Best hybrid coffeeshops
Find more than just a caffeine buzz at these multiuse hangs.
Tue Dec 7 2010
Photograph: Alex Strada
Opened in 1996, this bohemian coffeehouse is as much about the food as the caffeine. Stroller-pushing moms jam these places at brunch, creative types fuel up with strong house-blend coffee (roasted upstate specifically for Grey Dog; $1.75--$2), and NYU students trade notes over beer and bottles of wine (both are half-price on Fri and Sat at the Carmine and Chelsea locations). The Dog is a great card to play when you need a casual meal; find everything from the simple (PB&Js) to the unexpected (solid nachos), and don't forget to grab a gratis doggie treat for your four-legged friend. 90 University Pl between 11th and 12th Sts (212-414-4739) * 33 Carmine St between Bedford and Bleecker Sts (212-462-0041) * 242 W 16th St between Seventh and Eighth Aves (212-229-2345) * thegreydog.com.
This democratic bar matches its classic cocktail program with innovative "slow-coffee" service, available daily until 5pm. In addition to preparing pour-overs and press pots with nerdworthy beans (including Counter Culture and Intelligentsia; $4), baristas bring a mixologist's touch to a number of "augmented" brews ($7), such as the balanced mochalike Summer Road featuring your choice of coffee mixed with malted-milk powder and Oaxacan chocolate. The transition from caffeination to inebriation is assisted by trendy coffee cocktails (served from 11am) like the World's Best Dad (Laird's apple brandy, coffee, sweet vermouth; $13). 349 Broome St between Bowery and Elizabeth St (212-274-0667, randolphnyc.com)
Part caf-restaurant, part urban general store, the Smile is as good a choice for dinner or gift shopping as it is for wasting an afternoon with the newspaper and a cup of joe. Filament bulbs and worn-wood ceilings lend warmth to the rustic interior, which is lined with shelves holding a curious assortment of cool-kid supplies (Field Notes, Wool and the Gang knit-your-own-hat packs) and high-end miscellany (C.O. Bigelow shaving kits, Mariage Frres tea sets), plus rare magazines and artwork. A sleek Faema espresso machine churns out the goods, including an eye-opening mezzo ($3), a half-and-half blend of espresso and steamed milk that's less foamy than a cappuccino. Order from the counter or snag a seat in the back for a sit-down meal. 26 Bond St at Lafayette St (646-329-5836, thesmilenyc.com)
This unlikely surf shop, tucked away on a sleepy Soho street, is more than a place to get your board waxed. A minimalist coffee bar at the front turns out excellent La Colombe Torrefaction lattes ($4), minus the morning lines found at the Philadelphia roaster's own caf a few blocks away. Grab one to go, peruse the boutique's collection of technical gear and surfer-chic casual wear (Lightning Bolt board shorts, Spring Court sneakers), or head to the handsomely appointed back patio—soon to be heated—to chop it up with other city-slicking wave crashers. 31 Crosby St between Broome and Grand Sts (212-966-7875, saturdaysnyc.com)
Sneakerheads know a thing or two about caffeine intake—they need fuel for camping out in front of stores all night to get their hands on limited-edition kicks. Feed your addiction to both coffee and sneaks in one place at this geeked-out Fort Greene brew shop, recently tacked on to the adjacent Pedigree Sneaker Gallery. The setup recalls a mad scientist's lab, with beakerlike siphons, Coava Kone filters and other esoteric tools ready to be deployed on a rotating selection of single-origin beans from Coffee Labs Roaster ($3--$5.50). Manager Bridey Recker recommends the smooth, citrusy Honduran Finca Liquidambar beans, purchased directly from the farm where they're grown. Hopefully you're not in a rush—everything here is brewed to order, but you can always peruse the selection of shoes next door while you wait. 47 Willoughby Ave between Adelphi and Clermont Aves, Fort Greene, Brooklyn (twitter.com/wtfcoffeelab)