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Looking for good coffee and a place to write in Soho and near Penn Station

k
Kewpie27 Jul 23, 2013 04:14 PM

I'm headed to NYC at end of October. Looking for good coffee and a place to write. I'm staying at the Mondrian Soho and the New Yorker. Also, is Clinton St baking worth going to LES for? Thanks!

  1. s
    sugartoof Jul 25, 2013 11:36 AM

    Second the suggestion of Saturday's. It's right by your hotel. To be clear though, you shouldn't be given the impression it's a traditional cafe; it's a surfing boutique with coffee bar set up, and a back garden.

    Ground Support and Third Rail are what you're looking for. Neither are very comfortable when crowded with students and freelancers.

    Fair Folks Cafe has a communal table that seems to draw people working remotely. There's some kind of membership situation here, but I'm not sure that's required.

    The Soho/Tribeca location of La Colombe is nice, and you can sit a while. Kaffe 1668 is in Tribeca, and might be farther than you want to go, otherwise it's a good one.

    If you can relax the "good coffee" criteria a little, the Think Coffee locations cater towards people like yourself.

    Housing Works is also close to your hotel, and while they have some okay coffee themselves, you can also bring in a cup from somewhere else nearby, like Gasoline Alley. I would do this before going to Alphabet City, or somewhere else a few neighborhoods away.

    Near Penn, there's also Birch Coffee, which has a library nook level, and caters to a lot of students, as an alternative to the Ace lobby.

    1. b
      bjorku Jul 25, 2013 10:39 AM

      There is a Gregory's Coffee on 6th Ave and 31st - that's a block away from Penn Station. Seating is hit or miss, but they will let you hang out all day.

      1. loratliff Jul 24, 2013 05:39 AM

        If you just want a coffee and pen-and-paper writing session, you can't beat the back garden at Saturday's Surf on Crosby St. Not somewhere you can or should take your computer, but well worth a visit.

        1. n
          nyc_to_ma Jul 24, 2013 05:08 AM

          I always liked V Bar on Sullivan Street. It has a coffee shop vibe during the day, and is more of a wine bar at night. It's technically in the Village, but very close to SoHo.

          I also like 'sNice on the SoHo side of Sullivan Street.

          Lastly, when I was in grad school, I sometimes liked to go to bars during the day to write. On a weekday, it's likely quieter than a coffee shop. Not exactly what you asked for, but it's sometimes nice to have a glass of wine while writing, too.

          1. Peter Cuce Jul 23, 2013 09:08 PM

            There isn't much good coffee at all near Penn Station, much less combining it with a good place to write. By the end of October, the new branch of Cafe Grumpy on W 39th St should be open, so that's a possible option. The coffee is bound to be good but not sure what the decor will be like.

            Ground Support has pretty good coffee but is kind of a madhouse. But there's hardly another place in Soho that combines the possibility of writing with the possibility of good coffee.

            A favorite spot to write, with variable quality coffee, is Ost Cafe on Ave A & E 12th St. A place nearby with far better coffee and pretty decor (although nowhere near the old school charm of the former) is the new branch of Third Rail Coffee on E 10th St & 2nd Ave.

            There are many other places as well. Here are some in Manhattan besides the aforementioned that meet your criteria:
            - Culture Espresso
            - Cafe Grumpy 20th St branch
            - Joe the Art of Coffee 13th St branch
            - Rex
            - Gasoline Alley
            - Ninth Street Espresso Ave C branch

            There are more - this is off the top of my head.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Peter Cuce
              k
              Kewpie27 Jul 23, 2013 10:23 PM

              Awesome! Thanks, Peter.

            2. k
              kathryn Jul 23, 2013 04:47 PM

              Manhattan coffee shops tend to be small and many of them now discourage lingering and don't have available outlets or wifi. I am not sure if wifi is a requirement and if you're writing on a laptop or not.

              In Soho, try Ground Support, there are lots of people working/using laptops there most of the time.

              Near Penn Station, try the lobby of the Ace Hotel. Lots of people doing work in there, most of the time. If that's full, the food stalls at the Eventi Hotel usually have some open seating, but the atmosphere is not as cool and cozy.

              Yes, Clinton St Baking Co is worth going to the LES for; however, if you are going on a weekend, count on a long line. People routinely wait 2+ hours. If you are a party of 1, they may be able to seat you more quickly at a tiny counter seat. Order the pancakes with maple butter, or the breakfast sandwich with tomato jam.

              Previously:
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/862456

              2 Replies
              1. re: kathryn
                k
                Kewpie27 Jul 23, 2013 05:02 PM

                Thanks! I appreciate your advice. Wi-fi not needed. If there's a great place out of those areas, I wouldn't mind hopping on the train, as well.

                1. re: Kewpie27
                  t
                  Ttrockwood Jul 24, 2013 06:40 PM

                  +1 to ace hotel lobby rec, it has a stumptown coffee attached, lots of room and even clean well kept restrooms (!)

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