Is this really the best coffee shop in NYC?

Barista Patrick Cronin at Qartha. photo via Daily News

The Daily News, last seen coming in second in the porn headline war, weighs in on a topic New Yorkers take extremely personally: coffee shops. The best in the whole city, according to the tab, is the relatively new Qathra in Ditmas Park. The paper extols the sunny back patio as a choice spot for sipping fair-trade next to a garden, where Qathra grows parsley, scallion and cilantro to use in salads. “The sound of water flowing from the fountain out back creates a serene environment rarely found within the five boroughs,” gushes the paper. We’re fans too, and have even held a few meetings there since the demise of Vox Pop. But is it the best in the whole city? 

We know Brokelyn readers are the experts here, so we want to hear your picks. You’ve traveled the boroughs with laptop in hand looking for a perch to scan Craigslist for a new sublet or send your resume out to dozens of internships; you’ve homesteaded in the back booth nursing a cup of coffee for hours finishing that big design project; or maybe you’ve taken your morning-after date to your fave shop to impress with your knowledge of Ethiopian beans and gluten-free pastries.

So what makes a coffee shop the best? Is it the taste of the coffee alone, or is it the cozy warmth of seeing your favorite barista’s smile and settling into a squashy couch that sets it apart? Tell us in the comments!

20 Comment

  • I think Qathra’s great, but “coffee shop” is one of those best-ofs that needs extreme sub-division, a la the Village Voice. Like “Best coffee shop with fresh grown herbs and trickling streams.”

  • JB, you may be sad to know I finally threw out my Vox Pop frequent buyer card this weekend. It was the first coffee shop I ever became familiar with in NYC, and a name that stirs up fond memories of early Brokelyn days. But I guess they would have won the category “Best Coffee Shop that Did Not Care to Pay Taxes.”

  • Who goes to coffee shops for herbs? Best coffee hands down is D’Amico Foods in Carroll Gardens. Not so much a shop as a place where old men sit around eating pistachios, but it is the best and cheapest coffee.

  • You know, Tim, I think I saw that card of mine the other day. Maybe the VP spirit will return with this upcoming spot:

    (Vox Pop 2, without the poor financial management.)

  • Best for ambiance? Roots Cafe in South Slope

  • Qathra is delicious and the folks who work there very nice. We’re glad to have them in the neighborhood!

  • Ted and Honey on Clinton St in Cobble Hill wins! banana honey sammie on the kids menu is divine, and homemade aioli ketchup!

  • I just found this place called House of Small Wonder in Williamsburg on Saturday and it’s pretty derned adorable: It’s a cozy little spot tucked under a bunch of rowhouses; friendly staff, good coffee and lots of room to spread out. They’re opening a garden soon and working on getting a liquor permit. I got loads of work done there.

  • For me, the best coffee bars for the taste, not the aesthetic, are Blue Bottle (Williamsburg), Stumptown (Redhook, Flatiron) and Gimme Coffee (Williamsburg, Soho). Pure deliciousness!

  • Hello, Flying Saucer! Also, I’m an L train girl: I love Boulevard, Atlas, and Wyckoff Starr.

  • It just isn’t fair to do an ‘absolute’ best and it’s a bit silly. 90% of the time you read these things, you find out that the intern writing the article lives 3 blocks away and hooked up with the barista. That’s their quality of judging.

    But yeah, it’s a good place, so are a few others on this list I’ve been to with the others now on my list.

  • Flying Saucer is, of course, this reporter’s favorite coffeeteria, not only because I live 1 block away but also because those kids know how to paaarr-tay. And their back yard is swank. And they now play Elvis records too.

  • I have to say, I LOVE Upright Coffee in Greenpoint. ( These guys really get into brewing the perfect cup and- even more importantly to me- their machines are practially autoclave quality clean all day so there’s no funky coffee residue like.. say.. Flying Saucer. :)

    Unprofessional Cookery

  • The most delicious coffee I’ve tasted in NYC was at Stumptown in Red Hook but my favorite place for friendly baristas and general ambience is Second Stop Cafe in Williamsburg. But I’ve never been to Quathra, so…

  • Big shout out for cafe madeleine, also in DP. Definitely the cleanest coffee shop in NYC, and the food AND coffee are great.

  • Patrick is adorable. Completely made me want to read this piece. Sign me up.

  • Sit and Wonder in Prospect Heights. They brew Stumptown and they have a nice vibe and cool patio.

  • Not even close. Crop to Cup in Gowanus. Best iced coffee, best espresso drinks, sunny patio, and they run their direct trade wholesale business right out of their storefront. Best coffee shop in NYC by far.