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.


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.


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.

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

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

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.

Ost (East Village)

So it’s been too long between posts, but I’m back with a bang – ’cause this little cortado is one of the finest in the city. Ost opened on the corner of East 12th St and Avenue A about six months after I moved into an apartment pretty much opposite. From then on I visited almost daily, squeezing my way in amongst the laptops (often with my own laptop, I’ll admit), for either an inky single origin espresso or a soy cortado. So good. All the staff are great, including the owners, and they’re clearly really passionate about their craft – without being wankers about it. Now also serving wine and antipasto platters at night, Ost is one of the greats! PS: try the poppyseed strudel thing, it’s delicious.

Location: E 12th St at Ave A
Hours: Mon-Fri 7.30am-10pm; Sat-Sun 8.30am-10pm
Subway: L to 1st Ave

Close to: Ciao for Now, Westville East, Ninth St Espresso, Tompkins Square Park.

Swallow Café (Bushwick)

cappuccino swallow bushwick nyHoused in the space the old Archive café – which closed abruptly last September – used to occupy, Swallow is a great addition to the rad little neighbourhood the area around the Morgan Ave L stop has evolved into. Literally a block from the L, it’s the perfect ‘on your way to the train’ spot, and – with beans by Intelligentsia and Brooklyn Roasting Co. – offers that rare combination of both convenience AND quality. It’s also a great spot to settle in for a while, given the size of the space, and I really like the industrial, loft-like aesthetic they’ve got going on. Bagels, pastries and cookies are the go if you’re hungry.

Location: 49 Bogart St (Moore and Grattan)
Hours: Mon-Fri 7am-10pm; Sat-Sun 8am-10pm
Subway: L to Morgan Ave

Close to: Roberta’s, Big Tree Bottles Wine & Spirits, Olive Valley, Kings County, Brooklyn’s Natural.

Oslo Coffee Roasters (Williamsburg)

Oslo have been roasting and serving great coffee since long before any of the big fish (Stumptown, Blue Bottle, Intelligentsia et al) came to town, which I think definitely deserves a high five! Considering the Roebling St flagship opened its doors way back in 2003, these guys really were many leaps ahead of the game. In 2007 another outpost was unveiled on Bedford Ave and it’s good to see both locations are still going strong! Choose from a variety of fair trade, take home beans (free coffee when you buy a bag!), or chill and enjoy a well executed cortado or cappuccino in-house. Muffins, pastries and bagels are as far as it goes on the food front. Curiously, I have also seen Oslo swimming caps for sale at the Roebling St store, so if you’ve got an extra $8 you were hoping to spend on a sandwich… GO FOR THE CAP INSTEAD.

Location: 133 B Roebling St (N4th and N5th)
Hours: Mon-Fri 7am-6pm; Sat-Sun 8am-6pm
Subway: J, M, Z to Marcy Ave; L to Bedford; G to Metropolitan
Close to: gimme! coffee, Roebling Tea Room, Saltie, Momofuku Milk Bar outpost, Cupcakeland.

Location: 328 Bedford Ave (Moore and Grattan)
Hours: Mon-Fri 7am-6pm; Sat-Sun 8am-6pm
Subway: L to Bedford; J M Z to Marcy Ave
Close to: Supercore, Rabbit Hole, Miomia, Pies-n-Thies.


Knave Espresso Bar (Midtown)

Midtown has long been a dry zone when it comes to good espresso but over the last couple of years a few spots have been opened that are changing all that. Located in the foyer of the Le Parker Meridien hotel, Knave is probably the best coffee you’ll find close to Central Park. Expensive for an already pricey indulgence ($6 for a cappuccino!), at least they give you a cookie and quality pour. Located right around the corner from 5th Ave and all its flagships, and the madness of Times Square, this is a good one to have up your sleeve. It’s also open late (hours below), and they have some food and a pretty decent bar. For a less pricey brew, stop in at Zibetto on 6th Ave at 56th St for a coffee and pain au chocolat at their standing room only bar.

Location: Le Parker Meridien hotel, 119 W 56th St (6th Ave and 7th Ave)
Hours: Tues-Sat 8am-1am; Sun-Mon 8am-midnight
Subway: F to 57th St; N, Q, R to 57th St/7th Ave; B, D, E to 7th Ave/53rd St

Close to: Central Park, MOMA, Columbus Circle, Rockerfeller Center, Times Square, 5th Ave boutiques.

Ground Support (Soho)

I’ve moved apartments a lot during my time in New York – the upside of which has been getting to know a bunch of neighbourhoods in that way you only really do when you live in them. I’ve also been really lucky in that, with every apartment, an awesome coffee shop has opened in the area just after or just before I moved in. In Soho, Ground Support was my oasis! These guys saw me every day, and if they weren’t right around the corner, keeping me well juiced on Intelligentsia, I don’t think living in the area would’ve been quite as nice. It can get a little crowded (because it’s awesome!), but I’ve never had a bad coffee here, and the sandwiches and snacks they have on offer make it a great place to take a break from the madness of Soho. If you’re after a flat white, ask for a small cappuccino or cortado and you’ll leave happy and satisfied. One of my favourite cafés in NYC, both because it made a great local and ‘cause the coffee’s fantastic.

Location: 399 West Broadway (at Spring)
Hours: Mon-Fri 7am-8pm; Sat-Sun 8am-8pm
Subway: A, C, E to Spring; N R to Prince; B, D, F, M to Broadway-Lafayette; 1, 2 to Canal; 4, 6 to Spring
Website: None, but they’re on Facebook.

Close to: Apple Store, Birdbath Bakery, Once Upon a Tart, Sunrise Mart.

Milk Bar (Prospect Heights)

I knew this Australian owned café do a flat white, but forgot and automatically ordered a cappuccino – only to be hit with a little moment of homesickness when it was delivered with chocolate powder sprinkled on top (a standard move in Australia and New Zealand I’d totally forgotten about!) Coffee is Counter Culture here, and it’s awesome. I’d recommend the Australian Iced Coffee to those who’ve never experienced the pleasure of a latte WITH ICE-CREAM. Foodies will be equally satisfied – the breakfast menu features herb seasoned mushrooms on multigrain (a big fat favourite of mine) for $6, a variety of toasties ($5 half serve / $8 full), incredible looking eggs and an array of delicious looking muffins, cookies and pastries (full menu and food porn here). Milk Bar also do lunch and dinner – including meat pies and sticky date pud! Everything from the food to the decor to the coffee remind me of a quintessential Sydney café. How happy I am to have found it, right bang in the middle of Prospect Heights!

Location: 620 Vanderbilt Ave (at Prospect Place)
Hours: Mon-Fri 7.30am-6pm; Sat-Sun 9am-6pm
Subway: B, Q to 7 Ave; 2, 3 to Grand Army Plaza; C to Clinton Washington

Close to: Prospect Park, Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, Glass Shop.