With the hustle and bustle of the Harlem neighborhood, coffee shops have evolved into somewhat of an escape for creatives living in the community. Whether you’re birthing a new project, finishing up a final paper for school, or simply catching up on some good reads; they provide the perfect atmosphere to get sh*t done, just ask Fast Company. Chic cafés have become an ever-growing part of Harlem’s restaurant scene. So what are the elements of a dope coffee shop? Free Wi-Fi is a must; a variety of teas and coffee flavors to choose from, tasty bites and an ambiance that spurs creativity is essential. We’ve rounded up five of the best coffee shops in Harlem to get both your ideas and the caffeine flowing.
Nestled in the Manhattanville area of Harlem, Manhattanville Coffee is a super chic shop to catch up on work at. The innovative atmosphere in the shop is nothing short of infectious. The seating area gives off a communal vibe with a bench-inspired table and couches so on any given day you’ll brush shoulders with other creatives in the neighborhood. The shop has impeccable natural lighting, thanks to their large windows, and has an industrial feel with its interior brick wall. There is a little bit of something for everyone on the menu, whether you’re craving a latte or a cup of hot cocoa. The deliciousness doesn’t stop at their drink menu; Manhattanville Coffee serves up some great eats. Their grilled cheese sandwich, which includes mozzarella, cheddar, and pepper jack cheese with fruit preserves on fresh sourdough bread, is beyond amazing. Ever since word spread about Manhattanville Coffee, it’s become one of the neighborhood’s most popular shops. If you’re planning on checking it out, be sure to get there early because it gets packed. Learn more about Manhattanville Coffee here.
The Chipped Cup
Located on the basement level of a Harlem building, The Chipped Cup has become a magnet for creatives in the neighborhood. If you’re walking along the sidewalk there is a chance that you might pass it, but they use catchy sayings on their blackboard stand to grasp people’s attention. One of the major draws to The Chipped Cup is their beautiful outdoor patio garden, which serves as a nice escape from the Harlem streets. The interior of the shop features exposed brick and dope artwork and photographs on its walls. As far as the coffee, they serve up everything from Macchiato to Americano. They also have a pretty extensive organic tea list which includes Coconut Oolong, Moroccan Mint, Tangerine Ginger and White Rose amongst other flavors. When it comes to pastries and other bites, the selection is very limited. The Chipped Cup is another hotspot where the amount of people in there can go from 0 to 100 real quick (or what seems like 100 because the shop is pretty small), so get there early to grab a seat and avoid waiting forever and a day for your latte. Learn more about The Chipped Cup here.
Lenox Coffee has also emerged into a go-to spot among coffee lovers in Harlem. The shop, which boasts an industrial lofty feel, similar to Manhattanville Coffee, is one of the first specialty coffee houses in Upper Manhattan. Lenox Coffee has a very rustic charm with tin ceilings, brick walls, and dope schoolhouse lights. Aside from the vast selection of coffees and teas that are rich in flavor, Lenox coffee has beer and wine on their menu. You can power through your project while sipping on a glass of Prosecco. When it comes to food, the café goes far beyond the standard croissant, bagel, and muffin. Lenox Coffee serves up delectable sandwiches and salads and they have a delicious house-made vegan soup on their menu. The coffee shop prides itself on promoting community by getting many of their menu items from local vendors. Learn more about Lenox Coffee here.
East Harlem Café
Want to feel like you’re at home without actually being there surrounded by all of the distractions? Head over to East Harlem Café. The cozy café has comfy couches which will make you feel like you’re working from your living room. One of the many things that stands out about this café is the art. Their front windows are often painted with interesting imagery and the walls of the eatery features captivating work by local artists. The Café has a handful of coffee selections which includes a delicious Cuban expresso and they serve up some tasty Chai drinks as well. Their food menu raises the bar for average coffee shop; especially for breakfast. They’re known for their scrumptious of pancakes which includes the “Banana, Walnut, and Whole Wheat Pancakes.” East Harlem Café is also popular for its social events; they often host open mics for poets and musicians. Learn more about East Harlem Café here.
Il Caffe Latte
Warning: If you’re looking for Wi-Fi, you won’t find any here. However if you’re in search of a chic café with excellent food, strong coffee, and cheap prices then this place is for you. Il Caffe Latte is the perfect spot for a brunch date. They have a decent selection of coffees but their teas and drinks, like the Raspberry Lemonade, Fresh Mint Lemonade, and freshly squeezed Blood Orange Juice, are must-tries. Their brunch menu, which is served daily, features delicious eats like the “Acapulco Breakfast Platter” which includes queso fresco, scrambled egg, tortilla, guacamole, Pico de Gallo, sour cream, lettuce, and mango and the Blueberry Whole Wheat Pancakes. Il Caffe Latte features the work of local artists on their walls. There are two locations; one on 120th Street and Lenox Avenue and one on 145th Street between Convent & Amsterdam. Learn more about Il Caffe Latte here.