By Ilana Kisilinsky
Coffee is my love.☕️❤️ I am not unlike every other person my age who finds they need coffee to function on a basic human level. I, and those like me, will take their coffee any way they can: hot, cold, blended, espresso, and from anywhere they can find it: Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, or even 7-11. Living in the heart of midtown these last couple of years has shown me that Starbucks isn’t the only place you can get good coffee. In fact, I would even say that there are plenty of places that I enjoy infinitely better coffee. I compiled a list my favorite tried and true coffee shops with great atmospheres, interesting drinks, and very hipster baristas. I hope that you go out and try a few of these places because the perfect cup of coffee is out there with your name on it.
Birch Coffee is by far the most hipster place on my list. Located throughout the city (3rd, Madison, Upper East Side) this coffee shop looks like a café straight out of an old movie. Each shop is filled with beautiful wood countertops and tables and there are shelves full of books for customers to peruse at their will. The baristas are friendly and helpful and they even have an old fashioned reward system with cards that get hole punched and everything (every ten drinks bought you get one free). Finally, one of the best things about this coffee shop–no wifi. If you ever want to meet a friend, go on a date, or just have some you time, this is the place to do it.
My coffee suggestion: Cold Brew ❄️
This place gives off the best vibes. Located on Madison and 30th , Blank Slate will make you feel at home in seconds. They have the most approachable and patient baristas I have ever encountered. They are so sweet and make you feel like they are genuinely glad you are there. They also sell Jars by Dani and DO in their refrigerators, both things that go very well with a hot cup of coffee. I must mention though, this is also a real café so it should be avoided during brunch hours on Sundays–unless you want to wait in a long line and not have a table. Other than that, this coffee shop is a slam dunk and by far my favorite.
My coffee suggestion: Latte ☕️
Café Grumpy 😐
While this shop serves an excellent cup of coffee, it does take after it’s name a bit. With an entrance into Grand Central Station on one side and an entrance on Lexington and 43rd on the other this is a coffee shop to pick up and go. With a lot of foot traffic, not much seating, and not the finest character baristas, I would stop in and take this coffee on a walk to Bryant Park. While it may not be the best café to stop and take a load off, it’s still cute and lovable with its big orange coffee machines and signature grumpy face icon.
My coffee suggestion: A Regular Cup O’ Joe
This is the perfect place if you want a classier upscale feel. Inside the lobby of the Ace Hotel on 29th and Broadway you will find excellent coffee that you can take right into the hotel lobby. The lobby is dimmed with a lot of cozy seating and a bar open all day. The lobby is an exquisite must see with the original mosaic floor and stained glass ceilings. I could stay there for hours and forget I’m in midtown. It’s a great place to meet up with friends and have a fun laid back Thursday or Saturday night. It’s also open until 4:00 AM for late night hang outs!
My coffee suggestion: Chai Tea Latte
Oslo Coffee Company
Oslo was one of the first cute coffee shops I found in the city. On E 75th it’s definitely not walking distance but it’s worth the trip. This place is the cutest with cushioned benches, flyers advertising and selling anything you can think of, and welcoming staff. You’ll find all kinds of people here: Upper East Side moms sitting outside with their strollers in their activewear chatting away, cute old couples reading the newspaper, students studying away. It’s a great place to go when you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of midtown and just blend in.
My coffee suggestion: Iced Coffee
Cha Cha Matcha
I recently visited this shop (27th and Broadway) with Editor in Chief, Rebecca Kerzner and Creative Director, Shira Feen, and man, was it a blast. When you walk in, you are immediately hit by all the millennial attractions: pink walls, amazing photo ops, tropical themed seating, and Instagram worthy drinks. Now I must say that I did try my first and last Matcha drink there, but for Matcha lovers it’s definitely the place to go. For people who tend to lean toward the bean, don’t worry because they sell regular coffee there too. It’s a super fun environment and a great Friday activity.
My coffee suggestion: Anything with Matcha 🍵
I have loved spending my time in the city visiting all of these different places and seeing so many types of people that exist in the coffee shop world. I hope you get the chance to do the same and really take advantage of the great city we live in.