6 Top-Tier Coffee Shops With Outdoor Seating
Are you tired of being cooped up in your apartment in the summer? Are you also just actually tired? The NYC summer heat will do that to you! Our go-to solution? Give your rattling window AC a break, layer on the sunscreen, go on an early morning iced coffee run, and bask (briefly!) in the sun at a coffee shop with outdoor seating. You can thank us at a later time.
Here are the best downtown coffee shops that offer outdoor seating as well as super-strong cold brews and crazy good people-watching.
Tucked away on a quiet street in Chinatown slightly off the tourist trail, this homey hidden gem is everything you hope for in a neighborhood coffee shop. Opened in 2020 by Chinatown locals Daniel Lam and Sandy Truong, Dreamers Coffee House is flooded with natural light, filled with plants, and radiates impossibly dreamy vibes. Plus, they serve great cups of coffee and espresso-based drinks using organic, ethically sourced beans.
In the mood for a summer weather-friendly beverage? Thrill your tastebuds with the “Coke & A Dream” (Mexican Coca-Cola and espresso over ice). For something with a little less sugar and caffeine, go for an iced matcha latte. It’s exceptional. So are the pastries and sandwiches, which are sourced from local bakeries and businesses. If the egg sandwich is available, it’s a must-devour. And if you spot an ube-flavored treat inside the pastry display case, you’ll need that deliciousness too. Enjoy your beverages and bites amongst in-the-know locals out on the delightful outdoor patio at this cozy, community-focused coffee house.
54W Henry St, New York; (202) 905-2088
The Lazy Llama Coffee Bar is the quintessential cute little East Village coffee shop. In other words, expect to leave this pint-sized, no-frills joint as one happy, caffeinated customer and soon-to-be regular. Opened in 2015 by Oya Mungan, this laidback and lovable hole-in-the-wall stands out in the sea of NYC specialty coffee shops for its lack of pretension and abundance of charm—you’ll spot llama-themed mugs, art, and knick-knacks sprinkled about inside. And, of course, the shop offers seriously great coffee. We’re big fans of their super-strong cold brew.
Hungry? They also offer fresh pastries and sandwiches, from B.E.C. croissants to tuna salad sandwiches to heavenly homemade banana bread, just in case all that caffeine isn’t fuel enough. No worries if a line of customers is snaking out the door or if the covered outdoor seating area is packed: there are plenty of seating options directly across the street in First Park and a Lazy Llama outpost housed inside the park’s kiosk that debuted in 2021. Because one coffee is never enough.
72 E 1st St, New York; (646) 410-1938
Looking to catch up on some emails in a bright and airy coffee shop where the Wi-Fi is free and the coffee is straightforward? Then head on down to The Granddaddy, sandwiched between the Lower East Side and Chinatown on the corner of Grand and Eldridge Streets, but get there early; this buzzy coffee shop’s communal tables and slouchy couches are perpetually packed with stylish locals and many a MacBook. Better yet, escape the laptop squatters and the blaring music and enjoy your cold brew and some grand (sorry, had to) people-watching at a streetside table. Be sure to pair your drink with a bagel from Davidovich Bakery or a pastry from Balthazar Bakery. We know what you’re thinking, and yes, Granddaddy sells Balthazar’s crazily delicious croissants smothered in everything bagel seasoning.
290 Grand St, New York; (917) 388-2233
If you’re on the hunt for the perfect place to read a good book while latte-sipping or to post up with your laptop while iced coffee-gulping, look no further than this laidback, über-charming Alphabet City café that’s been open for over 15 years. You won’t have to look too hard for it when approaching the corner of Avenue B and 13th Street thanks to the unmissable hot pink storefront murals. Once inside this locals’ favorite, expect friendly baristas, strong coffee, yummy food (soups, salads, sandwiches, and snacks), and a quirky and colorful living room setting. There’s a slew of seating options, from comfy armchairs around coffee tables to counter stools. But if you prefer to eat your avocado toast in the sunshine, grab a seat outside at one of the blue or red tables that border the kaleidoscopic murals. Sipping a coffee is that much more enjoyable when simultaneously people-watching in artsy Alphabet City.
212 Avenue B, New York; (212) 228-4808
This buzzy Australian café, located in Alphabet City, opened its doors in 2020. The flat whites are sublime, the atmosphere is easy breezy, and there’s plenty of indoor seating. It’s the perfect place to linger for hours over cortados, pastries, and free Wi-Fi. Need some vitamin D? There are a handful of small tables out front that face a scenic park across the street. How about something to eat? The brekkie/lunch menu is impressive, and a bit fancier than your ordinary neighborhood coffee shop; they serve up smoky tempeh sandwiches with vegan feta on Balthazar sourdough, matcha smoothies, and extra-healthy bowls involving lots of greens and pumpkin seeds. Oh, and there are lots of pastries to drool over. Nutella banana bread, anyone?
521 E 12th St, New York; (305) 619-1754
Every coffee connoisseur in NYC knows (and loves) Jack’s Stir Brew. There are multiple locations around town, including the original Greenwich Village joint that opened its doors back in 2003 by crop-to-cup pioneer Jack Mazzola. But their seventh location, housed on the ground floor of The Roxy Hotel New York in Tribeca, is really something special. You’ll find everything that made you love this New York icon long ago, including the classic specialty coffee drinks brewed with organic, ethically sourced beans, plus chai and matcha lattes, and vegan baked goods. On gloomy days, get caffeinated in The Roxy’s people-watching paradise of an elegant lobby. When the sun’s out—and for a real I-love-New-York moment—it’s all about grabbing a seat under an umbrella in the stylish, greenery-filled outdoor seating area that spills out onto Sixth Avenue. We’ll see you there all summer with our sunnies and sunscreen on.
2 6th Avenue, New York; (212) 519-6600
WORDS Alex Catarinella