A Respite From Starbucks

by SAMANTHA QUEEN · February 26, 2008

starbucksLet me preface this by saying that I go to Starbucks often – I don’t love the coffee, but it gets the job done and the place offers some study space in a city where the branch public libraries are sorely lacking. That being said, as we informed you earlier, starting at 5:30 today Starbuck’s stores will temporarily close for 3-hour, “mandatory training” sessions. So what is a tired, cranky, overworked and over-partied New Yorker to do? Take the lemon and make lemonade. One trip to Europe or the Pacific Northwest and you’ll know that Starbucks is crap. What better time to sample the creations of some of New York’s *real* coffee houses? Not to mention, with places like Café La Fortuna and DTUT gone the way of CBGB’s, this is a great opportunity to support the little guy. Or at least get some good coffee before they’re shut down. So, where to? For starters, try some of the following options: (Note: I didn’t include any places in the Village or the Lower East Side, since you can’t throw a stone down there without hitting an independent coffee joint. This article is more a resource for those who may find themselves stuck and coffee-less in some of the city’s less coffee-rich ‘hoods.)

The "Starbucks' Alternative" List:

Chocolate Bar, 3rd Floor Atrium in Henri Bendel. The coffee kicks ass and I think we can all agree that you would be hard pressed to find a brighter, livelier atmosphere than at Bendel. (Midtown East)

Macchiato Espresso Bar. Great coffee, but don’t expect a seat. (Midtown East)

Fika. If you thought Aquavit was good, try a Swedish coffee fix. LOVING the whole grain sandwich with egg and caviar, btw. (Midtown West)

La Columbe Torrefaction. I’ve never been there, but it has to be good to supply Daniel and Le Bernardin, right? Since the website is not user-friendly, I will just tell you that it is 319 Church St.at Lispenard. (Tribeca)

M. Rohrs’. I am ashamed to say that I haven’t been here yet. The place, however, has a stellar rep. Not to mention, it has been there since 1896, so they must be doing something right. (UES)

71 Irving Place Coffee & Tea Bar. With coffee drinks made from beans independently roasted on the café owners’ Hudson Valley farm, it is no wonder why 71 has attracted a mass following. (Gramercy)

French Roast. This is my favorite coffee place in the city, as much for the food as for the coffee. Maybe it just holds a sentimental place in my heart, as it was my haunt when I first moved to New York. Regardless, I highly recommend it. (Upper West Side and West Village)

Then again, this could be a good excuse for you to head down to Ruby's.

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