Top Cafés in New York City to Spend a Day Writing
Writing is often a solitary task, but it doesn’t require solitary confinement. In fact, many writers prefer being out amid the buzz of the city. J.K. Rowling began Harry Potter’s journey in the back of a coffee shop in Edinburgh. Hemingway was known for his love of Paris cafés. And, of course, many New York City coffeehouses have played host to a number poets, playwrights, novelists, and screenwriters.
Writers often find the background noise and energy of a coffee shop or café helps them focus and boosts their productivity. While some of that energy is certainly due to the many cups of caffeine being consumed, most of it is simply the hum of life. It’s invigorating, it’s purposeful, and it may lead to new insights and perspectives on your work.
Spending time absorbing the dynamic spirit of a local neighborhood café can fan the flames of your imagination and benefit your storytelling abilities in a variety of ways. Accidentally overheard conversations, people watching, chatting with a stranger – pay attention to these interactions, soak it all up, and see where it can take you and your story.
Sample the atmosphere of a few of these popular New York City cafés, as well as their food and beverages, and you may just find yourself a new favorite writing spot and watering hole that not only fills your belly, but feeds your creative spirit as well.
72 W 38th, between 5th and 6th Ave.
Closest subways: N, Q, R, W
Independently owned and operated since 2009, Culture’s popularity helped launch additional locations around the city. But it’s their original home on 38th that is still the best for a day of writing. A relatively small space, it’s worth getting up early for their fresh brew, baked goods, and to snag a corner table.
51 Astor Place, between E 8th and E 9th St
Closest subway: 6, R, W
This Australian coffee shop sees a lot of foot traffic throughout the day, but still has seating for those who want to sit and stay awhile. Huge windows brighten the space and offer views of the bustling city outside for writers seeking inspiration. A full lunch/brunch menu will keep you fueled for an afternoon of creating.
270 Lafayette St, Soho, between Jersey and Prince St
Closest subway: 6, R, W, B, D, F, M
With eight locations in New York alone, La Colombe is one of the city’s leading ladies of coffeehouses. The best location for writers is in NoHo. It’s busy, but there’s ample seating for settling in and letting your creative muse loose. The draft latte is their crown jewel and their pastries will feed your food cravings while you work.
Housing Works Bookstore Café
126 Crosby St, between W Houston and Prince St
Closest subway: 6, R, W, B, D, F, M
Stacked floor to ceiling with books, this NYC staple couldn’t be a more apropos place to spend a day putting words on the page. There’s plenty of space to park your laptop or notebook, their volunteer staff serves a wide range of food and drinks, and guidance from other published writers is just a bookshelf away.
Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Ace Hotel
20 W 29th St., between Broadway and 5th Ave
Closest subway: 1, N, Q, R, W, 4, 6
Surround yourself with the remarkable cast of real-life characters who regularly visit Stumptown in the lobby of the Ace Hotel. Add abundant seating and USB-equipped tables to that mixture and you’ll be powered up both electronically and creatively all day long.
King’s Street Coffee
121 W 30th St, between 6th and 7th Ave
Closest subway: B, D, F, M, N, Q, R, W, 1
This spacious café is equipped with all of your screenwriting essentials: long tables, outlets, and lots of great coffee. With a warm, welcoming and friendly vibe, everyone feels at home here. An atmosphere as cozy and comfortable as the coffee is caffeinated makes this midtown café a wonderful place to spend a day, or several, writing.
Dear Mama Coffee
308 E 109th St, between 1st and 2nd Ave
Closest subway: 6
Named in honor of one of rap’s most beloved poets, Tupac Shakur, Dear Mama Coffee is a must-visit for any creative. With local art showcased on its walls, if another artist’s finished product doesn’t motivate your writing, Dear Mama’s famous chocolate chip cookies may just do the trick.
60 W 129th St, between 5th Ave and Lenox Ave
Closest subway: 2, 3
If you’re seeking a quieter spot for your writing endeavors, look no further than Lenox. It attracts an assortment of Harlem designers and artists, so you’ll be able to work on your story while also possibly meeting others with stories to share. The earlier you get there the better, but everyone is welcome to stay all day. You can even treat yourself to a happy hour brew when you wrap up your scenes.
Jacob Krueger Studio
247 W 35th St, between 7th and 8th Ave
Closest subway: A, C, E, N, Q, R, W
To truly immerse yourself among other writers, we here at the Jacob Krueger Studio invite you to share an afternoon with us. For a small fee, spend the day with your screenwriting peers, brew a cup with our Technivorm Moccamaster, and enjoy free snacks. It’s the perfect place to work with and among fellow storytellers.
Toby’s Estate Coffee
125 N 6th St, Brooklyn, between Berry and Bedford
Closest subway: L
Toby’s may be known for a great cup of java, but this Brooklyn hot spot has a homey set-up like no other for a day of writing. Take your pick from a long communal table, window seat, or comfy couch and unleash your writing magic.
East One Coffee Roasters
384 Court St, between Carrol and President St
Closest subway: F, G
East One offers a restaurant in the back and an incredibly spacious café section in the front. There are plenty of benches and tables to perch on, all equipped with accessible outlets and the Wi-Fi password prominently posted. You can start your day with coffee and character development and finish it by toasting your writing efforts with a well-earned drink and dinner.
Brooklyn Kokache Co.
520 Dekalb Ave, between Skillman St and Bedford Ave
Closest subway: G
This Texas-inspired café specializes in serving authentic kolache pastries in addition to being as spacious and wide open as the state of Texas itself. They even have a backyard patio for sunny days. It’s a warm and inviting place to kick back while you kick your writing into high gear.
71 Pineapple St., between Hicks and Henry St
Closest subway: A, C, 2, 3
Locals love the quiet, cozy vibe that makes this coffee shop a hub for the work-from-home and writing crowd. The front features large windows over a bench strewn with pillows and there’s plenty of additional seating in the back. You can even swing by Truman Capote’s house nearby.
Stonefruit Espresso & Kitchen
1058 Bedford Ave, between Clifton Pl and Lafayette Ave
Closest subway: G
A rustic vibe permeates this café known for its farm-to-table cuisine, freshly made pastries, and Counter Culture coffee. With plenty of seating and an abundance of light, regulars hail this spot as a go-to for getting down to business on your laptop.
New York City Bagel and Coffee House
40-05 Broadway, between 41st and Steinway St
Closest subway: N, W, R
You’ll find the best of the basics here: great coffee, unbeatable bagels, and a simple, spacious layout making setting up your work station a snap. Tables are plentiful and include an outdoor area. Check your receipt for the Wi-Fi password to log in and start typing!
32-14 Steinway St, between Broadway and 34th Ave
Closest subway: M, R
This is Kinship’s second location and it offers much more space to accommodate their patrons. Choose an intimate spot in the back or by the bright, sun-soaked front of the house to fuel up and fire away at your screenplay.
35-57 77th St, between 35th and 37th Ave
Closest subway: E, F, R, 7
Everyone is treated like a neighbor here; it’s one of Jackson Height’s best and more popular places to sit and write. But be forewarned, there is a limited amount of time you’ll have access to Wi-Fi. If you’re keeping to a tight schedule, this coffee shop will keep you on track.
42-14 Greenpoint Ave, between 42nd and 43rd St
Closest subway: 7
This Sunnyside establishment welcomes customers with a huge display case of impressive pastries and, more importantly, they seem to encourage a nice long stay. There’s even a bookcase to explore when you need a break from your computer screen.
The Boogie Down Grind Café
866B Hunts Point Ave, between Gilbert Pl and Seneca Ave
Closest subway: 6
Fans of this spot say it’s much more than a café; it’s considered a community center. They have ample seating, an in-house book loan system, and a loyalty card. By your tenth visit, you’ll have new friends, a solid foundation for your screenplay, and earned a free drink!
605 Forest Ave, between Pelton and Oakland Ave
Nearest bus: S48, SIM30
It’s small, but don’t expect a large crowd. There is typically no shortage of cushioned seating and outlets. It’s an intimate space in which to soak up some sun through the big picture windows while finding the right words to tell your story.
SIPS + MAKER
312 New Dorp Ln, between 10 and Clawson St
Nearest bus: S76, S78, S79, S86
Handmade items by fair trade artists adorn the counters of this coffee bar making it a welcome haven for every imaginative mind. It’s a favorite of Staten Island locals who come to enjoy the inviting ambience while plugging in and letting their creative juices flow.