Cafes are an integral part of the Williamsburg lifestyle. They offer more than just a place to dose up on good java—but also a space to do freelance work, write, people-watch, and maybe meet that date from OkCupid. Get a great cup of coffee and join the locals at one of these buzzy daytime dens.
The feel at this trendy coffee spot is like a designer showroom, with loft ceilings, gallery bookshelves, and an artful mix of modern and reclaimed wooden furniture. An impeccably stylish crowd (including those who can rock a fedora without looking like a jerk) regularly pack the place, making it difficult to get a seat. Take your place in line at the counter with its grand stainless steel machines, where you can order a truly amazing cappuccino and hope that faux-hawked toddler vacates his chair by the window.
125 North 6th St., Brooklyn, NY; 347-457-6160; L subway to Bedford Ave.; Open: Mon–Fri 7 am–7 pm, Sat & Sun 8 am–8 pm; Website: http://www.tobysestate.com
If you are heading here along Union Avenue and are lured in by the new Starbucks on the way, then you are missing the Brookyln-y-goodness of independent coffeehouses like The West. Named for the Brooklyn-born actress, Mae West, this cozy space is accented by vintage fixtures and lined with high wood tables. Daytimers flock here for the strong coffee from Brooklyn Roasting Co., the alt-to-80s-synth soundtrack, and the eclectic community of creatives who come to work and mingle. Stay for happy hour when the tattooed baristas are joined by tattooed bartenders serving craft beer and cocktails.
379 Union Ave., Brooklyn, NY; L subway to Lorimer St.; Open daily 7 am–2 am; Website: www.thewestbrooklyn.com.
Blue Bottle Coffee
It’s hard to tell by looking at someone if they are a coffee snob, but it turns out the label includes a wide cross-section of folks—investment bankers, skate-boarders, new moms with yoga mats, graphic designers, and European tourists just off the East River Ferry. But they all come here to sit at the sleek, industrial counter at this hotspot known for its onsite coffee roasting and local brand cache. If you take your joe as seriously as these guys, like you think “coffee is God,” then you might not mind the heavy dose of smugness that’s served with your espresso.
160 Berry Street, Brooklyn, NY; L subway to Bedford Ave.; 718-387-4160; Open Mon–Fri 7 am–7 pm, Sat & Sun 8 am–7 pm; Website: http://www.bluebottlecoffee.com
On the great people-watching corner of Havemeyer and Grand Streets sits Atlas, the quintessential divey cafe. Old wooden tables (that are sometimes rickety or sticky) fill the space with a large vintage world map decorating the back wall. One of the vestiges of the Williamsburg hipster glory days, the spot remains popular with a laid-back crowd partial to flannel shirts and beards, as well as 20-something laptop junkies in cute vintage blouses. The coffee and baked goods are pretty darn good and you can usually get a seat, except on the weekends and in nice weather when the outside cafe tables become prime real estate. This place is so authentic—I saw Blake Lively here once. So, there you go.
116 Havemeyer St., Brooklyn, NY; subways: J/M to Marcy Ave. or L subway to Bedford Ave.; 718-782-7470; Open: 7 am–10 pm; Website: http://www.atlas-cafe.com
The coffee at Gimme! is excellent, especially their cold brew. In case you need more reasons to say “Gimme!,” they also have tasty treats like homemade doughnuts. Seating is limited at this small java room, so you may have to get your order for takeout. But there’s much to see in Williamsburg, so stop hanging around in all these cool cafes.
107 Roebling St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; ; L subway to Bedford Ave.; 718-388-4595; Open Mon–Fri 7 am–6:30 pm, Sat & Sun 8 am–7 pm; Website: http://www.gimmecoffee.com