Nolita Mart & Espresso Bar (Chinatown)

cortado at nolita mart & espresso barJames Fong and Selina Ho have done a great job with this Nolita/Chinatown café and general store. Located on Mott St between Broome and Grand, this beautifully constructed shop is the only decent espresso bar in Chinatown (even if it weren’t, I’d still bang on about it!) Having chosen to serve only Stumptown Coffee – because they can get it fresh every day, or on call, from the roaster’s Red Hook roastery – their baristas also receive frequent training sessions and advice from Stumptown. Their milk is locally sourced, from Battenkill Valley Creamery in Salem, NY, and the mart itself specialises in locally sourced, organic and sustainable products, from snacks to refillable cleaning products (available products include People’s Pops, Common Good, Anarchy in a Jar, Blue Marble Ice-Cream, New York Naturals, McClure’s Pickles and more!)

They also recently started offering refillable take-home growlers of cold brewed iced coffee, which has been a huge hit – the 64oz growler itself goes for $3.99, then it’s yours to keep and fill with as much cold brew as you like ($13.99 per fill). Or, if hot espresso’s more your bag, fill your growler with beer instead – a selection of local craft brews are available on tap! Fresh pastries arrive daily from Ceci Cela Patisserie, and Selena herself makes the light and crispy chocolate chip cookies ($1.25) and dense, fudgy (amazing!) baby chocolate brownies ($1.50). There’s room at their two bars if you want to sit for a while, and they also offer free wifi.

Tastings and live music events are frequent happenings too, so it’s worth keeping an eye on their website (below), or Twitter.

Refillable:
*64oz growlers – fill ‘em with iced coffee or beer
*Common Good laundry detergent, hand soap and dishwashing liquid
*Battenkill Valley Creamery milk (buy a glass bottle for $2.50 and trade it when you’re out)

Location: 156 Mott St (Broome and Grand)
Hours: Mon-Thurs 8am-9.30pm; Fri 8am-10pm; Sat 8.30-10pm; Sun 8.30-9.30pm
Subway: B, D to Grand; 4, 6 to Spring or Canal; N, Q to Canal; J to Bowery; J, Z to Canal
Website: www.nolitamart.com

Close to: Chinatown, Little Italy, Built by Wendy, Sohotel, La Esquina.

Sweetleaf (Long Island City)

This LIC gem is located right off the Queens end of the Pulaski Bridge, no more than a 10-minute walk from MoMA PS1. Serving some of the finest single origin espresso around, I’d make this spot my go-to even if they weren’t the only decent coffee shop in the area! They also have a pour over bar, and a great selection of counterfood that includes a tasty range of gluten free and vegan options. I tried a veggie lasagne and strawberry black pepper scone that were both delicious! The shop itself is a great space – they expanded last year so it now spills into two rooms, and the floor to ceiling windows along the front wall make it easy to stare out at the world while you ease into the day, always a bonus to me!

Location: 10-93 Jackson Ave (48th and 49th Aves)
Hours: Mon-Fri 7am-8pm; Sat 8am-8pm; Sun 9am-6pm
Subway: G to 21st St; 7, 7X to Vernon Blvd-Jackson Av
Website: www.sweetleaflic.com

Close to: MoMA PS1, Magasin Wells diner, Gantry Plaza State Park (and the Pepsi sign!), Pulaski Bridge.

Bakeri (Williamsburg)

Walk into Bakeri and you might find your inner self does a little jump and kicks its heels together. Not only do the baristas here nail the coffee, the quaint (in the very best way) décor and cabinet overflowing with incredible looking treats, from brownies to fritatta and cookies the size of your face, will mean there’s little chance of you walking away unsatisfied – unless you ate before you came, in which case your inner self will be kicking itself. The space is small, but roll in on the early side and you’ll find it’s a great place to relax with the drop of your choice and a fresh baked brioche. Pick up a loaf of bread or baguette – all baked in house – on your way out and you’ll feel like you’re in New York and Paris (and New Zealand!) all at once. There’s a selection of made to order salads and sandwiches available too.

Location: 150 Wythe Ave (N7th and N8th)
Hours: 8am-7pm daily
Subway: L to Bedford
Website: www.bakeribrooklyn.com

Close to: East River Park (home to the Brooklyn Flea/Smorgasburg on weekends), In God We Trust, Artists & Fleas market, D.O.C. wine bar, Nita Nita.

gimme! coffee (Williamsburg / Nolita)

soy cappuccinoOn sunny days spent mooching around Nolita, gimme! coffee’s hole in the wall on Mott St is exactly where you wanna stop for a drop on the go. Or take a seat on the bench outside and revel in the sunshine now it’s finally (sort of) arrived! The original café in Williamsburg, a block or two down from Second Stop Café on Lorimer, has room to sit, and – though it’s a little lacking in atmos – can also be relied on for great coffee, all of the time. Perfect when you need a fix and don’t want to mess around. Gimme! roast their own beans too (on a small farm just out of Ithaca), so if you’re in the market, now you know where to go for gold. Plus, they’re all about supporting sustainable farming practices, which makes me even happier to tell you how happy a coffee from gimme! will make you.

New! ROEBLING ST, WILLIAMSBURG

Location: 107 Roebling St (N5th and N6th)
Hours: 7am-7.30pm daily
Subway: L to Bedford; J, M, Z to Marcy
Close to: Roebling Tea Rooms, Oslo Coffee Roasters, Cupcakeland, Momofuku Milk Bar outpost, Saltie.

LORIMER ST, WILLIAMSBURG

Location: 495 Lorimer St (Powers and Grand)
Hours: 7am-7pm daily
Subway: L to Lorimer; G to Metropolitan
Close to: Baba, Second Stop Café, Barcade, Open Air Modern.

NOLITA
Location: 228 Mott St (Prince and Spring)
Hours: 7am-7pm daily
Subway: 6 to Spring St; B, D, F, M to Broadway-Lafayette; N, R to Prince; J to Bowery
Close to: Café Gitane, Café Habana, Torrisi Italian Specialties, McNally Jackson Books, New Museum.

Gimme! also have a few locations in upstate New York. For more info check out their Website.

Little Skips (Bushwick)

Little Skips is a great little café located in what is, I’ll be honest, a pretty random part of Bushwick. That’ll no doubt change in a couple of years, but for now this joint’s an anomaly. Surrounded by bodegas, a giant Family Dollar and a KFC, these guys provide the only other thing locals could possible desire – excellent coffee and a solid selection of sandwiches and salads. It’s a big space too, so no overcrowding or fighting for elbowroom. Other reasons to really, really like this spot are: every month they come up with a new meal, call it ‘the Humanitarian’, and donation a portion of the proceeds to a different cause. Also, they do a coffee called ‘the Bomb latte’ that’s one part sweetened condensed milk, topped with a double shot of espresso and covered with silky, steamed milk. All that awesomeness, and I haven’t even mentioned the weekly chess club that happens Wednesdays from 5-8pm.

Location: 941 Willoughby Ave (at Myrtle and Bushwick)
Hours: Mon-Fri 8am-8pm; Sat-Sun 9am-8pm
Subway: J, M, Z to Myrtle Ave; M to Central Ave
Website: www.littleskips.com

Close to: Family Dollar, KFC, Bushwick Bike Shop.

Third Rail Coffee (West Village)

Another heavyweight in the New York coffee scene, 3rd Rail have been serving up the good stuff for a couple of years now. The tininess of their hole in the wall spot on Sullivan is disproportionate the size of their glowing reputation – but it’s a great place to chill if you can get a seat, especially on a sunny day. Close to West 4th and Washington Square Park it’s also a great go-to if you’re mooching around Soho or the West Village. Cortados and macchiatos are my beverage of choice here (I love the little cups!), and they always have some tasty snacks on offer.

Location: 240 Sullivan St (Bleecker and W3rd)
Hours: Mon-Fri 7am-8pm; Sat-Sun 8am-8pm
Subway: A, C, E, F, M, B, D to W4th; 1, 2 to Houston St or Christopher Sheridan Square
Website: www.thirdrailcoffee.com

Close to: Washington Square Park, Film Forum, ‘Snice, Pepe Rosso, Blue Note Jazz Club.

Café El Beit (Williamsburg)

Café El Beit have been in their spot on Bedford Ave for around three years now, and still hold strong as one of the best coffee shops in the area, despite places like Blue Bottle, Bakeri and Colette opening close by. They have a small but tasty food menu, and there’s always a counterful of baked items on offer. The bar in the window is good for people watching – and there’s a backyard too, which is going to be RAD now old man winter appears to have finally hung up his boots! This is a great go-to if you’re on your way to/from the L train at N7th or McCarren Park. Also, the owners have recently opened a larger space on N3rd called Modca which also does fantastic espresso and has a more extensive food menu (including hummus served with woodfired bread, yum!). I’ll be writing that up properly in the next couple of weeks, but in the meantime you should check both these places out!

Location: 158 Bedford Ave (N8th and N9th)
Hours: 7am-10pm daily
Subway: L to Bedford; G to Nassau
Website: None, but they’re on Facebook.

Close to: Bedford L, McCarren Park, Ella Café, Radish, Buffalo Exchange.