Sunday, March 15, 2009

Coffee Bar Hopping

My life is incomplete in one small but important area. 

Sure, I have a great apartment situation in a cute Brooklyn neighborhood. I am gainfully employed. I have a kickass room with shade #9 "Chelsea" walls. What more could one ask for in life, you say? 

Peeps, I am in desperate need of a quality cafe hangout. I'm talking about the kind of place with big comfy chairs where you can just kick back and get lost in a book for an entire day. I've managed to find great places in most of my former cities  - in Syracuse, the Barnes & Noble on Erie Blvd., and during my South Dakota internship, Coffee Smith and Red Rooster. By comparison, the New York B&N's are always filled to the brim with people. I suppose a fear of homeless people camping out in their stores may explain the absence of big comfy chairs and fire places. Alas, the store's cozy "escape" factor has been lost forever on me.

As a whole, the NY coffee scene pales in comparison to my former haunts. Especially when I think of the memories...the memories! My relationship with the Syracuse B&N escalated to the point where I joined a "chair gang" comprised of a 35-year-old nurse, a 70-year-old retired physicist, a 60-year-old bear hunter and myself (we still keep in touch). One scary night in SD leaving the Rooster, I agreed to drive an acquaintance home only to learn that he really just wanted my number...and to tell me that his ex-girlfriend had filed a restraining order against him. But oh Rooster, how could I forget your delectable ice cream drinks, your free coffee, your cheap used books? Sigh. New York, you have a very tall order to fill.

Today I set out once again to find The perfect place. This time I limited my cafe hopping to the Ft Greene area. Several caffeinated beverages later, I am still disappointed (though quite jittery). Here's a short breakdown of the places I've visited and where they rank: 

Best Food: Ortine Cafe
Very tucked-away and out-of-place; you would never know of this cafe's existence unless you actually passed it on the street. Great food, but expensive. It would be hard to spend more than a few hours here since A) I would go broke and B) my back would go broke from their hard restaurant-style tables and chairs. 

Best Coffee: Bittersweet
Great Mocha. Again, very uncomfortable tables and chairs. My neck started hurting after only 30 minutes of trying to read while sitting upright in perfect posture. 

Best Atmosphere: Tillie's of Brooklyn
Fun place; lots of people and live bands on the weekend. There's also walls filled with local art on the upper level. Their chicken sandwich is to die for. But then again, you'll find the same uncomfortable tables and chairs here. Also, it's a popular spot so I find myself constantly distracted by the comings and goings of others. 

Best Sweets: Green Apple Cafe
Tried this place for the first time tonight. Their mocha tasted very bitter; won't try that again. However, they have quite the selection of confectionary goodies (cupcakes, bars, pies, cakes). Sweets tend to have their way with me. 

Now, as soon as I find a coffee joint which embodies all of these traits, I will be one very happy girl. 


Kathleen said...

there was a GREAT place on the upper east side called DTUT but it's closed now... alas! it was super comfy for hours on end! and they had tasty stuff. can't speak for the coffee since i don't drink it. Good luck in your search!

Angie said...

A good coffee shop, like a good man, is hard to find.

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