It’s hard to say what, if anything, separates Brooklyn’s specialty coffee identity from Manhattan’s. We might posit, though, that the lack of gigantic office buildings leads to coffee shops focused less on fast, in-and-out traffic and more on neighborhood folks posting up to do their freelance work or just hang. Our favorite shops in Brooklyn all serve excellent coffee, but just as importantly they’re all places we love spending time.
1158 Myrtle Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11221
The New York coffee scene mourned this spring as Little Skips — a shop that truly wore its commitment to community and inclusivity on its sleeve while also serving delicious coffee, food, and vibes — closed down.
Happily, its first little sibling, Baby Skips, has gotten even stronger in its absence, adding a wonderful vegetarian-friendly Filipino brunch menu to its more standard coffee shop offerings. Espresso drinks are consistently tasty, and there are few shops at which I’d rather grab a mug of drip to stay and hang for a while.
The Mixtape Shop
1129 Bedford Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11216
Brooklyn has no shortage of coffee shops that double as other businesses with several coffee shop/barbers and coffee shop/florists. Our favorite is probably this coffee shop/record store, which slings Intelligentsia coffee in front, and a well-curated selection of dance, soul, and jazz records from all around the world in back.
Music is hugely important to the vibe of any coffee shop and at Mixtape you’re pretty much guaranteed to hear something that is both appropriate for daytime hangs and interesting enough that you’ll write it down for your future playlists and/or buy it on vinyl right then and there.
212b Pacific Street
Brooklyn, New York 11201
You expect a Stumptown shop to be aesthetically pleasing, but their latest effort, which occupies a nineteenth century firehouse in Cobble Hill, is an easy contender for the most beautiful coffee shop in New York.
Several distinct but congruous spaces with plenty of gorgeous wood, brass, and tile make this easily the coolest space to open in the city in a very long time. And with dependably delicious Stumptown beans brewed by a particularly strong staff of baristas, the coffee keeps up with the aesthetic splendor.
Marlow & Sons
Brooklyn, New York 11249
The back room of Marlow & Sons is such a perfect place to drink wine and eat food that one sometimes forgets the front room is one of the best coffee shops in the city.
Serving multiple roasters, including our Boston favs George Howell, Marlow’s drip and espresso are always on point. The white walls and slivers of sunlight make it a pleasant place to hang out or get some work done, and its pastries and prepared food is definitely in the upper echelon of NY cafes (though if you’re into sandwiches, doubling up the coffee here with a sandwich at Marlow & Daughters down the street is also a great idea).
616 Halsey Street
Brooklyn, New York 11233
This recent opening in Bed-Stuy has a bar with a cool white and blue countertop which very accurately gets across how much fun it is as a coffee shop. In addition to the wavy pattern, that seated bar encourages talking to the baristas and folks around you in a way that feels in some ways more like a bar than a specialty coffee shop.
Trash Island brews coffee from a few roasters, and recently, on a freezing New York day, a cup of drip from Miami’s beloved Panther Coffee tasted bright and lively in a way that made it easy to imagine ourselves in warmer climates. The snacks, from nearby Cuban bakery Pilar, don't hurt either.