I don’t have an office, rather I have a coffee shop where my co-workers are writers and artists who set up their laptops and fuel their craft with cappuccinos and French pastries. Instead of oppressive silence or the symphony of fellow employees typing away on outdated keyboards, I have light jazz mixing with the sweet smell of coffee and the day’s bakery selection. Instead of a grey desk (God, how I hated my old desk) and a swivel chair that looked like it was from the 80s, I have a wooden high top table by the window where I am exposed to sunlight and the streets coming to life outside.
As a freelance journalist and full-time travel blogger, coffee shops have become one of my favorite places. I simply adore the little flowers that dot my “office” and the music that seems to inspire my writing as much as the caffeine that fuels it. New York City is bursting with coffee houses; consider this your definitive guide to New York’s BEST ones to sit and relax a while.
Madame Sou Sou
Welcome to The Pin the Map Project headquarters AKA Madame Sou Sou, my favorite coffee shop in New York City. Tucked away in Astoria, Queens off of 31st Avenue, Madame Sou Sou has delicious pastries, quiche, coffee and always seems to be playing my favorite jazzy music. With free WiFi and a friendly, local staff that doesn’t mind the writers and readers hanging out until closing time, I cannot recommend this place enough.
JOE Coffee Shop
Tucked away on the corner of Waverly Street and Gay Street is JOE Coffee, a coffee shop that serves up foamy cappuccinos and delicious pastries. Although you can find JOE Coffee around the city, the West Village location has a certain charm to it and seems to be more spacious than its counterparts.
My friend who lived on Avenue B in Manhattan’s East Village said it perfectly when she described The Roost: “tons of coffee places have opened and closed on this street, but The Roost is the one that stays.” The Roost is both a coffee lounge and a speakeasy with a bar hidden in the back in typical prohibition style and a coffee shop up front.
Ground Central Coffee
Sometimes it’s difficult to find a spot to relax in midtown Manhattan where the streets are overcrowded with tourists and cluttered with stores. Often, the only coffee spots you’ll find are Starbucks where the locations are small and meant for a quick order and quicker leave. Ground Central Coffee (love the play on words) is one of the best coffee houses in midtown to relax, write and find a respite from the city.
This sprawling roastery and cafe is one of the newest additions to the Brooklyn coffee scene. Devoción an outpost of a coffee roaster in Bogota, Colombia, and all its raw beans arrive by FedEx straight from Colombia, just 10 days after being picked, which makes for some of the freshest coffee around. The space itself is big and open, with a plant-covered wall, a huge skylight, and plenty of seating. [Yelp]
There are now three outposts of Sweetleaf, in LIC and Williamsburg, but this is the original. Besides the standard lineup of high quality espresso drinks, there are two special iced coffee drinks here, both a far cry from the saccharine concoctions served at the chains. There’s the Rocket Fuel, cold brew spiked with chicory, maple syrup, and milk, and the Voodoo Child, a Vietnamese-style iced coffee made with sweetened condensed milk. Sweetleaf is also a great place to hang out for a while. There’s free wifi up front, and a “record room,” with a turntable and an extensive vinyl collection in the back. [Sweetleaf]
When I used to commute to my office in downtown Manhattan, I used to walk past my local coffee shop and eye the people enviously as they leisurely sipped their lattes while typing away on their MacBooks. I longed for that simple freedom to wake up on a weekday and not trudge to work but rather happily stroll to my favorite coffee house without the shackles of meetings, Outlook inboxes and office politics. As I write this, I am sitting by the window of my coffee shop, Madame Sou Sou, and am about to pack up my laptop and head around the corner (a 5 minute walk) and play with my baby kitten, Peeps. No commutes, no “checking in” with bosses before I leave, no late night projects or last minute asks–simply me, my coffee and The Pin the Map Project.
If thinking about going freelance and making a coffee shop your office, make sure to check out my post: MISTAKES I MADE WHEN GOING FREELANCE (AND HOW I FIXED THEM). For more tips on places to visit in NYC, download my new CreateTrips Guide to NYC available here (available in iTunes) and share your favorite coffee houses below as I’m always on the look out for amazing cafes to visit!