Remember the good old days where scoring a cup of coffee simply meant shelling out pocket change? Neither do we. In a city where practically every New York corner comes with the promise of yet another Starbucks (283 to be exact) and upcharged caffeine is to be expected, is it possible that somewhere out there lies an Eden of affordable espresso, where coffee-craving citydwellers can invest in a quality caffeine fix without the fear of overdrafting their checking account? Or could it be that such coveted locales are nothing more than an urban legend like the New York sewer gators?
Refusing to accept a conclusion that can only be equated to the disappointment of decaf, we embarked on a wild-brews chase to put the rumors to rest.
(average cost: $4)
With four convenient locations to cater to your affinity for freshly brewed coffee and an industrial-meets-organic aesthetic, Bluestone Lane is arguably the most charming coffee house that the city has to offer. The West Village location is their most popular and a collective favorite as it embodies everything you could possibly hope to gain out of a neighborhood coffee shop. Fan favorite specials include the Flat White and 24 Hour Cold Brew. Next time you're out and about in pursuit of potent brew and perhaps a light lunch, we strongly suggest stopping in Bluestone Lane for good coffee and a great atmosphere.
(average cost: $3.50)
A testament to Williamsburg's iconoclastic appeal, this aptly named venue is exactly that and in the best way possible. The attitude which Hole in the Wall exudes can best be described as delightfully unrefined yet extremely charismatic. This is the type of place where you come for the real-deal brews and farm to table fare but stay for the quirky allure of bearded hipsters sans pretentious disposition. In short, you can find this fresh and fun-loving locale at 420 5th Ave and you are definitely doing yourself an injustice if you don't. It is very apparent that these Brooklyn-based baristas of Australian origins stick to what they know and what they know is how to deliver a rich cup of coffee and quality croissants.
(average cost: $3.25)
Located at 5 W 8th St, the Marlton Espresso Bar at the Marlton Hotel offers classic caffeinated drinks, impeccably coupled by the boutique hotel's old world ambiance meets upscale contempo vibes. Of course, the atmosphere is always en vogue but the selling point of this venue comes in a cup. More specifically, a cup of organic Ferndell Coffee which dates back to 1862. Boasting the most retro brew in Manhattan to the unbeatable tune of $3, there is no denying that we stop by this dapper locale, which might as well be a Mad Men backdrop, any chance we get. While this espresso bar does indeed offer to-go orders, we strongly suggest that you take the time to soak in the scene as you sip on a heaping mug of coffee with orgins dating back to over 150 years ago. If they have gone to such extensive lengths to curate the perfect cup of coffee, then the least we can certainly make the time to take a seat in a plush leather armchair and enjoy it. If you get the chance, we strongly suggest you do the same.
(average cost: $4.25)
If you take your coffee with a spoonful of sugar, an extra shot of espresso and a dash of antique ambiance, clearly you have a craving for Sweetleaf. With three locations across New York, each is as accommodating as the next in terms of opulence and enjoyable beverages. Since opening in 2008, Sweetleaf has already managed to make a name for itself as a hub for hot coffee and so much more. This destination for natives and newcomers alike prides itself on maticulously contrived brews, a full-service bakery, oh -- and karaoke on Thursday nights! Featuring vintage furnishings, friendly baristas and a unique vibe, it's no secret as to why they have some of the most dedicated regulars around. Highlights from the menu include a perfectly brewed cappuccino or for more adventurous enthusiasts, the Rocket Fuel which is a cold-brewed coffee with a delicate blend of chicory, maple syrup and milk. At the crossroads of espresso and entertainment, you can find Sweetleaf.
(average cost: $4)
A Lower East Side newcomer and mecca for organics and Mediterranean influence, Spreadhouse Coffee is the perfect closer for our "5 Cups of Coffee for $5 or Less" round-up as they have been hailed the "anti-Starbucks." Whether they have earned this title for their reasonable prices or affinity for locally sourced decorum and ingredients is unclear but nevertheless, we are big fans. This is the perfect venue for kicking back with your laptop, a cup of organic coffee and vegan donuts (which are made in-house). While much of the inspiration behind this coffee shop came from travels to the far east by its founders, the scene in its entirely is built by local means. Regardless of which caffeine-packed beverage you decide upon, do not leave without indulging upon their organic baked goods such as the aforementioned vegan donuts which are so delicious that they deserve mentioning twice. For an exceptional atmosphere and unbeatable coffee, visit this cutting edge coffee house at 116 Suffolk St.