As New Yorkers, [we like to think that] we have high standards.
We realize that there are only so many minutes in the day and—between our day jobs, our side hustle(s), and summer social lives—we want to make sure we’re relishing these moments in locations that are nothing less than fabulous. Or at least, Insta-worthy.
This is usually where coffee shops fail to meet our standards. Starbucks—though a perfectly great guilty pleasure—may start to feel #basic. Many neighborhood coffee shops don’t have an atmosphere (or comfy chairs) where you’d want to spend an afternoon.
So, what now?
Don’t resign yourself to a life (okay, summer) of sub-par coffee experiences. Here’s three of my recent finds were you can sip a cup of joe, read, and / or spend time with the people in your life.
(Note: This is the Midtown East edition. More neighborhoods to come.)
(Photo credit: ralphlauren.com)
What: Ralph Lauren opened a coffee shop, and it’s everything you’ve imagined.
Why: With its whitewashed walls, stained wood floors, big windows, and antique bistro-style chairs, it evokes a feeling of comfort and warmth whether you’re staying for the afternoon or grabbing a quick cup to go.
Location: The Fifth Avenue gem is located in the brand’s Polo flagship store. Pass through menswear and make your way to the second floor.
Menu: Short but curated, and includes Ralph Lauren’s private coffee blends from USDA organic coffees, teas, and select pastries.
Hours: 10a – 8p, 7 days a week
(Photo credit: ground-central.com)
What: A day-to-night self-proclaimed “Midtown refuge” with tables up front and a lounge with couches and armchairs in the back.
Why: The backroom library lounge is a real win here—black leather couches and high-backed armchairs make it an ideal spot to come with a colleague, friend—or even a date. And, there’s a turntable playing classic tunes in the background (think everything from Bowie to old-school Mariah Carey).
Location: This particular review is for the 155 E 52nd St. location, but you can also get your fix at the other Midtown East location (800 2nd Ave.) or in FiDi (2 Coenties Slip).
Menu: Coffee, tea, wine, beer—and artisanal sandwiches or pastries if noms are needed.
Hours: M-F—6:30a-9p, Sat / Sun—9a-6p (155 E. 52nd St. location)
(Photo credit: bluestonelaneny.com)
What: The brunch café icon’s inaugural coffee shop—with all the charm, coziness, and Insta-potential that you’d expect.
Why: Because Bluestone Lane. This particular location is modeled after the classic espresso bars found hidden in Melbourne, Australia’s narrow laneways—complete with vintage signs and warm, wooden features.
Location: The Atrium of the Meredith building (805 3rd Ave.). Though the shop has a hole-in-the-wall feel, there’s plenty of seating in the Atrium to make it the perfect coffee & convo spot.
Menu: Niccolo Coffee (from Australia), fine teas, juices, and health-conscious / gluten-free food options. (YES, this includes their signature #avocadotoast!)
Hours: M-F—7a-5p, Sat / Sun—Closed