FROM THE DESK OF: Deo
I love Starbucks coffee, but I could never stay there. Stay as in, read a book or do some work or even talk to people. Something about Starbucks makes me want to take my coffee to go. Sure they try and welcome me by writing my name on their cup, but they’re not fooling me. They’re not fooling anyone. It’s still too impersonal, too rushed. When the barista wants you to leave as soon as possible and so do the customers waiting in line (so they can get their coffee faster), well then, the vibe becomes that you’ll want to leave as soon as possible. I would not want to stay where I’m not actually wanted. Plus, there are never any goddamn tables available anyway.
One of the things I miss most about being in grad school was spending time in independent coffee shops in New York. Losing track of time with the activity, book, or project that you’re working while drinking cup of coffee is like was all you need to feel like you’ve had a productive day. It took me a while to find my favorites. I went and explored a lot of them. Many had great coffees, but there were only three that I loved to actually stay inside and get lost in my head for hours.
From the outside, it does not look like anything special: just a door and a brick wall and a sign that says “coffee”. Inside, however, is a completely different atmosphere. It’s like you’ve walked into a jungle. The first thing I noticed were plants hanging everywhere. There are a variety of large indoor plants in every corner, yellow walls, hanging lights, and a bookcase filled with vintage novels. The ceiling is open to let in all the natural light adding to the feeling that you’re in a rainforest. Speaking of rainforest, their coffees and teas are rainforest alliance certified. As an aside, I want my bedroom to be this lush.
Its not lush and filled with plants like Grounded, but it is quaint. It feels like you’re in someone’s really old house. There are a lot of little tables and chairs and they’re coffee is fantastic. On more than one occasion I couldn’t find a seat here, but when I do, it’s usually a good place to kill time. It’s also a great place to meet people and talk. But really, the best part is that they serve alcohol. I’m a big fan of coffee shops that serve alcohol, because it gives a feeling that you’re there to be work on things, but really you’re just there to get drunk.
Another coffee shop with an unassuming exterior. Located in Brooklyn Heights, you wouldn’t even know it’s a coffee shop from the outside. Only a sign that says vineapple and gray walls line the exterior. I feel like it’s these kinds of places that surprise you. Inside a coffee shop that also serves wine. It’s long and narrow shop, but in the back are multiple couches, chairs, book shelves, and two white wooden tables to sit and do work in. There are also plenty of windows to let the light in. It feels like Central Perk a little bit, and maybe that was the vibe they were trying to get. I once sat next to an 80 year old woman here and she turned to me and started talking. She told me she was killing time before a date with her grandson. (they were going to walk the promenade). She told me stories about growing up in New York. It’s only places like this that these things happen.
These three coffee shops are my favorites partly because their location is convenient for me. There are actually plenty of great, even better ones, all over the New York City.