If I had to give July 2019 a definitive title, it would be the month of the coffee shop and the post-Eurotrip hangover. Physically, coffee shops. Mentally, that sad time after an amazing trip when you wish you had another on the horizon. For me, coffee shop exploration has come to define my ten-year life in NYC, and serves a few different purposes for me. Not only does it allow me to explore different neighborhoods and areas, but I get to try the best coffee the city has to offer (I love coffee), experience incredible ambiance for a small amount of money, and seek out quiet places to read, catch up on email, or just people watch when I need a break in my day. Also, as an entrepreneur as of last year, figuring out which coffee shops have workable WiFi versus which coffee shops are best for bringing my library book has become a personal mission of mine. That said, you can follow along on Instagram at #caros_drinks (for the coffee) and #caros_city (for the ambiance) to get a sense of exactly what coffee shops are on my radar at any given moment. Read on for all of the fully-caffeinated details!
Smith Canteen – Not only is this sunny coffee shop located in idyllic Carroll Gardens, but it has a sustainability bent that I find to be positively irresistible. They also have a pretty delicious array of baked goods that come out of the oven every morning, are made with well-sourced ingredients, and are delightfully seasonal.
Hardwater Coffee – A newcomer on the Williamsburg scene, Hardwater has one, rather large, distinguishing factor: the back patio. It’s massive by NYC standards, has both shade and sun, and it absolute perfection for working or reading on a not-90 degree day.
Sey Coffee – Sey it isn’t so! All jokes aside, this beautifully minimalist and plant-bedecked Bushwick coffee shop is simply a place you want to spend time in. You’ll also want to bring at least a pound of their coffee home with you.
Cafe Leon Dore – For those looking for a coffee shop option in Manhattan (I drink coffee in Brooklyn quite a lot, I realize), look no further than Cafe Leon Dore, which is attached to the Aime Leon Dore shop in NoLiTa. The piece de resistance here is their freddo cappuccino, which has decadently whipped milk on top that feels like a delicious frozen treat.
Upside Pizza – You seriously thought a month would go by when I didn’t try a new pizza spot? You crazy. I tried two this past month. Upside is up first – it’s been getting a lot of press lately as the best new slice spot in NYC. And while it was certainly good, it didn’t knock my socks off, and I wouldn’t recommend going out of your way for.
Una Pizza Napoletana – This pizza spot on the other hand, is definitely worth going out of your way for. A SF transplant, Una is serving up sourdough crust neapolitan-style pizzas from their wood-burning oven that are about as classic as they get. Don’t miss the apps here (from the same peeps who do them at Wildair), and don’t miss the gelato either – it’s some of the best I’ve ever had, and is on par with Lilia and Misi.
Extra Fancy – In need of a Williamsburg watering hole that does not, in fact, feel extra fancy? You’ve come to the right place. It’s outdoors, has picnic-style benches and a big old bar, and has a great selection of wines and beers that won’t break the bank for happy hour. Great for groups, too!
Koku – If you’re vegan, or happen to have a thing for dairy-free ice cream, this is the section for you. Connected to the ever-rotating and ever-popular Chef’s Club Counter space in SoHo, Koku is serving up coconut ice cream with a variety of seasonal flavors and healthy toppings (think cacoa nibs, not oreo crumbles) for when your sweet tooth needs serving but you’re not quite ready to spring for the Carvel.
Hummus Kitchen – Simple, cozy, and delicious, this is an upper east side mainstay that feels like a local haunt. You’ll want a selection of the mezze (especially the roasted cauliflower and beets with walnuts), and extra carrots and cukes to dip in their mouth watering hummus.