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
Website: www.ostcafenyc.com

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.

Website: www.oslocoffee.com

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
Website: www.parkermeridien.com

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
Website: www.milkbarbrooklyn.com

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

Café Colette (Williamsburg)

Oh yes, this is a goodie! Had brunch at Colette last weekend with friends, and everything – from my Stumptown cappuccino to their cortados, to my poached eggs on harissa toast with spinach and chickpea puree, to their crepes and fish tacos – was completely delicious. We did have to wait for a table, but were able to order coffees from the to go window (the friendly barista was more than happy to transfer the tab to our table), which we drank in the sun until said table was ready. As a New Zealander I’m always excited to find a spot that does great poached eggs, and Colette tick that box for sure. The coffee and food are awesome (a rare but highly rated combination in my book!), the portions aren’t oversized (a compliment!) and I really liked the décor of the restaurant itself. Can’t wait to get back here for dinner and partake in some of their delicious sounding cocktails too.

Location: 79 Berry St (at N9th)
Hours: Mon-Sun 7.30am-12am
Subway: L to Bedford; G to Nassau
Website: www.cafe-colette.com

Close to: East River Park, Beacon’s Closet, Brooklyn Bowl, Bakeri, McCarren Park.