I absolutely love coffee. After living in England, where just plain-old good drip coffee was scarce and I had to develop a taste for Americanos (bleck), I was essentially forced into learning how to make good coffee at home in a French Press. I started to take great care in the beans I was buying and how I was making my coffee at home and the results were delicious. While I will never knock Starbucks, as they were the only ones with drip coffee in England, there are so many options when it comes to coffee! And options that can teach you more about coffee or just feel like a luxurious pick me up in the day. Manhattan has a ton of amazing and unique options when it comes to coffee outside of the nationwide chains!
1. Felix Roasting Co. 450 Park Ave South
This is possibly the most gorgeous coffee shop I’ve ever been inside. So pretty in fact, none of my pictures could do it justice and I had to borrow photos from a review Vogue did on the space. The girls from work and I took a stroll down Park Ave to try this coffee shop and were immediately talking about how we should do meetings here if we can’t find a conference room in the office. This coffee shop will certainly get you an incredibly delicious and instagram-worthy coffee. I really enjoyed how the whole space felt like stepping inside a Wes Anderson movie. It may feel a bit heavy on the hipster vibe, but the coffee and the pastries are absolutely next level. Just as an added bonus – their pastries are from local cult favorite Supermoon Bakehouse. I always love when I can try 2 restaurants in one go!
2. Gregg’s Coffee (throughout NYC)
Gregory’s Coffee is a local chain throughout NYC, New Jersey and DC. They have a location across the street from my office and if I’m in need of a quick pick-me-up a mocha and a glazed donut from Gregg’s always does the trick. They have a large selection of treats and grab-and-go breakfast options as well. When I was trying to get into my new boss’s good graces, I would pick up an avocado toast during their avocado toast happy hours (possibly the most New York thing I’ve ever heard of). They even have an app if you frequent the chain enough – so you get the best of both worlds from independent coffee houses and the bigger chains. Also – the glasses in their logo are two coffee cups! How cute is that?
3. Porto Rico Coffee (201 Bleeker Street)
I absolutely love the smell of this place when you walk in and I can’t sing the praises of Porto Rico enough. This is technically an import house for coffee but it was one of the first spots I discovered when I moved to NYC. Porto Rico is an institution in New York City and has been around since 1907. I was out at a restaurant one night with a bag of Porto Rico coffee in my purse when the waiter noticed it and excitedly asked me what flavor I picked up. Porto Rico will make you feel connected to the city in a wholly unique way. I absolutely love this place; not only can I get a half pound of some amazing coffee for $5 but I can also pick up a cup of coffee to-go in the back as well. It feels like such a little secret knowing that you can actually get some coffee while you pick up your weekly stash. My early days in New York were spent walking up to Bleeker to get my coffee beans, a cup of coffee and a couple slices of chocolate rugelach to go. The staff at Porto Rico is also always willing to answer any questions you may have as well and I’ve definitely learned a thing or two from them!
4. Cafe Grumpy (locations in Chelsea, Grand Central Terminal, NoLita, Fashion District and the Financial District)
Technically a Brooklyn based roaster, I discovered Cafe Grumpy at the Best of Brooklyn Food and Beer Festival in 2017. The guy I spoke to at the Festival was incredibly knowledgeable about coffee and won me over with his charm. I still have my orange Cafe Grumpy pin at my desk at work and my orange reusable bag from the event. However, you may recognize the name from the coffee shop Ray ran in the TV show Girls. Cafe Grumpy is also one of the few spots where laptops aren’t allowed (they’re allowed in the Greenpoint location in Brooklyn – but this is about Manhattan!). As I was researching for this post, I also discovered Cafe Grumpy offers classes! So, I think I just found a new item for my New York City Bucket List.
5. The Bean (3 locations in Manhattan, 1 in Brooklyn)
The Bean has been around in New York City for almost 20 years now. My mom and I popped into the Broadway location before a Jazz show one night, but after dinner, a few years back and still remember our visit fondly. The Bean has good coffee and a decent selection of vegan (and non vegan) treats. Not only do they have a good selection of healthy, diet-friendly options but the punny names for drinks don’t hurt either (the Nut-Ella Fitzgerald and the Great Bam-bean-o for example). Bonus points too because their Manhattan locations are all open until Midnight, so I can always grab something for my train ride home.