The Art of the Coffee Meeting

A few months back, I saw an incredible energy healer who suggested--among other suggestions and disclosures of far greater significance--that I scale back on my daily caffeine intake.

[blink, blink]

So, I tried. I swapped my 2pm cup for a green tea or matcha instead, but it wasn't long before I fell back into my caffeine routine. I can't resist a deep, rich dark roast or a creamy Americano, but not only out of preference or for the sake of increased energy and productivity...

Coffee plays a pivotal role in my success as a publicist.

Everyone has their way: some reps do lunch meetings, some grab drinks, I prefer coffee. There's something so logical about starting the day or taking that afternoon pick-me-up cup with another creative mind (a journalist, editor, stylist, marketing or brand manager, etc.). It's invigorating, productive, efficient and, honestly, cost-effective to share that buzz, literally.

The only catch? Finding a coffee shop that makes a solid cup of joe, has a great atmosphere, and is conducive to conversation (a.k.a. isn't loud and overcrowded). This is the art of the coffee meeting. And these are, in my humble opinion, the best places (in downtown Manhattan) to perform:

 
Photo courtesy of Nickel & Diner

Photo courtesy of Nickel & Diner

 

1. Lafayette

On the corner of Lafayette and Great Jones, this Noho café and bakery proudly serves traditional and remastered French cuisine. What's great about this big, beautiful space is not only the incredible decor and the architecturally stunning building within which it sits, but the fact that there's a designated area where you can sit (for a meeting) with your coffee that you've ordered at the counter. Make sure you grab a loyalty card, too, cause that final free cup is oh so satisfying.

2. Nickel & Diner

Inspired by five & dime lunch counters and that classic diner culture, Nickel & Diner is a big secret in Little Italy for both diner classic and contemporary plates in a retro setting, with plenty of seating. You can grab a booth or bar seat for your face-to-face.

3. Greecologies

This makes the list purely based on aesthetic alone. I wouldn't typically venture here for a cup of joe, especially with Café Grumpy around the corner, but the decor in here is beautiful. Rough cut marble slabs as side tables, big, beautiful coffee table books, and just straight up details, Greecologies is a much larger space than it even appears--given the outdoor courtyard complete with long tables, as well. It's perfect for a unique pot of homemade, grass-fed sweet or savory Greek yogurt. Certainly conducive to some good conversation, too!

 
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Photos by Joanna Totolici

Photos by Joanna Totolici

 

4. Pi Bakerie

Drawing, also, from Greek origins, this loft-like bakery and café puts out housemade pastries, savory pies, yogurt, salads, and all the traditional mediterranean bites you could ever wish for. It can be crowded during your typical breakfast or lunch hours, but, again, coffee meetings are best held during off hours, my friends.

5. La Pecora Bianca

"The White Sheep," in Italiano, is a super stylish, bright Nomad locale featuring seasonal, nourishing Italian fare. While there are a plenty of individual tables, there's also a communal table and coffee counter in the front of house that works well for a quick cup and convo.

6. Ace Hotel

Ok, so, this place is usually pretty packed. It has made it on the list regardless because the atmosphere is killer. The Ace Hotel lobby has tons of couches, armchairs, and communal tables for working with an offering from Stumptown Coffee (connected to the hotel), but you can typically find a quiet spot at the bar in the back (where you can order a cup of joe) during the day.

 
Photo courtesy of Citizens of Chelsea

Photo courtesy of Citizens of Chelsea

Union Fare

Union Fare

 

7. The City Bakery

This place is huge, with tons of seating, making it a viable option for a coffee meeting up- or downstairs. They're sort of known for their ridiculously rich hot chocolate and specialty baked goods (i.e. pretzel croissant), so if you're feeling like a cup of hot cocoa over caffeine/coffee, here you can have your cake and eat it too.

8. Citizens of Chelsea

"Happiness is... strong good and good clean food Australian-cafe-style," so they say. Citizens of Chelsea is a (you guessed it) West Chelsea spot that serves up an inventive menu in an escape from the hustle of center-city. Of course, with a decent amount of seating and a conversation-conducive setting, CoC makes this cut of coffeeshops.

9. Union Fare

At first, I was kind of confused by Union Fare, but was too in love with the industrial-chic decor to care. Once I got my bearings (this place is an expansive gastrohall spanning a full city block), I immediately noted UF as a perfect meeting place because of the sheer amount of seating and convenient location. Totally worth checking out.

 
Kaffe 1668 South

Kaffe 1668 South

Photo courtesy of Merriweather

Photo courtesy of Merriweather

 

10. Merriweather

Merriweather is another Aussie-style cafe that serves Counter Culture coffee (yum) and delicious, healthy bites. This newer West Village shop is named after Merewether Beach in Australia that is filled with surfers, swimmers and joggers who, after a little morning activity, grab a locally crafted cup of coffee and nutritious bite before heading to work. And to me, that sounds like a great way to start the day, so kudos to bringing that culture to NYC, Merri.

11. Kaffe 1668 (South)

Another location filled with sheep--non-intentional theme, here. This intimate cafe features long wood tables, super high ceilings and walls lined with shelves and stuffed sheep (the products of a local artist and friend of the owner). This Tribeca shop (the original location) offers two levels of seating and their own roasted coffee, amongst other bevs.

12. Black Fox Coffee

Situated in 70 Pine's lobby, Black Fox Coffee is a bright, spacious cafe offering gourmet coffee in "chic digs." They pride themselves as being established with the mission of providing NYC with an unprecedented standard of hospitality and excellence in coffee service. It's aesthetically awesome, so I threw this one in for you downtown/Wall Street workers. You're welcome.