If there’s one thing we talk about at Man Repeller more than clothes, shoes, rabid buffalos, what to order for lunch and various Instagram theories, it’s coffee: what shop has the best latte, what cafe has the best muffins, who has almond milk — the good kind, not the sketchy stuff. Can you blame us, though? Step into our morning work lair and you’ll find almost all of us smiling into the dark abyss of our paper cups, because happiness knows no joy like the first sip of hot coffee on a cold ass day.
Below are our favorite neighborhood spots. Sugar’s to your left, napkins are on your right, tip jar is at the bottom — but instead of cash, leave a comment (tell us your favorite spot!) and possibly a picture of your morning coffee cup.
Photographed by Krista Anna Lewis
Jack’s, 138 W 10th St., West Village (For other locations, click here). Order the cafe au lait or a Happy Jack (it’s a latte with honey and cinnamon). Stay for the homey, cozy space that’s full of regulars. If you can stand the cold outside, try, because Yvonne, MR content strategist and wearer of great sweaters, says the bench out front offers some of the best people watching the West Village has to offer.
Porto Rico Importing Co., 636 Grand St., Brooklyn (For other locations, click here). Order the flavored coffee of the day (Elizabeth’s favorite is the Double Nut Fudge). Stay for the history: the company has been around since 1907, and the price: less-than-$2 coffee — unheard of in this city. Become a regular and they’ll memorize your order, plus they have almond milk on tap. Bless.
Dweebs, 1434 DeKalb Ave., Brooklyn. Order the almond milk cappuccino, stay for the neighborhood coffee shop feel. Not only do they get all of their dairy milk from upstate New York, their coffee is roasted at Landskäpp in Red Hook, so this stuff is as fresh and handmade as you’ll find outside of a coffee farm. Krista — master spaghetti photographer — gives two bonus points for their affordable sandwiches and a third for their pastries by Dough.
Peddler, 300 Lafayette St. (corner of Houston and Lafayette St.), SoHo. Order a classic black coffee, leave because it’s not a coffee shop — it’s a one-man-run sidewalk stand. By all means, hang out though. It’s a great corner for an office break, and the java, roasted at Lofted Coffee in Brooklyn, is so good you don’t need milk.
Double Dutch Espresso, 2194 Frederick Douglass Blvd., Harlem. Order the almond milk cappuccino or the seasonal homemade pumpkin spice latte, stay for the outdoor space. Their pastries come from Balthazar, Colson Patisserie and Ovenly, and their beans are from Counter Culture. Buy a bag while you’re there — great to have at home on those weekend mornings when you can’t bear to leave the house. Pro tip straight from our director of social media, Sofia: if you’re more in the mood for booze than coffee, you can swing over next door to Mess Hall, their sister bar, for beer, bourbon and small bites.
Gasoline Alley, 325 Lafayette St., NoHo. Order the almond milk cappuccino, even though Leandra points out that $5 for coffee with nut milk is straight up robbery when you could make your own almond milk at home. As far she’s concerned — and she’s pretty sure this makes her an amateur at best when it comes to what makes a good cup of coffee — your coffee is only as good as the corresponding milk offering. “I’m way less inclined to order coffee from a shop that doesn’t serve almond milk and conversely will walk eight blocks out of my way if/when I find a spot that makes its own,” she says. Case in point: The Butcher’s Daughter, whose almond milk tastes like almond/date paste and therefore makes you feel like you’re drinking a Prozac smoothie, according to Leandrumrollplease. “However, when I’m late to the office and need to grab something quickly, it’s always Gasoline Alley. They serve Intelligentsia coffee and their almond milk is pretty sweet. (I mean that literally and also in the way that adjective is used colloquially).”
$1 coffee guy on the northeast corner of Broadway and Bleecker. Order a coffee with skim milk, come back for the quintessential old New York routine. This coffee cart serves bagels and breakfast sandwiches with zero frills. The line is short, the service is fast and once the owner gets to know you by name (which Cristina, MR director of $ales and $miles, guarantees he will) you’ll never have to remind him of your order again.
Bel Ami, 30 E. 68th St., Upper East Side. Order a black coffee with no room, come back because it’s one of the only drinks-to-go cafés on Madison for a 10-ish block radius according to our intern and compiler of rainbow photos, Lily. Their coffee is never bitter, always strong, and is served in a cup that matches the baristas’ outfits. Nothing like starting the day with a complementary color palette.
Sant Ambroeus, 265 Lafayette (For other locations, click here). Order the almond milk latte, stay for the classic bar that makes drinking coffee feel like a decadent mid-day treat as opposed to a morning rush to wake up. The cookies help too. So do Alireza Niroomand’s outfits.
Toby’s Estate, 44 Charles St. (For other locations, click here). Order the Winter Blend, stay for the eclectic music (some days it’s disco, some days it’s hip hop) and sit for the smoked salmon toast. So good. The coffee’s a little expensive so Amelia saves it as a weekend treat, but it’s worth it: dark, strong, not at all bitter. Plus, they have gourmet Pop Tarts. POP TARTS. However, if you want to stay in the same hood but need a quieter setting (and plan on sitting down longer/eating more/leaving your laptop at home) her other go to: The Elk, 128 Charles Street.