Joe Coffee is a great go-to coffee shop where the product is excellent, and—wait for it—the service isn't snooty! The company prides itself on hospitality, is family-owned, and provides a well needed dose of caffeine after a long day wandering through the busy streets of Manhattan. It's also an old-school approach to a coffeehouse (that means cash-only, and no WIFI)—a great place to relax, reflect, and recharge.
There are several locations, including one inside Grand Central Station.
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Sipping a Cup of Joe in the Heart of the West Village
The West Village neighborhood of New York City is my personal favorite, not only because it's where I spent my first two years as a New Yorker, but because of its quaint row houses, tree-lined streets, and local culture. This is the New York that many tourists miss when they stay in Times Square.
Joe the Art of Coffee is a great example of one of the many gems in this area: small in size and always hard to get a seat, interesting people watching (my most interesting run-in was Jen Aniston sitting next to me one evening), cash-only and no Wi-Fi. This is not a place where you come for work or to check emails; rather, it's a place where you meet a friend for good conversation, bring a journal to put some steamy thoughts on a page or just come to soak up the experience of being there, along with the exceptional coffee, chai lattes, and pastries—try the vegan salted chocolate chunk cookie. You won't be disappointed.
All great coffee shops seem to have a similar formula: affable and eccentric baristas, pastries, purchasable art and photography hanging from brick walls, interesting conversations, slow indie music, excellent coffee, dogs - pugs to be exact - and Joe the Art of Coffee in the West Village is no exception to this unwritten rule.
Settled in a small building at the tony, tree-lined corner of Waverly Place and Gay Street, the sign in front of Joe declared, “Smart pups know where to fetch good coffee” and as advertised there was a steady stream of labradors, beagles, terriers, and pugs on their daily walks who stopped to greet one another. We sat at the stools at the open window facing the street and watched this friendly parade all morning. Then there was the people-watching: students, financiers, professors, yoga-philes, hipsters, well-dressed Europeans, interloping tourists (ahem): Such a diverse cultural taxonomy.
You are neatly packed into a small space at Joe and seats are limited. The coffee is smooth, the pastries sweet and effective, the pace frenetically cool (how I would describe the Village itself). In a somewhat contrarian stance, there is no free wi-fi at Joe as if they are nudging you to put down the electronic device, disconnect from the interweb and just enjoy the Art of Conversation, the Art of Reading a Book, the Art of Dog Watching as you drain your great coffee.