Today, from YBC®'s Food Writer, Allison, we have her list of the top five cafes to visit when in NYC. Hope you enjoy! xoCandace
If there is one thing that is easy to do in New York City, it's find a cup of coffee. From our local bodegas to upscale coffee labs, a cup is never more than a block away, no matter what borough you're standing in. However, there has been a shift from just simple auto-drip machines with Folgers to single-origin Kenyan beans being weighed, ground, and brewed in a Chemex. In addition, cafes certainly are expanding their scope. While traditional cozy cafes still exist in spades - think cozy velvety chairs and nooks for reading while sipping on a frothy cappuccino - more niche cafes have started popping up around these parts, slinging strictly matcha creations or serving probiotic avocado toasts alongside your almond turmeric lattes.
For those of you YBC readers that are local to NYC, or for those of you looking for a good cafe to visit on your next trip into The Big Apple, these are my personal favorites. I hope you enjoy them as well! Needless to say, there are cafes to suit the literal and metaphorical tastes of everyone!
I've been to every Birch location, though the one on 96th & Columbus is the one I frequent the most. Their coffee, small-batch roasted in Long Island City, Queens, is a favorite among many New Yorkers! What I love is their Ignition Initiative, available at each location; you can grab a sign with a conversation starter (e.g.: "Ask me about the first time I truly felt like a New Yorker."), place it where you're sitting, and have a chance to meet a stranger to converse with. Perhaps you'll make a new friend! You can really sit down, read, write, sip, eat, and have a familial cafe experience when you go to any Birch location.
The Joint: Darling Coffee
The Vibe: Neighborhoody
Notable Noms: Housemade chai tea, cold brew coffee, & Vegan Hummingbird Cake
Price Range: $2 - $5 for drinks, $1 - $6 for pastries, $5 - $10 for entrees
Location: 4961 Broadway, New York, NY
Perhaps I'm partial; this joint is three blocks from my apartment. But! Even if I didn't live in the Inwood neighborhood of Manhattan, I'd be drawn here regardless. Darling Coffee boasts great food and drinks - many of my friends and old roommates will attest that they have some of the best cold brew coffee in all of the city - and they are extremely involved and invested in the community, from showcasing local artists and performers to hosting special dinners. Another perk? Many tables are "computer-free", especially on the weekends. Jockeying for a computer-free table - the sad tale of many cafes in and out of NYC - can be hard when you all you want to do is eat and read a book, or sip coffee and converse with a friend. Darling Coffee makes that easy! Bless 'em for that.
The Joint: The Good Sort
The Vibe: Colorful with Aussie Charm
Notable Noms: Iced Rainbow Latte
Price Range: $3 - $9 for drinks, $3 - $6 for pastries, $6 - $9 for entrees
Location: 5 Doyers Street, New York, NY
Vegans, rejoice! The Good Sort, located on one of the coolest little streets in all of New York City, is the place for you. Everything on their menu is plant-based. You have perhaps spotted their famous Rainbow Latte on Instagram, and I've had it...a few times! Layers of coconut, oat, and almond milk with turmeric, blue algae, and beetroot make for a magic drink, albeit at a slightly wallet-draining $8 a pop. #YOLO Don't sleep on their açaí bowls or turmeric-coconut congee, either, the latter being a nice tip of the hat to the Good Sort's prime Chinatown location.
The Joint: Gossip Coffee
The Vibe: Bright & Retro
Notable Noms: Cold-brewed iced tea on tap & their New York Times-lauded Prosciutto Guinness Donut
Price Range: $3 - $5 for drinks, $3 - 4 for pastries, and $4.50 - $28 for various sizes of rice pudding! (Yes!)
Location: 37-04 30th Avenue, Astoria (Queens), NY
There is something about orange-red and white houndstooth surrounding me that makes me feel as though I've stepped back a few decades. Then I take a sip of their cold-brewed blood orange iced tea and snap back to reality. I don't go to Astoria often, but when I do, I always go out of my way for a quick stop at Gossip! One day, I'll also return to Manhattan with 32 ounces of their excellent rice pudding, when I feel that I simply can not restrain myself anymore. Ha!
The Joint: MatchaBar
The Vibe: Green & Leafy
Notable Noms: Matcha Latte & Mint Matcha Lemonade
Price Range: $3.50 - $7 for drinks, $2 - $4 for pastries and snacks, $6 - $10 for entrees.
Location: 256 W 15th St, New York, NY
MatchaBar is the OG matcha cafe in New York City, as far as I am know. If I am incorrect with that statement, I'll still crown them as true innovators of this genre of cafe. Started by two brothers, their original cafe along a relatively stark area of Wythe Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn drew in folks looking for their matcha fixes. Soon after, their current (and now only) NYC location opened in Chelsea, and the business itself blew up! Their line of bottled iced teas is available nationwide, and Drake is now an investor! Not too shabby, I must say. Call me a purist, but I stop by their cafe almost every Thursday afternoon for a simple hot or iced matcha latte, depending on the season. The space is wonderful, the staff is always friendly, and the tunes can't be beat! Their motto is one to live by: Fuel Your Hustle!
Picking only five cafes for this post was a task, believe me! Here are a few others to I must insist you try if you can:
- Cafe Jax
- The Elk