boom — the first cup of coffee was created.
True story? No one knows for sure. But it makes for a good tale, and “Kaldi” and “Dancing Goats” have become popular names for coffee brands and shops. There’s even a bronze statue of a dancing goat inside the Central Park Wildlife Conservation Center at 64th Street and Fifth Avenue. The statue was created by Brooklyn native Frederick George Richard Roth and installed in 1937. What a great photo-op, standing by “The Dancing Goat” with a cup of joe in hand.
And now, for some favorite stops for a great cup of New York coffee: Grab a cup to enjoy while you peruse this curated list of the best local coffee shops in New York City.
Best Local Coffee Shops in New York City
With three midtown locations (72 West 38th Street — just steps from Archer Hotel’s front door — plus 247 West 36th Street and 307 West 38th Street), Culture Espresso has earned a reputation as a stripped-down bohemian atmosphere that provides rich, flavorful coffee and pastries to write home about.
The macchiato has been called “liquid gold.” The cold brew is raved about. The cappuccinos, espressos and lattes are freshly ground, well-crafted and consistently yummy. Currently partnering with Heart Coffee Roasters out of Portland, Oregon, Culture chose them because of the way it sources and roasts its coffee, as well as winning blind taste tests by Culture staff.
The small, local chain also offers a variety of pastries, including savory ham and cheese croissants, homemade toaster pastries remarkably similar to Pop Tarts® and chocolate cookies that are collapsing — quite literally — under the weight of their own gooey goodness.
None of the locations are roomy, but they are considered by many to be an oasis. They host a rotating exhibit of art and photography from local and international artists — thus the moniker. Snag a seat and enjoy your time with a marvelous cuppa. No seat? Who wants to sit for long after all that caffeine? Take that steaming goodness with you.
Kobrick Coffee Co.
Four generations of Kobricks have hand-roasted its coffee beans in small batches. Today, its certified organic roasting plant, it sources, cups, roasts and packages select coffees and blends.
Coffee, cocktails, coffee cocktails, house-made chocolate milk — Kobrick serves fun small plates, but you might never get past the drinks. What to try? The Loca Mocha: with Ancho Reyes chile liqueur, Jameson® Irish whiskey, chocolate milk, cold brew and Hella™ aromatic bitters. Chase it with a Creamy Brie Grilled Cheese served with honey and apple.
The café, at 24 Ninth Avenue in the Meatpacking District, also serves appetizers, organic eggs, specialty toasts, pressed sandwiches, tartines, grilled cheese sandwiches, cupping table sides, tryer boards (aka cheese and charcuterie boards) and desserts. Surrounded by nightlife but feeling forever chill, Kobrick keeps it mellow until 4 AM.
On 1033 6th Avenue between 38th and 39th Streets — and a second location downtown at 276 Canal Street at Broadway — is Café Bari. This coffee stop pairs Fair Trade coffee with pastries and sandwiches. Whether you take your coffee hot or prefer it iced,
Archer Hotel’s near neighbor to the west has a charming staff, never tiring of adding espresso shots to whatever you’re drinking. Add some of the café’s homemade hot chocolate to whatever you’re drinking or take it straight — either way, it’s divine, rich and creamy, with just a bite of darkness.
Sit at the barstools that line the street-facing windows and enjoy a scone, warm chocolate croissant or cheese friand. The sandwich list includes Tuna Lemon Aioli, Goat Cheese Roasted Vegetables and Smoked Salmon. The café also serves several frittatas, salads and a soup of the day. For dessert? Try the Chocolate Nutella® & Fresh Banana — yum.
This collection of coffee shops and cafés is “inspired by the world-renowned coffee culture found in Melbourne, Australia.” What that means is the folks at Bluestone Lane want its customers to enjoy the coffee experience, rather than searching for a caffeine buzz. That experience includes a mental escape from the everyday in order to deeply enjoy innovative coffee concoctions, complimentary foods and a communal environment.
Serving an exclusive espresso blend called Maverick and an exclusive filter blend called Flagstaff, Bluestone Lane’s reputation is well-deserved. Sure you can get one of the best flat whites in the city; but also try the expertly executed latte or the Aussie iced latte (a double shot of espresso poured over milk and ice cream) or one of the “Wellness Drinks” (the Golden Latte has tons of fans). A myriad of specialty toasts includes customizable multigrain, avocado smash, salmon, turmeric sweet potato, and smashed pea and coconut yoghurt. The cafés also serve brunch items and a selection of alcoholic beverages.
Nine coffee shops and four cafés in Manhattan include the West Village café at 30 Carmine Street (between 6th and 7th Avenues) and the Upper East Side’s unique spot at 2 East 90th Street (adjacent to the Church of Heavenly Rest), with historic sandstone features and archways. The shops offer a limited food menu with counter service; the cafés provide an extensive seasonal menu of progressive café fare and table service.
House-roasted brews with unique coffee creations and freshly baked pastries are the hallmark of Café Grumpy. With six shops in Manhattan and positive reviews all around, the beans make the strong, smooth coffee more than memorable. Known for its cold brew, it offers ready-to-drink bottled cold brew, a concentrate and a 10-ounce cold brew + milk or chocolate.
Need a gift for a coffee lover (or yourself)? There’s a full line of Café Grumpy merchandise with its grumpy-head logo: mugs, cups and saucers, hats, T-shirts, totes — even a plush green or roasted coffee bean. Or sign up for a home brewing class and learn the tips and tricks you need to brew your own cuppa.
In the Fashion District at 200 West 39th Street, you’ll be greeted by an attentive staff and a lovely orange Synesso machine. The café aims to provide a relaxing environment to help its customers unwind, so put away the phone — there’s no Wi-Fi service. Just sit back and enjoy your steaming pour-over or cup of tea.
Six Jack’s Stir Brew Coffee locations include the flagship store at 138 West 10th Street. At the heart of Greenwich Village, this is New York City’s first organic, shade-grown and Fair Trade-certified coffee shop. Owner Jack Mazzola developed his method of brewing by remembering the actions of his Italian grandmother stirring her tomato sauce; he made the connection that the key to a balanced, less-acidic cup of coffee is to stir the coffee as it’s brewed.
To accompany a perfect cup of stir-brewed or cold-brewed coffee, try the in-house-baked vegan, kosher, organic apple cider or chocolate blackout donuts. They also serve hearty muffins and homemade cookies in the cozy space. And if you’re into celebrity sightings, keep your eyes peeled; you may get lucky at Jack’s — one of the neighborhood’s favorite coffee shops in New York City.
A true Australian-inspired coffee shop and café, Hole in the Wall has two locations: the café at 15 Cliff Street in the Financial District and 420 Fifth Avenue in midtown, right down the street from Archer Hotel. The café’s head chef is an Aussie native who uses his culinary skills that he developed Down Under at a popular beach café, as well as at award-wining restaurants and in developing kitchens of his own.
The café offers one of the best brunches in the city, alongside stellar coffee selections. Of note are the Breakfast Focaccia with scrambled egg, bacon, arugula, house-made pickles, relish and Sriracha mayo, and the Chilli Scrambled Eggs with bacon, avocado, pecorino, chives and crispy shallots on toast. Like a mimosa or espresso martini to go with your brunch? Sure thing.
And the coffee? Some say the best espresso in town is at Hole in the Wall. The cappuccino and flat white get special mention, as well. Stop in at the midtown location, which is solely a coffee stop, for a cup of brewed Aussie pride.
One reviewer of Box Kite at 128 West 72nd Street wrote, “The way they make the coffee is so professional, you might think you are in an operation room and the coffee is prepared by a brain surgeon. The result — one of the best coffee[s] in New York.” That’s tough to beat.
Box Kite curates a seasonal menu of coffees from roasters with quality top of mind. That means, naturally, that the coffee beans rotate and the cup of joe you get one day may be replaced by a different offering a week or so down the road. Not that it’s a bad thing; Box Kite is forever searching for new, dynamic flavors to present to its adventurous customers. And the owner and staff’s high level of expertise in bringing out the best of each coffee easily encourages that adventurous spirit.
The streamlined shop is geared toward takeaway business, as the space is quite narrow. This, and the mentality of minimalism, limit the menu to espresso and coffee drinks — no spirits program or dinner menu. Just seriously good coffee, a few pastries (waffle, anyone?) and USB ports to charge up while you sip.
In the East Village at 81st East Seventh Street, Abraço brings a bright, lively environment with a flavor of Spanish and Italian bars. With an emphasis on organic and seasonal ingredients, the shop has a small but delectable menu. A few fresh cookies, cakes and small plates complement the basic coffee selections.
The shop’s hot and iced lattes have a solid reputation as one of the best around. And if you like individually dripped coffee, caffe mocha, café cortado or espresso macchiato, you’re in luck. Pair your favorite with a reasonably priced frittata while listening to jazz. And by all means, try the olive oil cake; it’s earned high praise far and wide — that’s a sure sign that you’ve come across one of the best local coffee shops in New York City.
In Sweden, the word “fika” refers to taking a coffee break in order to enjoy a bite of something sweet or savory, as well as engaging in conversation. It’s a way to relax while staying connected to friends and loved ones.
Sustainability — of quality, culture and our environment — is the philosophy that guides Fika. Arabica beans are sourced from around the world and roasted locally according to a traditional Swedish method. The result? Coffee that’s bold, yet smooth and not bitter.
What goes great with coffee? Chocolate — and Fika has its own chocolate factory in Tribeca. Made from scratch daily, it’s a hard thing to try to outdo these sweet treats. For a bit more to eat, the small but delightful menu offers breakfast selections, freshly baked pastries, a soup of the week, quiche, wraps, sandwiches and salads. An added bonus: Wi-Fi is available at all 11 Manhattan locations.
A line out the door? Probably. Worth it? Definitely. Blue Bottle Coffee, with eight Manhattan locations (and more in New York, the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Miami, Boston and Tokyo) is sure to please.
Close to Archer Hotel at 54 West 40th Street and facing Bryant Park, Blue Bottle Coffee serves cappuccinos that are smooth and silky, Americanos that are not acidic or burnt, drip coffee offerings that are hand-poured and always-consistent espresso. The New Orleans cold brew has an insanely enthusiastic following. One happy camper described it as “sooooo incredibly rich and delicious with a hint of sugar cane and chicory!!! Wow!!!!” Another recommends it for any warm or hot day. And another stated that “you could literally taste out the roasted flavor from coffee beans … well done!”
To go along with the excellently crafted pour-overs, iced coffees and espresso drinks, the shop offers a selection of pastries. The website has a “Find Your Coffee Match” section that helps you determine your ideal cup o’ joe. And if you’d like to learn how to brew the perfect cuppa, sign up for Brew Class, Coffee Cupping or — if you’re super-serious about your coffee — Careers in Coffee.
When you’re hankering for breakfast or brunch — either light or more filling — stop in at AVA Social at Archer Hotel at 45 West 38th Street. Start with a coffee, espresso, latte, macchiato, Americano or cappuccino. If hot tea is more your style, try one of the Lavazza Teas. Then enjoy Steel Cut Irish Oats with brown sugar and dried fruit, Truffled French Omelet with robiola cheese, wild mushroom, toast and fresh truffles, or Bagel + Lox.
These are just a few of the great local coffee shops in New York City. Venture out of your caffeinated comfort zone to find the ones that pump you up and make you feel all warm and cozy inside. Wherever you get your coffee, may it be piping hot and as dark and as rich — or as light and as mellow — as you like it. And remember an old saying: “A cup of coffee shared with a friend is happiness tasted and time well spent.”