Inspiring locales in New York, specifically cafes and hotel lounges meant to appeal towards ‘one’ crowd or social circle may feel restricting and that is not the agenda here. One reality is the emergence of digital nomads or freelancers in the evolving global landscape. Surely not confined to New York.
I had compiled this list of some of my personal favorite locations throughout New York that embrace this continuing trend in their own unique way. While this post was featured first featured on a different website, I felt it would great to share on here as a ‘Cafe Amour’ feature. Whether you yourself are a total digital nomad or you love to discover new places to meet with friends and network or covet those corners in a window to zone out on your own, coffee or champagne, it is great to have referrals! No judgment here.
There were a few locales left out I must say as some things are best left to word of mouth in my opinion and would it really be that private if we divulged all on the ‘webo-sphere’! Perhaps if you strike up a conversation with another intriguing character at one of the locations below, you will have your own special locales. I have always loved the warm atmosphere of cafes and hotel lounges with a refined sense of community.
Co-working spaces (aka We Work etc) may soon seem like the norm work space. Despite this, there are many digital nomads, writers, consultants who don’t have a need or budget for these memberships or simply prefer a more inviting space to get stuff done. In New York, there are a multitude of suitable spaces to work, meet and write whether uptown, downtown, and in-between.
We all can appreciate a setting where they are able to feel that eclectic and often contagious energy. Of course, regardless of how luxurious a café or hotel lounge might be, if the noise is unbearable and its always too crowded, not any location will make the cut. It can be helpful to have some insight if you are visiting or seeking new places to hustle on the go ‘in style’!
There are some attributes that make a space desirable from free Wi-Fi, a picturesque while somewhat luxe atmosphere, menu, and an inspiring energy without being too chaotic. I decided to keep my list to a minimum. Nonetheless, each location is unique and is more than a list of coffee shops.
(5 West 8th Street)
‘The Marlton Hotel’, near Washington Square Park was ‘Marlton House’ for the past century up until 2014. From the fashion crowd to professors and students alike, British financiers and tech entrepreneurs, there are many meetings of the minds, a relaxed but intentional gathering space with a lounge, bar and coffee shop. Not to mention, celebrities who choose to stay under the radar and successfully.
Maybe there is something enticing about relaxing and letting the words fall off your finger tips in a building once called home by notable names from the American literary icon Jack Kerouac to accomplished Dames Julie Andrews and Maggie Smith, during their younger years in New York.
There is an allure to the more elite plush hotel lobbies in New York, but I feel Marlton holds an appeal for a more low key purpose. It is said to be more like Brooklyn in Manhattan but I’d say it meets somewhere in the middle. While caring is sharing, its still not as well spoken about and that’s a good thing!
I had first associated ‘The Marlton’ as a place to go for a drink during the winter to step into the warmth of the fireplace with an edgy but diverse crowd not afraid to be seen but preferring a bit of anonymity. Although lately, I have been meeting a lovely new friend here, an amazing thoughtful woman, (who also happens to be a professor). She explained how she can write for hours in peace and prefers being there than in her office. I now understand.
I would not deem The Marlton a destination to covet for its menu but that’s not quite the allure. There are many options on the menu regardless. There’s an espresso bar to the right when you walk in with a large communal table, couches along the window, and for anyone that savors a negroni: they keep that on tap. (Yes. At first I thought this was strange BUT it makes sense. Maybe I just was not ‘in the know’ on such things.) Although, I am sharing this list on a fairly warm autumn day, the photo below was taken on a summer day when it was at least 90F and humid! Escaping the heat for sure! A key notable is that it does not feel like an ice box in there but rather a comfortable temperature. NOT a minor detail. Who cannot stand freezing when you just walked outside from the sweltering heat!?
* Notable Highlight
For one, eye candy by means of well the occasional well-dressed man with a sense of mystery. Overall, I would not label only one or two types of characters that may step foot into The Marlton.
(West Village, 128 Charles Street)
The Elk, on Charles Street, between Washington and Greenwich is somewhat of a peaceful oasis. If you are lucky enough to snatch a space along the window, you will feel as if you are slightly beneath the trees dangling along the sidewalk and among others immersed but calm and ‘connected’ with their Mac Books. Elk might be a small space but it’s never too chaotic. The coffee is craft and meant to be photographed for sure. Of course, if you are a fan of Macha, you can find that here, along with a long list of uber healthy options from an egg sandwich which is not just any egg sandwich (aka kale), to avocado toast and the market rice bowl.
I would say Elk is the ideal place to meet and have a discussion any time of day until early evening while enjoying the sense of calm that does exist in New York!
A treasure in the ‘west of the West Village’ a quick walk from The Standard or The Jane.
The ultimate dog-friendly café as there are always treats and water. Be prepared to smile and be tempted to make new furry friends!
(330 Hudson Street)
Cadillac House, at the corner of Hudson and Charlton, in an area of Tribeca labeled Hudson Square is a true public meeting space albeit in with a modern luxe appeal and plenty of open space. As the name denotes, Cadillacs are on full display! It is truly as quiet as you will get in this area outside of a library.
The space is hosted by Joe’s coffee and serves not only as a gallery but is also home to Retail Lab, a partnership with CFDA and currently showcasing modernist apparel by Timo Weiland and a media exhibition in the back.
The photography evokes a retro image of Cadillac’s American image with a mix of color and black and white framed photos.
* Notable Highlight
You can sit inside or almost outside in the semi-outdoor space still covered but feeling the summer air.
(West Village, Flatiron, Tribeca, UES)
There may be numerous Maison Kaysers now throughout Manhattan and you can find the same savory pastries and choose to sit along a window any time of day. Alright… I have a thing for window seats, on planes included. Likely I am not the only woman that enjoys a window view! The West Village, Flatiron, Tribeca and the UES are all great spots locations.
It’s hard NOT to find something you enjoy on their Parisian style bistro menu whether simply sitting for coffee or dessert, lunch or dinner.
From croquet monsieur to salmon and avocado or a most divine chocolate tart, enjoy.
(Worth the happiness factor! $5) Dessert before dinner anyone!? I think this is a lovely place to meet and have a pleasant conversation or find ‘peace’ in the corner!
Aside from the delicious food, the service is great and they are open till 10 PM!
(450 Washington St.)
Fika, a touch of Sweden created for New York, are all over the city since 2006. The Tribeca location has a special aura and sense of calm. (Despite being so close to the Holland Tunnel and a short walk from Soho) On the corner of Washington and Desbrosses, the rustic façade of the bricks and iron-clad doors are a reminder of the history of the industrial buildings amidst growing luxury condos and construction in this desirable Tribeca corner, a block from the Hudson River. New and old, with an undeniably peaceful air, the crane a sign of the continual evolution of this area.
Fika coffee is strong and bold but smooth in my opinion and they have the healthiest salads and sweet potato coconut soup as well.
Important note: The truffles of any kind are divine!
It may get busy here but never too much and calm enough to chat or pretend no one is watching when you need to zone out and focus.
Once again, there are champagne truffles (and other truffles)! Not to mention, the ‘Chocolate Factory’ is to your right when you walk in.
(I feel like I do have a photo to add here but it must be hiding in archives. )
(65th and Lexington)
There are many La Pain Quotidiens in NY, but there are a few which have some hidden perks. It is common to walk into any location and find people curled up with their headphones on and in their own world. The LPQ on Lexington (not far from Bloomingdales and the N/R/4/5/6 trains) is often calmer than others despite the bustling atmosphere a few blocks away. Most vital is the basement where very often there is no one.
I am a big fan of the chia muffin and a small plate of salmon for $7 but the chia pudding is lovely because you can keep the glass to make your own chia pudding when you feel like doing so! (Its very easy)
I hope you enjoy this list. Keep these destinations in mind for when you need a stylish and even candlelit setting to simply stop and connect or breathe on the go, any time of year. I have truly come to believe that atmosphere matters and can sometimes make a bad day or a good day a little better.
** I would love to hear some of your favorite locales in New York or around the world where you feel comfortable, intrigued and inspired!
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