Post Overview: Best coffee shops in the Lower East Side
You might have 99 problems but finding a good coffee shop in the Lower East Side (LES) isn’t one of them. The neighborhood is known for being diverse and the options for exceptional coffee are endless.
With one swipe of your subway card, you are steps away from experiencing all the flavors of the world in a single neighborhood. The Lower East Side is full of colorful cafes that can trace their roots all across the globe. From Korea to Morocco each cafe brings new and unique flavors for you to enjoy.
Anyone who works from home knows how easy it is to go stir-crazy (thanks a lot, covid!). So I’ve put in hours finding the best coffee shops in the Lower East Side to help me escape and get a little bit of my sanity back.
If this list helps even one person then all my caffeine jitters will have been well worth it. So without further ado, let’s jump right in to the best coffee shops in the Lower East Side.
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Best Lower East Side Coffee Shops
#15. Ost Cafe
Ost Cafe is what my dream New York City apartment would be – bright, full of plants and charmingly timeless. Maybe that’s why I spend so much time day-dreaming at this Lower East Side cafe.
Don’t let the small size fool you, Ost Cafe is one of the best coffee shops in the Lower East Side. The cafe has a wide variety of quality coffee and sells tasty pastries to match.
Although there’s only a handful of chairs available it’s not hard to find an open seat where you can cozy up with a book. Staffed with kind baristas the LES cafe is an easy-going place to linger before heading off to your next destination.
Address: 511 Grand St, New York, NY 10002
#14. Cafe Grumpy
Founded in 2005, Cafe Grumpy started roasting their coffee in house in 2009. The transition took their coffee to the next level and locals couldn’t get enough. The company had to open up shops all over NYC in order to meet the demand, including two Lower East Side coffee shops.
Instantly recognizable thanks to their unique logo, Cafe Grumpy has uncovered marketing gold. A less than thrilled (some might say grumpy) caricature adorns their cups and coffee shops drawing New Yorkers into these LES cafes.
Those who originally stopped by for a photo of the logo end up coming back thanks to some of the best coffee in the Lower East Side. With two no-frills Lower East Side coffee shops Cafe Grumpy is ready to fulfill all your caffeinated cravings.
The Cafe Grumpy on Delancey St. is inside the Essex Market. Enter the market, head downstairs and head towards the neon grumpy logo. The Cafe Grumpy on Essex St. is a standalone cafe.
Location: 13 Essex St, New York, NY 10011 & 115 Delancey St, New York, NY 10002
#13. Little Canal
Little Canal is a sun-soaked Lower East Side coffee shop that helps you start your day on a positive note. Located on the busy intersection where Canal, Essex and Rutgers St. meet the cafe feels like a quintessential LES cafe.
As one of the best coffee shops in the Lower East Side you can expect quality made drinks made by fast-paced but friendly baristas. Sometimes you just need a quick coffee to-go and Little Canal delivers.
If you have time I always suggest hanging out at Little Canal is to enjoy one of their mouthwatering breakfast dishes. The hangover wrap (fried eggs, cheese, bacon, potatoes, chipotle sauce) is divine, and I’ll let you in on a little secret – it tastes even better when you’re not hungover.
You should know that because this is a fast-paced cafe laptops are not allowed. Head to one of the other Lower East Side coffee shops on this list instead if you need to get some work done.
Address: 26 Canal St, New York, NY 10002
#12. The Grandaddy
Man do I love working with my grandaddy! Oops, I meant working at The Grandaddy, one of the best coffee shops in the Lower East Side. The cafe has large communal tables that make getting comfortable a breeze.
The coffee shop is usually quiet enough for me to focus, but not so silent I feel alone, which is exactly what I look for in a Lower East Side cafe. Plus, I can actually afford to work from The Grandaddy since the coffee is reasonably priced (a cappuccino is $4, which means I can get 3).
If you need a recommendation I suggest you try the signature black sesame latte, which provides a subtle but pleasant twist to an otherwise ordinary drink.
Since the menu consists mostly of pastries this isn’t one of the best coffee shops in the Lower East Side for breakfast. If you just need a pit-stop and a place to recharge though, you can’t do much better than The Grandaddy.
Address: 290 Grand St, New York, NY 10002
#11. Round K by Sol
Round K was one of the best coffee shops in the Lower East Side until the pandemic forced them to close permanently. Fortunately, Hansol Kim (who worked at the original cafe) received permission from Round K’s original owner to revive the popular Lower East Side cafe.
And thus, Round K by Sol was born. The LES cafe has a uniquely Korean touch, even making kimchi butter and kimchi ranch. The cafe is one of the best value brunch spots too with most items clocking-in below $15.
Round K by Sol also makes one of the prettiest coffees in the Lower East Side, called a flat purple. The drink is made with coffee and ube which gives it a tantalizing shade of lavender that’s not just pretty, it’s delicious.
If you’re looking for one of the best coffee shops in the Lower East Side that provides outdoor seating, Round K by Sol has a private (and covered) backyard. It’s one of my favorite places to be on a spring morning accompanied by a good book.
Address: 78 Canal St, New York, NY 10002
#10. Beloved Cafe
Beloved Cafe is one of the most dreamy coffee shops in the Lower East Side offering a simple charm that extends to beautiful coffees. The brick walls and chandelier above the counter would be just as fitting at an elegant restaurant, but instead add a posh vibe to the LES cafe.
The Lower East Side coffee shop bakes organic sourdough bread in-house daily, which is reason alone to visit. The cafe is a local hot-spot for their breakfast sandwiches, which are aptly made on the fresh sourdough bread.
If you have a sweet-tooth but want to enjoy the bread order a sourdough doughnut. They taste just as good as they sound and you’re going to want to grab a second one for the road.
The Lower East Side coffee shop has more than enough seating in case you want to bring your laptop. In the summer the cafe rolls up the overhead doors allowing in fresh air and warm sunlight which makes it hard to leave.
Address: 198 Allen St, New York, NY 10002
#9. Downtown Coffee House
Located on the corner of Henry and Jefferson Streets you’ll find Downtown Coffee House, one of the best coffee shops in the Lower East Side. The corner cafe is hard to miss thanks to a brightly painted globe on the facade.
Once inside you’ll notice the fun-colored aesthetic continues with yellow, blue and green hues everywhere in the cafe. It should come as no surprise Downtown Coffee Shop sells fun and sweet drinks like frappuccinos which are perfect on a hot day.
Since the LES coffee shop roasts their coffee in house the space always smells incredible. The aroma hits you the second you open the door and makes it hard to not be excited for a cup of coffee.
Also worth mentioning, this cafe is a family and black-owned business. For those of us who like to support our community Downtown Coffee House is one of the best coffee shops in the Lower East Side.
Address: 26 Jefferson St Store A, New York, NY 10002
#8. Black Cat
Out of all the Lower East Side coffee shops to study at you won’t find one better than Black Cat. Offering free Wi-Fi, a printer and outlets to charge your computer the cafe can serve as a makeshift office.
The popularity of this LES coffee shop means people are constantly in and out, so if you need a quiet place to focus this might not be a great fit. However, If you’re working on a group project or hosting a business meeting the Black Cat is a one of the best Lower East Side coffee shops.
If you work up an appetite there’s a decent-sized breakfast menu to choose from, as well as fresh pastries. With food, Wi-Fi and comfy couches the Black Cat makes it easy to stay a while, it’s basically like home away from home.
Address: 172 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002
#7. The Lazy Llama Coffee Bar
If you’re looking for the best coffee shops in the Lower East Side you can’t afford to miss The Lazy Llama Coffee Bar. Selling coffee, tea and pastries the pocket-sized cafe is the perfect spot to refuel before going on with your day.
Just as the name suggests, the coffee shop sticks to a llama theme and even sells merchandise with llamas plastered everywhere. That’s reason alone to visit this Lower East Side coffee shop, right?
Each cup is adorned with the cutest little llama logo, making it hard to toss it in the trash once you’re done! My husband has even taken to naming the llamas, so far Harry, Mark and Steve have made our cupboard their home.
There isn’t a ton of seating at the LES coffee shop but you can head across the street to the First Park (that’s the name of the park) to enjoy your drink. There’s a small shack in the park called Llama At The Park (an extension of the cafe) which also sells more coffee.
Bonus: While you’re in the area, make sure to check out Russ & Daughters for a bagel and Katz Deli for a pastrami sandwich. The Lower East Side staples are two of the most iconic restaurants in New York City.
Address: 72 E 1st St, New York, NY 10003
#6. Ludlow Coffee Supply
When walking by you wouldn’t assume Ludlow Coffee Company is one of the best coffee shops in the Lower East Side. The neighborhood cafe is small and has a minimalist look, but the coffee is loaded with flavor.
Dua Lipa helped spread the word on the cafe when she recently recommended it on Vogue’s 73 Questions on YouTube (at minute 5:33). The Lower East Side cafe will occasionally have a line but thankfully it moves quickly.
Ludlow Coffee Supply’s biggest claim to fame are their signature lattes. The LES cafe sells bourbon vanilla, maple, and salted caramel lattes that are so good I recommend to all of my friends (maple is my favorite).
Thanks to the giant windows that drench the cafe in warm sunlight Ludlow Coffee Supply is one of the best coffee shops in the Lower East Side to work at. There are plenty of tables to set up your laptop and spend a few productive hours enjoying your drink.
Address: 176 Ludlow St, New York, NY 10002
This next Lower East Side coffee shop is tiny but mighty. Davelle is a Japanese-style cafe serving delicious food, most notably Instagram worthy toast.
The cafe is on the smaller side, fitting around 10 people inside along with a few tables outside. However, the service is quick and the staff is extremely friendly so we’ve never had to wait.
One of the best coffee shops in the Lower East Side, everything we ordered at Davelle not only looked good, it tasted better. The toast is so pretty you almost don’t even want to eat it. Offering different flavors of toast you have the option to go with something savory like ham and egg or something sweet like berry and cream cheese.
I knew this was going to be one of the cutest coffee shops in the Lower East Side after taking one look at the menu. Every item listed is followed with a hand-drawn doodle and it’s simply adorable.
The vibe at Davelle is cozy and charming, perfectly tucked into the neighborhood making it feel like a hidden gem. Along with the famous toast, their menu offers a handful of Japanese meals and drinks (the matcha is exquisite).
Address: 102 Suffolk St, New York, NY 10002
#4. Caffe Vita
Founded in Seattle in 1995, Caffe Vita has steadily expanded and, lucky for us, opened one of the best coffee shops in the Lower East Side.
The secret to their success is truly in the coffee, the company partners with farmers all around the globe to make sure the coffee beans used are of top-quality. The beans are then roasted in-house in Seattle before brewed into your coffee.
You’ll find talented baristas at Caffe Vita making expertly crafted drinks. For those of you who like espresso, I’m convinced this Lower East Side coffee shop has the best in the city.
If you see a line out the front door don’t fret, the cafe is small so it always seems busier than it is. Plus, since there isn’t much seating (just a small counter at the window) folks are in and out and the line moves quickly.
Address: 124 Ludlow St, New York, NY 10002
Koneko (which means kitten in Japanese) is a three-story cafe in the Lower East Side that allows you to enjoy your favorite caffeinated drinks all while hanging out with friendly cats.
If you decide to visit the unique Lower East Side coffee shop you could leave with a new roommate. That’s right, the cats at Koneko are up for adoption!
By partnering with Anjellicle Cats Rescue, Koneko is able to offer cats a second chance at finding a forever home. But even if you’re not looking to adopt, Koneko is one of the best coffee shops in the Lower East Side thanks to the furry company.
The LES cafe offers an extensive menu of small bites inspired by Japanese cuisine, all of which are made fresh and in house. With options like croissants and gyoza you’ll rarely leave Koneko on an empty stomach.
Reservations are required and can be made on Koneko’s website, with a cost of $20 per person. Guests are allowed to play with and pet the cats, but are asked not to pick them up.
Address: 26 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002
#2. Good Thanks Cafe
Admit it, we’ve all been caught practically inhaling our food when the server comes by to ask how things are tasting. All we can do is give a stuffed chipmunk-cheek smile and reply, good thanks.
One of the best cafes in the Lower East Side, Good Thanks serves a brunch that goes toe to toe with New York City’s most popular restaurants. Albeit a little small, the cafe punches well above its weight thanks to an innovative menu made with fresh ingredients.
Heavy-hitter favorites like the short-rib sandwich and kimchi scramble (kimchi, scrambled eggs, sourdough bread) keep locals coming back to the pocket-sized LES cafe.
The coffee is nothing to scoff at either, heck sometimes I visit Good Thanks for a cup of joe alone. The talented baristas know how to make a stellar latte so whenever I’m in the neighborhood I pick one up for the road.
Every day like clockwork the cafe starts filling up around 10AM, but that’s not surprising considering it’s one of the best coffee shops in the Lower East Side. Since there are no reservations I encourage you visit early to avoid having to wait in line.
Address: 131 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002
#1. Pause Cafe
Since opening shop in 2011 Pause Cafe has been one of the most popular coffee shops in the Lower East Side. With around-the-clock lines the LES cafe was recently left with no choice but to move to a bigger location.
The breakfast menu is loaded with healthy options which makes it easy to understand why locals flock to the LES cafe. I wouldn’t even consider myself a health-nut, but I admit the super-food bowls are scrumptious and add an extra pep-in-my-step to my mornings.
Inspired by the owner’s Moroccan roots Pause Cafe exudes a North African and Mediterranean vibe. The bistro tables are covered in mosaic tiles featuring nearly as much color as the fruity breakfast bowl you’re about to enjoy.
Pause Cafe also offers halal options making it one of the best coffee shops in the Lower East Side for practicing Muslims. With this many options there’s no need to leave hungry!
While you visit the Lower East Side Cafe be sure to check out the (functioning) Moroccan fountain. Built into the wall the fountain is adorned with small sea-blue tiles and brass accents.
Address: 3 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002
Lower East Side Coffee Shops (Post Summary)
In sum, here’s a roundup of the best coffee in the Lower East Side. This is the same list I share with to dear friends who are visiting, whether for the first time or the tenth.
- Pause Cafe
- Good Thanks Cafe
- Caffe Vita
- Ludlow Coffee Supply
- The Lazy Llama Coffee Bar
- Black Cat
- Downtown Coffee House
- Beloved Cafe
- Round K by Sol
- The Grandaddy
- Little Canal
- Cafe Grampy
- Ost Cafe
Map of the best coffee shops in the Lower East Side
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- 20 Cozy Cups of Cocoa | The Best Hot Chocolate in NYC
There you have it, that is our round up of the best coffee shops in the Lower East Side! We hope you enjoyed our list, and let us know if you think we missed a spot.
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