BTR's Can't Miss Coffee Spots

By The Editorial Staff

In the spirit of FOMO Week, the BTR Editorial team discusses our favorite spots to grab a cup of joe both in and out of New York. From Manhattan to Brooklyn and Massachusetts to Germany, we’ve included the places we love most. For those who love cafes, but don’t drink coffee, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.

Molly Freeman’s First Pick: Variety Coffee – Brooklyn, NY

Photo by Molly Freeman.

There has been an influx of independent coffee shops in Brooklyn–in Greenpoint and Williamsburg especially–and they have even infiltrated the Bushwick neighborhood. Variety Coffee has three locations in each of these locations, but I’ve only been to this Bushwick spot.

The coffee at Variety is delicious, the staff is friendly, but it’s the space of this coffee shop that sets it apart. The inside has hardwood floors, plenty of room, and small tables spread throughout. Variety also has a small outdoor seating area that’s secluded from the busy Wyckoff Avenue.

I was a bit intimidated by the hipster vibe of Variety, but I’m glad I got over it because the coffee and the cool space were certainly worth going inside. Plus, their prices are relatively cheap for an independent coffee shop.

Molly’s Second Pick: The Bean – Manhattan, NY

Photo by Molly Freeman.

The Bean came recommended to me by a friend of friend and when I was in Union Square for the Farmer’s Market I stopped by this coffee spot. The Bean touts itself as a neighborhood coffee shop and, despite its location near the busy Union Square, it certainly feels that way. However, The Bean also has two other locations in Manhattan and one in Brooklyn.

In addition to their large array of hot and iced coffee (in a variety of flavors no less!), The Bean offers pastries and other food. Although I don’t frequent The Bean as often as I would like, it’s certainly worth the trip. Seriously, if I could drink their iced hazelnut coffee for the rest of my life, I would die a happy coffee-lover.

Tanya Silverman’s First Pick: Pee Pee’s Katzencafe – Berlin, Germany

Photo by Tanya Silverman.

Katzencafe, as you may guess, means “cat cafe” in German. Pee Pee’s was a spot I absolutely had to drag my travel cohorts to when I vacationed in Berlin a few weeks back. The cafe is very cute and cozy, furnished with plush couches and decorated with a fine array of hanging cat-themed ornaments or mounted watercolors. I ordered a black coffee, which was presented on a pretty little cup and saucer, but a small selection of European beers and cakes is also on offer. The staff felines were two brown tabbies donning colorful scarves, which read “Pee Pee.”

Tanya’s Second Pick: Gotham Cafe – Manhattan, NY

Photo by Tanya Silverman.

I take a Czech class on Wednesday nights on the Upper East Side, so Gotham Cafe is where I go to study the language before I attend lessons. Their coffee is pretty good; WiFi is free. The kitchen there also concocts a variety of fresh grain or veggie salads, daily soups, and numerous pastries–some of which are vegan. The interior is spacious and I never had a problem getting a table to myself. A lot of CUNY Hunter students go to Gotham Cafe to study. There’s also this one Wednesday-night regular, a man clad in a grey business suit, who always stops by to eat four hard-boiled eggs.

Samantha Spoto’s Pick: Telegraphe Cafe – Manhattan, NY

Photo by Dane Feldman.

As someone who has had trouble adjusting to the bitter taste of coffee and the jittery effects that linger long after drinking it, I have resorted to tea–especially chai–to quench my mid-morning thirst. My favorite place to grab a chai before work is the Telegraphe Cafe, an intimate and cozy cafe located in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood.

They offer three flavors of chai–spice, vanilla, and maple–which are all equally delicious. As the warmer weather approaches, I opt for the iced version of this drink to cool me down. The place appears to be run by a French couple, whose politeness and charm sets the tone for my day. In a city full of strangers, it’s nice to walk into an establishment where the owners care to build a relationship with their customers.

Dane Feldman’s First Pick: Amherst Coffee – Amherst, MA

Photo by Dane Feldman.

I can count on one hand the number of times I utilized the library on campus to study when I was an undergraduate student. Instead, I opted to study in my dorm (later, in my apartment) and in coffee shops. The town of Amherst boasts a number of great cafes and coffee shops in which to study, but my favorite of all was Amherst Coffee.

The cafe has indoor seating and outdoor seating; the latter was great for studying during spring finals. Aside from great ambience provided by good, soft music, as well as professors and students quietly working shoulder to shoulder, Amherst Coffee’s biggest draw is its bar, Whisk(e)y Bar. After a long day of working on a paper and sipping on Americanos, patrons can switch to wine or even indulge in a whisky tasting.

I’d like to think that if Emily Dickinson lived today, she might actually venture out of her Main Street home to write at Amherst Coffee’s bar with a glass of whisky by her side.

Dane’s Second Pick: Max Caffe – Manhattan, NY

Photo by Dane Feldman.

Max Caffe is one of the most popular spots around in the Teacher’s College neighborhood of Morningside Heights, Manhattan. I’ve actually reviewed their sister restaurant, Max Soha, which is also exceedingly popular.

Like Amherst Coffee, a big draw for Max Caffe is that it boasts an abundance of indoor and outdoor seating, as well as a bar that serves beer and wine. It’s also a fully functioning cafe that offers sandwiches, salads, soup, and even tapas.

Have breakfast, lunch, or dinner here, study here, take a nap on the couch here, or live here, you choose. Just kidding, don’t do the last two, but patrons can spend hours relaxing, working, or imbibing, just as you might in your very own home.