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Alternatives to Starbucks?

elgordo Jan 9, 2008 11:42 AM

I'm visiting Manhattan in a few weeks time and would like to try some really good coffee houses, preferably small independant stores as an alternative to the chains. Any suggestions?

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  1. JungMann RE: elgordo Jan 9, 2008 11:42 AM

    The MUD Truck makes great coffee. In my neighborhood, I'm a big fan of Arte Around the Corner.

    1. MMRuth RE: elgordo Jan 9, 2008 11:43 AM

      My favorite coffee is at Via Quadronno/Bottega del Vino (v. mini chain). I've tried Joe's and didn't like it, but many others do and that may just be a difference in taste. Grumpy's is another place that I've read about.

      Edit - Oops - thought your name and coffee sounded familiar - sorry for the repeat of the first recommendation. Some other suggestions here:


      2 Replies
      1. re: MMRuth
        elgordo RE: MMRuth Jan 9, 2008 11:45 AM

        Yes Bottega del Vino is excellent. This was recommended to me last year.
        Can I be a bit cheeky and ask for addresses?

        1. re: elgordo
          MMRuth RE: elgordo Jan 9, 2008 11:59 AM

          Yes - I recommended it! Not sure if any of those places are in the Chowhound Places database - but you could check here:


          Will check myself later for you! Joe's is on 13th Street, just east of 5th Avenue.

      2. m
        MichaelG RE: elgordo Jan 9, 2008 01:17 PM

        If you stroll Greenwich Village and Soho you'll run into plenty!

        1. sing me a bar RE: elgordo Jan 9, 2008 01:43 PM

          Oren's! Unless we patronize the smaller (usually better) places, this will be a world poulated only by Starbuck's & FreshDirect.

          1 Reply
          1. re: sing me a bar
            fsd1116 RE: sing me a bar Jan 9, 2008 06:01 PM

            I like Cafe Grumpy. 224 West 20th St, between 7th and 8th Aves. http://www.cafegrumpy.com/index.php

          2. scoopG RE: elgordo Jan 10, 2008 06:54 AM

            Sicaffe at 964 Lexington (between 70-71st)

            Has been mentioned on these boards several years ago and it is still brewing strong. Here's another source for you, although Sicaffe does not make their list:


            1 Reply
            1. re: scoopG
              Desidero RE: scoopG Jan 10, 2008 09:11 AM

              This is an interesting map. Has anyone been to Blue Spoon Coffee on Chambers? I'd be curious to hear feedback.

            2. c
              cidonie RE: elgordo Jan 10, 2008 07:57 AM

              I'm a big fan of Think Coffee: http://www.thinkcoffeenyc.com/

              1. s
                sam1 RE: elgordo Jan 10, 2008 07:58 AM

                its popular but i cant think of any latte better than joe's on waverly.

                the house coffee served at freemans is insanely good too.

                1. zbs RE: elgordo Jan 10, 2008 08:30 AM

                  The four that set the standard, in terms of espresso:

                  Cafe Grumpy — 20th Street between 7th and 8th Ave in Chelsea; and in Greenpoint
                  Ninth Street Espresso — in the Chelsea Market and on Ninth Street near Ave C
                  Joe — on Waverly near 6th Ave in the W Village; on 13th nr 6th Ave; and in the Alessi store (I'm told) on Prince at Greene
                  Gimme! Coffee — on Lorimer St in Williamsburg


                  Everyman Coffee — a former Ninth Street Espresso location at the Classic Stage Company, on 13th St nr 3rd Ave; this location no longer quite as good as it once was, but still a cut above
                  Via Quadronno — for an estimable Italian cup on the Upper East Side

                  Grumpy has exquisite if highly unusual "drip" coffee as well, made with a special machine that brews each cup individually. It tastes great, though likely not at all like what you have at the office every morning.

                  See also, http://edlevineeats.seriouseats.com/2...

                  1. egit RE: elgordo Jan 10, 2008 12:11 PM

                    I've had some really excellent coffee at Irving Mill ... 71 Irving Pl. Sometimes it's great. Sometimes, not so much. I haven't figured out if it's just one of their blends that I don't like. Overall though, a nice place.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: egit
                      thegreekone RE: egit Jan 10, 2008 01:54 PM

                      Once you go "Ninth Street", it's hard to go back. :)

                    2. m
                      MomoJewFro RE: elgordo Jan 10, 2008 03:23 PM

                      Yes, Ninth Street is clearly the coffee Mecca you can't not visit. I moved in across from it for a reason. But, over the last few days, I've been pulling some incredible shots from Roasting Plant beans, below Delancey on Orchard (Lower East Side) which has lead me to reexamine the place. Like I said Ninth Street (make it to the Ave C location if there is time!) is a definite, but do check out roasting plant, if not for the coffeeshop atmosphere, for the fun (the main roaster is in the window, the beans go to shoots around the store) and the beans (I'm not sure about the barista skills over there--never have had them make it for me).

                      1. GoddessofFood RE: elgordo Jan 11, 2008 08:38 AM

                        Le Petite Abeille on 17th street bet. 5th and 6th has foamy good cappuccinos. While you're at it, the Belgium waffles are plenty good as well.

                        1. i
                          ibidibid RE: elgordo Jan 17, 2008 08:04 PM

                          I've been enjoying the espresso/cappuccino at Grounded on Jane Street , off West 4th, in the W. Village lately, I'd recommend it over Joe's and 9th Street. Joe's makes capps that are too milky for my taste, and 9th Street's espresso can be quite bitter and harsh- depending on the beans they're using.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: ibidibid
                            elgordo RE: ibidibid Feb 12, 2008 05:35 AM

                            Thanks for all the recommendations. Just back from my Manhatten vacation and I managed to visit around 7 of them. My clear faves were Cafe Grumpy, Think Coffee, Blue Spoon and the Grey Dog.
                            They tried to make me go to Starbucks but I said "no no no"!

                          2. TheVerzhinTheory RE: elgordo Feb 12, 2008 05:39 AM

                            Think Coffee on Mercer between W 4th and 3rd. Great fair trade coffee, delicious soup and usually good music. Sometimes finding a seat takes a few minutes.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: TheVerzhinTheory
                              KTinNYC RE: TheVerzhinTheory Feb 12, 2008 07:03 AM

                              Think is opening another store on the corner of Bowery and Bleecker.

                            2. heathermb RE: elgordo Feb 20, 2008 01:00 PM

                              Coming from Boston next week and meeting a friend for coffee/tea on Friday afternoon...any good suggestions in Upper East? Anywhere between 43rd and 61st would be great. TIA!

                              1. a
                                alysonlaurel RE: elgordo Feb 20, 2008 04:23 PM

                                Balthazar makes great coffee, and they have some little treats to go with. The coffee is decently priced, but the treats get kind of expensive.

                                1. v
                                  vinegarhill RE: elgordo Feb 24, 2008 06:07 AM

                                  Porto Rico, on Bleecker just east of 6th Ave, is primarily a coffee store but you can also get cups of coffee to go in the back.

                                  1. fayehess RE: elgordo Feb 24, 2008 06:20 AM

                                    Walk west across 13th street starting at University in the Village, and you will come across loads of coffee houses. My absolute favorite is taza d'oro on 8th Avenue, right across from Balducci's. Ask for a cafe con leche. fayefood.com

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