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TOLNYA 2014, categories, Coffee shops

Time Out Love New York Awards 2014: the top local coffee shops in New York

You voted in your thousands—here are the top neighborhood coffee shops as chosen by you

By Time Out contributors, edited by Vivienne van Vliet
As thorough as our critics are, nobody knows the city’s coffee shops like Time Out readers.

We launched the Love New York Awards to find out more about the local businesses that make your part of the city awesome. The nominations came so thick and fast they were almost overwhelming, with everything from artisan roasteries to hole-in-the-wall caffeine shacks nominated for a shot at glory.

Now, after an intense voting period in which more than 10,000 of you had your all-important say, it’s our great pleasure to reveal the independent coffee shops you guys love above all others. There were a few close calls (and a few freakin’ landslides), but through it all one thing was absolutely clear: New Yorkers are truly passionate about their neighborhoods.

All of which just leaves us to say congratulations to all of this year’s winners and runners-up, and bon appetit to everyone who voted. Now get out there and show your local businesses some love.

Top local coffee shops


Restaurants Bakeries Red Hook

At this snug bakery and café in Red Hook, kids can load up on homestyle American sweets like fruit pies, brownies, cupcakes and red velvet cake. The traditional apple pie is the best we've ever had (sorry, Mom).

Blue Bottle Coffee, coffeeshops
Photograph: Michael Kirby Smith

Blue Bottle Coffee

Restaurants Coffee shops Williamsburg

Before this Williamsburg coffee bar and roastery came along, the only place in New York where you could find San Francisco’s famed Blue Bottle Coffee was at Gramercy Tavern. Now caffeine fanatics can sample the company’s shots of espresso and cups of joe—made to order from freshly roasted, mostly organic beans—without dropping a wad of cash on a dinner. Iced-coffee fans in particular should take note: Five contraptions from Japan will slowly cold-drip Kyoto-style brew, while those who like to add milk should consider the stronger New Orleans-style preparation, fortified with chicory.

Brooklyn Roasting Company
Photograph: Courtesy Sam Gannon

Brooklyn Roasting Company

Restaurants Coffee shops Clinton Hill

The Dumbo coffee company expands with a second Kings County location, taking over the JJ's Navy Yard Cocktail Lounge space. Outfitted with a pair of Loring Kestrel Smart Roasters, the airy café showcases four rotating espresso varieties (like Iris and BQE), as well as hot and iced coffee roasted from Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance beans. For snacks, find croissants and sandwiches from Williamsburg's Margo Patisserie and doughnuts from Dough. The shop honors its nautical predecessor, JJ's, with ship-in-a-bottle models docked at the marble-topped bar, and artifacts from the old dive, including light fixtures and columns reclaimed from strippers' dressing rooms.

Brunswick Cafe

Restaurants Coffee shops Bedford-Stuyvesant

Aside from the scent of good coffee wafting throughout the space, the first thing you’ll notice about this Australian café from Melbourne native Alex Hall (Milk Bar, Bluebird) is the angles. (Not surprisingly, Hall is an architect’s son.) The capacious space, all exposed brick and natural light, rivals a design store with its bold triangular pegboards, shelves of spiky potted succulents and eye-catching lamps shaped like origami paper mouths. Counter Culture coffees are poured as cortados, flat whites and macchiatos with surgical precision, but while java’s the focus, the food is no afterthought. For a standout “brekkie” to go with your brew, opt for avocado toast with whipped feta, eggs Benedict with “almondaise” and house-made coconut Anzac biscuits.

Café Grumpy
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Café Grumpy

Restaurants Coffee shops Chelsea

This direct-trade roastery and café sources beans from Costa Rica, Guatemala and El Salvador, then grinds and brews them one cup at a time. During warmer months, snag a seat in the brick-walled backyard garden.

Cafe Pedlar, coffeeshops
Photograph: Jolie Ruben

Cafe Pedlar

Restaurants Coffee shops Cobble Hill

The two Franks behind Frankies 457 Spuntino are on a roll: Soon after opening the doors to the bar section of their restaurant Prime Meats, they unveiled this café—a partnership with Stumptown Coffee—serving espresso drinks and homemade German and Austrian desserts, including a linzer torte from a family recipe.


Caffe Café

Restaurants Cafés Bay Ridge

At this corner café, find a trio of daily brews (Colombian, hazelnut, French vanilla) on the menu alongside creations like the Chocolate Monkey—a coffee blended with chocolate and banana syrups, and served hot or iced—and sweets like cheesecake and gelato.

El Rey Luncheonette
Photocredit: Paul Wagtouicz

El Rey Luncheonette

Restaurants American creative Lower East Side

Nicholas Morgenstern (Goat Town, the General Greene) serves dishes inspired by the California coast at this Lower East Side eatery, having transformed the former El Rey café-bar into a modern lunch counter. In the 15-seat space—featuring communal tables, globe lambs and a multiwood bar—find Vietnamese iced coffee on tap and pastries like plum-and-ginger Danishes and parsnip-and-cajeta toast for breakfast. Dinner dishes include duck-confit hand pies, winter falafel with minted cauliflower, and cashew grits with braised pork. For beverages, aguas frescas (like cucumber limeade with juniper seltzer) are made in-house, and beers such as Westbrook White Thai witbier and Evil Twin's Ryan and the Beaster Bunny saison are on draft.

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