Everybody loves a good bar crawl, but what about a coffee crawl? Whether you have lived in the neighborhood all your life or are just visiting, this is one of the best ways to experience a city’s culture. In our latest blog post series, CUPS is taking you neighborhood by neighborhood, city by city, to walk you through the perfect day of local coffee.
What better place to start than Williamsburg? Although this is by no means an encompassing list of the great CUPS locations in Williamsburg (if your coffee crawl included all of them, you might get caffeine poisoning), we’ve put together a few of our favorites. Without further ado, here’s the map that will be your personal guide to a walking tour of Williamsburg’s vibrant coffee scene (and some other cool stuff too).
Are you ready for a full day of caffeine and activities? Here’s the lowdown on the route we chose:
The adventure begins at Sweetleaf. A convenient walk from the L train, Sweetleaf sits right near the waterfront. They have some incredible locally-roasted coffee, and their scones are to die for.
We recommend getting your coffee to go and walking a few blocks northwest to East River State Park, which is a pretty waterfront park with great views of the river and Manhattan. If it’s a Saturday in the summer, you might want to pass on the scone, because the park is home to Smorgasburg, a massively popular food flea market where you can find almost any kind of food imaginable.
There are tons of other cool spots to check out right by Sweetleaf. We would recommend Artists & Fleas, a year round flea market full of clothes and home goods, and Rough Trade, a vinyl record store/live performance venue housed in a big warehouse. Rough Trade always has cool events going on, and there are even ping pong tables nestled in the back on their upper level.
Since we know there’s no way you woke up and started doing this coffee crawl before like noon, we’re going to take a brief detour for some ice cream, at the only spot on the list that isn’t a CUPS location, or even a coffee shop. Hopefully it’s a nice summer afternoon, and some ice cream will be exactly what the doctor ordered.
As the name suggests, Oddfellows are known for all kinds of crazy ice cream concoctions, including alcoholic ice cream and popsicles, and a rotating selection of off-the-wall flavors you will never find anywhere else.
If you’re feeling more outdoor activities, take your snack to go and walk out to the end of 3rd, 4th, or 5th street – all three will give you access to a public pier where you can get even better views than at East River Park.
By now your caffeine buzz is probably wearing off, so back to the coffee! Next up is Devocion, whose living wall makes their space one of the most beautiful coffee shops in the city. These guys own a farm in Colombia where they source all of their beans from, and they roast right in the shop at this location, so you’ll get only the freshest here.
The area around Devocion has a number of places to check out, as well. Around the corner, you’ll find Nitehawk Cinema, a movie theater showing indie films that serves food and booze right to your seat, and a few blocks further north, you’ll find the German beer hall Radegast, where there’s usually a jazz band playing and delicious sausage and pretzels to be had. Finally, there’s the famous artisanal chocolate shop Mast Brothers (need we say more than “famous artisanal chocolate shop?”).
This place is the coolest. Jane Motorcycles is a motorcycle shop that doubles as an espresso bar, and if you’re really looking for a deal, they’ll throw in a free espresso with the purchase of a motorcycle. Not bad, right?
Even if you’re starting to get sick of coffee (keep in mind we still have two spots for you to check out), it’s worth a visit to check out the bikes and all the other stuff they sell.
Our path has mostly kept to the waterfront so far, but now we’re going to take you inland. No coffee crawl of Williamsburg is complete without a visit to Sweatshop. This little gem is run by two Aussies and specializes in their home country’s style of coffee drinks – if you’re craving a Flat White, this is the place to get it.
We would highly recommend trying the Sparky, which is iced espresso mixed with lime and tonic water. It may sound strange, but this unlikely combination is one of the best ways to cool off on a warm summer day.
6. The West
By now, you might be sick of drinking coffee, and/or experiencing the first signs of caffeine poisoning setting in, in which case you are in luck! The West is a cafe that doubles as a bar, making it the perfect place to transition from a day of drinking coffee and exploring the area to a night of drinking liquor or beer and retracing your steps (although you can only use CUPS for the coffee).
Whether you’re drinking locally-roasted coffee, craft beer, or a nice cocktail, The West is a great local spot, and they always have all kinds of performers coming through to put on shows. They also have an excellent backyard.
Once you’re finished at The West, consider heading across the street to Barcade, where you can get your fill of old-school arcade games in a place with a fully-stocked bar and impressive craft beer selection. Your inner child will thank you (as will your inner beer fanatic).
Hope you enjoyed our coffee crawl of Williamsburg! Did we miss your favorite spot? Is there another neighborhood in one of the CUPS cities where you want to see the next coffee crawl? Let us know in the comments!