Tuesday, 16 February 2016

CITY GUIDE // Finding Good Coffee In NYC

Before I left Sydney to live in NYC last year, I anticipated that I'd be bidding farewell to good coffee until I returned home. As an avid flat white enthusiast, I wasn't all too thrilled about giving up my favorite part of my morning routine, but my past experience and the combined experience of all my traveling friends had taught me that once I got to the US, Starbucks was about as good as it was going to get. Five years ago, good coffee in New York City was little more than an urban myth, and a lot of Australians who haven't been back to the city recently still hold the view that you're better off getting your caffeine hit from a can of coke rather than risking having an 'American' coffee. The good news is, times have changed, and now more than ever there are growing numbers of Aussie businesses setting up shop right here in NYC. 

We've done the legwork for you and found the best coffee from across the city. Yes, most of the cafés on this list are Australian, simply because Aussie coffee is genuinely some of the best in the world, but we've also sourced some seriously good American café haunts that are well worth the visit.  So, here's The XY Venture guide to the best coffee in New York City. You can thank us later. 

Locations across Manhattan
Do not come to New York without visiting a Bluestone Lane. It's gotten to the point that I'm worried I'll be disappointed by the coffee at home in Sydney, because the coffee at Bluestone really is that good. There are now locations across the city, but I'd suggest either visiting their flagship Greenwich Avenue location or their beautiful church location on the Upper East Side for the full experience. The menu at each café varies, but one common favorite is the avocado smash. If you haven't had it before, get on it. Add a poached egg and a side of bacon. Alternatively go for the brekkie board, which features a mini avo-smash and a bowl of their house-made granola - a dish I lived on exclusively for about two weeks last summer because it's just so good. The baristas really pride themselves on their latte art, so order a flat white or a latte and let them show off their skills. 

Locations across Manhattan and Brooklyn 
Tip: Kill two birds with one stone and visit the Highline location for a quick break during your obligatory stroll up NYC's famed railroad park. 

Locations across Manhattan and Brooklyn  
Connected to the Strand Bookshop in the Flatiron District is a Toby's Estate espresso bar stocked with beautiful pastries. There are literally only four seats in this tiny café, so you're best to get your flat white and blueberry cornflake muffin to-go and head for the benches of Madison Square Park to relax in front of the iconic Flatiron building.  

164 Mott Street, Little Italy
An Aussie favorite, Two Hands always seems to be packed full, no matter what time I get there. The coffee will remind you of home and the Açai bowl will keep you fueled for a full day of NYC escapades. Tip: Allow time to wait for a table. 

Locations across Manhattan 
Known for: their iced coffee. Hit up Birch at Flatiron after you've stood in line at Shake Shack for two hours waiting for your Shack Burger and cheesy fries (because, life) in the middle of July when NYC is literally threatening to go up in flames.  

80 Spring Street, SoHo 
Tip: This one is definitely a sit-in experience. Take 30 minutes out of your shopping time in SoHo and sit back in Balthazar's Parisian belle-epoque brasserie and flick through a copy of the New York Times - there's something about this restaurant that instantly makes you feel like one of the jeunesse dorée. Suck up the $6.50 price tag and go for the latte in a bowl, and if you're peckish, you simply can't go past their croissant aux amandes - twice baked and crunchy on the outside, and soft with Balthazar's house made frangipan on the inside. The Balthazar croissants are a New York institution. Do it. 

219 Mulberry Street, SoHo 
Make like one of the cool kids and bring your crew to Ruby's for a long brunch. Favored by Australian models during fashion week for coffee and brunch hits, Ruby's has been serving Aussies in NYC a taste of home since 2003. Tip: get there when it opens at 9:00am or you'll find yourself waiting for a seat. Also, it's cash only. 

28 Jane Street, West Village
Looking for a real life Central Perk? Grounded, only a few blocks away from where the F.R.I.E.N.D.S gang lived on Grove Street, is a comfy coffeehouse where you can set up shop for the day with everything you'd ever need, including wifi. The tea and coffee menu is huge, so if you're after that 'American spiced pumpkin honey cinnamon latte' without sacrificing the actual quality of the coffee, this is your place. The bagels are also some of the best in the city. 

394 Broome Street, Lower East Side 
Ever growing in popularity, you might find it tough to get a seat at Happy Bones if you don't come at the right time. Inspired by New Zealand coffee culture, this minimalist Lower East Side haunt is known for its coffee and doughnuts and has become a blogger favorite.  

124 Ludlow Street, Lower East Side 
567 Johnson Avenue, Bushwick 
Perfect for takeaways if you're staying around the Lower East Side or visiting Aussie friends who live in Bushwick. There's limited seating, but the coffee is good enough to walk with. 

Have we left any of your favorites out? We'd love to hear about your top NYC local spots. 

M. x 


  1. Bluestone is so good!! Get the green eggs at the Greenwich store - so delicious. They use Balthazar bread as well - so good!!

    Kelli x x x

  2. Great food and great people with awesome styling and interior. Also great venues in Los Angeles for cheap happy hour drinks. However, the downstairs beer selection is about as standard as it can be while upstairs can be a bit more creative.


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