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When you’re a freelance writer, you tend to spend a lot of time hanging out in coffee shops. Sure, I could just as easily guzzle gallons of coffee from the comfort of my own home, though the definition of comfort ranges wildly, depending on which part of the world I happen to be inhabiting. But sometimes it’s nice to get out of the house and work among your fellow human beings.
When I’m back in the area, I spend quite a bit of time visiting friends in New York City. My mobile office often takes me to Brooklyn, where some of my favorite coffee shops are located. But I have a few requirements when it comes to coffee shops. First and foremost, the Wi-Fi has to be excellent. This seems like a given, but it’s really frustrating to order a coffee and sit down to work only to realize that the internet is terrible.
Next, the coffee has to be good. As a self-professed Starbucks latte lover, though, I can’t say I’m too picky in this department. Finally, the coffee shop has to have a good vibe. This factor is a bit difficult to define, but I can’t handle overly pretentious coffee shops. I like a comfortable, cozy place to work and hang out. So now that we all know how hard I am to please, here are my five favorite coffee shops in Brooklyn!
It might seem odd that I’m kicking things off in Williamsburg, given that one of my requirements is a non-pretentious environment. It’s true that I once witnessed — and interjected into — a spirited debate on the merits of Jonathan Franzen versus Jonathan Safran Foer here. But I enjoy the open, airy vibe, and there’s bench seating with a power strip for those who need to charge laptops. The coffee is pretty good, too.
Upright Coffee (Greenpoint)
Upright Coffee doesn’t get a perfect score from me because there isn’t Wi-Fi or even any seating. This is very much a grab-and-go kind of place. But this spot serves some of the best coffee in Brooklyn, and the lavender latte is unique without being weird. You can tell the baristas put a lot of effort into serving only the highest quality products.
Tinto (Crown Heights)
Tinto is not a huge coffee shop by any means, but with its fast Wi-Fi, plentiful outlets, and cozy atmosphere, it’s a really great place to work and hang out. Like any Brooklyn coffee shop worth its salt, it serves up a delicious slice of avocado toast, as well as some more interesting offerings like arepas. As an added bonus, Crown Heights has some of the cheapest hotels in Brooklyn, so you’ll have easy access to Tinto!
Crema BK (Greenpoint)
Crema BK scores points for being owned by a friendly local couple who make you feel like a regular as soon as you walk in. They also happen to have some of the best cold brew around, so if this coffee trend is your thing, definitely check out this spot. Crema BK sells cold brew by the bottle for at-home enjoyment, too. My only issue with this spot is that the Wi-Fi only lasts an hour, which isn’t ideal if you’re trying to camp out and work for the day. For casual Facebook stalking while sipping on great coffee, though Crema BK is perfect. Note that this spot is cash only for orders under $5.
IC Brooklyn Cafe (Bushwick)
Two words: Nutella latte. Do you really need any further explanation as to why this spot made the list? It might be a little indulgent for an everyday coffee, but when you want to #treatyoself, definitely give it a try. If coffee isn’t your thing, this spot serves a lot of fun juices and smoothies, too. For relaxation, this coffee shop has a couple of comfy chairs and a couch for lounging. Computer nerds will also find fast Wi-Fi and tables of workspace.
With hundreds of coffee shops in Brooklyn, it can be hard to narrow your search. But rest assured that these five are the best of the best!