A stock image of a quiet tucked away coffee shop.
Photo credit: Unsplash.

A Guide to the Best Brooklyn Coffee Shops

What are the best Brooklyn coffee shops? Well, that depends on who you ask and how rigidly you define "coffee shop."

Whether casual and in plain sight or ornate and tucked away into a lot you'd least expect, the best Brooklyn coffee shops all have two things in common: slinging quality mud and cultivating unique spaces you'd actually want to spend some time in.

That can mean enjoying your morning cup in a converted warehouse space with massive skylights and a world-class sound system or sipping cold brew with a joint clasped on a lazy Sunday at one of a couple scattered tables under a small awning on a quiet Clinton Hill corner. In fact, depending on who you ask and how rigidly you define "coffee shop," it could also mean almost anything in between.

But as a quick scan of the main strips in neighborhoods across the borough will reveal, while Brooklyn's specialty coffee market is now firmly among the nation's most dynamic and ambitious, it's probably one of the most saturated as well. So finding a decent pull of espresso is a bit harder than a Google Maps query might suggest. And with the cost of this precious, bitter bean showing no signs of easing, it's probably worth being a touch more discerning with your $4.00 to $6.00 dollars on average.

So we combed the countless listings, sorted through some local chatter, and endured a fair amount of pretty mediocre pours, to figure out where that increasingly untenable price per cup gets you more than just a needed jolt before work.

Here are some of the best Brooklyn coffee shops,

Where the reading material's as good as the coffee.

Playground Coffee

1114 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11216

Playground Coffee, outside on the sidewalk in Brooklyn. Playground Coffee. Photo credit: Michael Gonik.

Since opening its door in 2016 at an increasingly busy intersection in Bed-Stuy, Zenat Begum's ground-level corner unit has taken on a range of forms that mirror the changing needs of a neighborhood in rapid transition. Playground Coffee has been a community space, an art gallery, an online radio station, a local mutual aid hub, and for the better part of the last five years, the back half of the shop has been one of the most expertly curated bookstores in the area, exclusively stocked with titles from Black and brown authors.

Head Hi

146 Flushing Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11205

Recently relocated from their original spot near Fort Greene park, Head Hi now stares down Steiner Studios from across the street. But the shop's many marvels — columns of books and zines on art and design, a hi-fi sound setup put to regular use, an all-too-rare no-device policy, and even an occasional lamp show — could provide just enough displacement and/or distraction to almost make you forget you're in the Navy Yard.

Where walls are optional, but vibes are mandatory.

The Lot Radio Kiosk

17 Nassau Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222

If you happen to be in need of a quick mid-thrift jolt, or just need a break from the perpetual confoundment of spending time in Greenpoint, the coffee kiosk at the venerable and always lively Lot Radio outpost is just the spot to enjoy a cup and relive your slightly less needy days. Pull up alone or with a crew and enjoy a slug or two in a long stretch of gravel with outdoor benches, chairs, and tables scattered and blasted with stickers, as the long-running online radio station plays live and recently archived sets from the week's slate of programming. Last cup usually gets served sometime between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., but you can (and probably should,) stick around for beer and wine service to kick in at the foot of a few well-placed firepits.


415 Classon Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238

As you've probably gathered by now, the concept of a "coffee shop" is becoming increasingly nebulous. Around these parts, you can find a decent cup at a number of unsuspecting establishments, including record stores, ceramics shops, and florists. But no matter how you square the term, the central qualifier has gotta be what's in the cup. And for our dollar, some of the best pours in the borough are flowing out of this tiny cart on a quiet corner of Clinton Hill, where the cold brew is top-notch, the owner is a ham, and the local paw patrol is usually putting on a show for whoever will watch.

Where to work (and play) remotely.

Milk & Pull

348 Malcolm X Blvd, Brooklyn, NY 11233

A Stuyvesant Heights mainstay now a hop and skip down the block from its initial location, Milk & Pull has earned its slot amongst the neighborhood's most trusted cups. The redesigned shop pairs sleek marble and modern wooden furnishings with a loose and warm energy, ideal for both chipping away at endless inbox excavations or a screenless stay, feet up, pastry in hand, and sinking into a book you found on the sidewalk.

Public Records Cafe

233 Butler St, Brooklyn, NY 11217

Known for their renowned sound system(s,) deliciously delicate cocktails, and some of the borough's most consistently stellar music programming, Public Records isn't the first place that comes to mind for good coffee in Gowanus. But it probably should be. The late-night giant is now (limitedly) opening their verdant concrete compound on Butler as a cafe during daylight hours on Thursdays and Fridays. And frankly, between the expertly curated crates of vinyl for sale at the entrance, to the full menu of coffee and espresso drinks (and wildly ornate pastries,) to the Devin Ojas-designed speakers chirping the barista's selections, PR has cultivated a pretty singular first cup of the day experience.

Sey Coffee

18 Grattan St, Brooklyn, NY 11206

Arguably the proof of concept to Brooklyn's specialty coffee come-up, Sey has managed to turn their converted industrial space into an essential stop in Bushwick. This long plant-and-light-filled space with lots of brushed aluminum and not nearly enough seating serves some of the city's most prestigious in-house beans, which are apparently roasted somewhere on the property. If you do manage to shoulder out a spot, make sure to pull your eyes off the screen a few times to observe the borough's creative class in their natural element, scrapping for elbow room, caffeine, and an ostensibly posh place to pretend they’re busy.

Where big names earn their keep.

Partners Coffee

125 N 6th St, Brooklyn, NY 11249

One of Brooklyn’s most identifiable names for specialty coffee is headquartered on a bustling stretch just off the main strip of Bedford Ave. At their brick-and-mortar, Partners naturally serves a signature blend named after their busy crosstreet, but usually stocks their full range of colorfully bagged beans. Grab a cup for the road or pull up and knock out a day’s work at a manageable clip in their massive sun-drenched cafe. The company’s Williamsburg location also hosts barista training sessions for those looking to refine their pour or finally learn how to top their latte’s with the most darling leaf imaginable.


69 Grand St, Brooklyn, NY 11249

A brand that claims to have “the freshest cup” in town, Devoćion lets you be the judge at their flagship Williamsburg roastery and cafe. Not only can patrons observe the on-site toasting and roasting of Colombian beans that supposedly arrived from their respective origin farms within the last few weeks, but enjoy your espresso in Devoćion’s serene space, which is lined with red brick, raw steel, and towering skylights. It also happens to be a short skip from the waterfront if Domino Park proves too crowded to comfortably sip a cup in (trust that it can, and more than likely, will.)

Variety Coffee

146 Wyckoff Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11237

Of the six locations comprising the Variety Coffee empire, the company’s Bushwick banner on arguably the prize of the fleet. Huge, bright, and serving some of the most affordable locally roasted specialty coffee you’ll find anywhere in the continental US of A, it’s a perfect pitstop for that quick fix on the way to or from Maria Hernandez Park. But also, with some of the most abundant seating (indoors and out,) you’ll find anywhere in the area, it makes for a pretty adequate satellite office for the day.