HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >

Discussion

Looking for a nice cafe to people watch

We are in town this week and are gonna be looking for a place to chill, drink some coffee and people watch. We are staying in times square, and also would like recomendations for some roof top bars where the drinks are not overly priced. Thanks.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. while I hate to recomend the Coffee Shop bar in Union Square, the outdoor seeting is great for people watching. However, been warned about the overprised (though decent) food and model-wanna-be waitstaff.

    3 Replies
    1. re: maxine

      Food aside, the Bryant Park Grill is excellent for people watching.

      1. re: maxine

        One of my favorite quick lunch places that is easy on the eyes. By the way the model servers are male and female! Eye candy for all. If you mean celebrity watching, another Hound will have to advise.

        1. re: maxine

          I highly recommend the Coffee Shop for people watching! Whenever I'm in NYC I try to stop by here for just this purpose. Last time we were there, my bf and I had a Sandra Berhart and Julianne Moore sighting. Not too bad...plus we saw a lot of Union Square charecters walking around.

        2. If people watch = celebrity watch then Pastis will be the place. Though I found their food to be quite unimpressive, many celebs seem to frequent that place...

          1. If you can score one of the outside benches at Joe on Waverly, that's a fun corner to watch Village folk go by, plus good coffee (although not quite as good as Jack's Stir Brew around the corner on 10th- but Jack's has limited seating). Otherwise take your coffee over to Washington or Union Squares to watch the passing throng... (good places for coffee near Union Square are the other Joe, on 13th btw 5th and University; Tisserie, Bway and 17th NW corner of the square; or even the Whole Foods cafe)

            Another place to just sit and chill and view is anywhere along 5th Ave between 59th and the Met- just get a drink and check out the scene.

            2 Replies
            1. re: pronek

              We have a Jack's downtown near the Seaport now. Unfortunately people watching s generally liimited to tourists Which may or may not be interesting. If they are filming a movie or Law and Order (which happens alot) it might be more appealing.

              1. re: pronek

                While I love Joe's coffee (I like it better than Jack), I don't think the corner is great for people watching, there just isn't enough trafic to make it worth while. But bringing the coffee to WSP is a good idea. And I have seen quite a few celebs inside, if that is what you want.

                The News Bar cafe on University has benched outside and lots of people walk by.

              2. Got another totally different idea . . what about Chelsea Market where Food Network studio is? There are a few small eateries (only indoors) and you might sight a celebrity chef . . . You could also do alittle shopping while you are there.

                1. I second all the Union Square recs, though you could also get takeout from anywhere around there and sit at one of the tables in the park. (Did that with Whole Foods today.)

                  Otherwise, try Shake Shack. Just make sure you have an hour or two because the line is LONG - all the better to observe your fellow shackers, I say.

                  1. I think the people watching inside Grey Dog's Coffee in the West Village is outstanding. Not only is it a cool, funky, rustic cafe with great coffee, there is a constant flow of interesting (and often beautiful) characters. It's not a situation where you're watching people on the street, but inside the cafe. It's on Carmine between Bedford and Bleecker.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: billyeats

                      I second this. And if you can score one of the tables in front in the open window, you can people-watch inside and out! Good coffee and they're very friendly. Plus they have beer...

                      1. re: billyeats

                        I love Grey Dog's, but I'm not sure about people watching there. Maybe it's better now that the NYU contingent has left, but on the weekend it's still baseball-hat/flip-flops heavy. Besides, on the weekend the rotation is so heavy that they kick you out as soon as you are done eating.

                        I'd recommend getting breakfast a petite dejeneur at Cafe Gitane or some other NoLiTa joint. They don't rush you and people watching is better.

                      2. If you can get an outdoor table, try La Goulue on Madison for the uptown people watching.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: MellieMac

                          Go downtown to 88 Orchard. Nice open space, lots of light, wifi, great great great iced coffee and plenty of people-watching opportunities.

                          1. re: kpangaro

                            Check out Morandi downtown. The place has some great outdoor seating, and the patrons themselves are great to watch. Yes, it's a full blown restaurant but you can easily grab a bottle of wine (or coffee!) during an off-peak dining hour: breakfast, lunch, or pre-5PM.
                            For more, check out: http://gooberett.wordpress.com/tag/ne...

                        2. Tarrallucci e Vino on the corner of 10th st and 1st Ave has great coffee, panini, pastries, and great people watching.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: famccollough

                            like an earlier poster mentioned, newsbar has a few benches outside and it is a primo people watching spot. you have plenty of people walking up to union square park and loads of nyu students walking down university. you might even have a chris noth or adam durwitz sighting.

                          2. Le figaro cafe on bleeker and mac dougal st.

                            Actually theres a whole strip of cafes on Mac Dougal street and around the west 4th area. Just roam around until you find one to your liking.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: DarthEater

                              i think extra virgin is situated nicely in the west village for this type of thing :) they have some outdoor seating. also columbus bakery on the uws fits this category..

                            2. One good option uptown is Nespresso, at Madison and 65th. Great coffee and good people watch. Sandwiches, salads and pastries are quite good too.