Eating + Drinking

8 Coffee Shops Doing Double Duty as Salons, Burger Joints, Record Stores, and Much More

Because even cafés have side hustles in New York City.

Photo courtesy of Mixtape Shop

We only have so much energy to fuel our New York minute…and that’s where coffee comes into play. Good thing New York City has the most coffee shops per capita in the entire country. But even with more than 3,300 coffee destinations in the five boroughs, no two cafés (Starbucks excepted) are alike. Some share space with other acclaimed businesses and some utilize an extra room to showcase noncaffeine-related passions. From a bucolic tea-and-coffee nook connected to a trendy hair salon to a community-focused annex, we’ve roasted up a list of our favorite java haunts doing double duty.

The Café: Brooklyn Beauty/Fashion Labo
Doing Double Duty As: A Japanese Beauty Salon/Clothing and Home Goods Store/Japanese Grocer/Art Gallery/Wine Club

Yeah, this place knows its Brooklyn clientele and serves up Japanese designer duds from J+B Design, organic body products, and wine club memberships (complete with urban winemaking classes) along with its matcha lattes, matcha sodas, and green tea puddings. The inconspicuous exterior opens up to an edgy, urban wonderland interior, where Park Slope kids and hipsters alike enjoy the many flavors of Pocky for sale and the funky art in the back-room gallery. And, yes, we would like some Japanese nail art with our morning cappuccino! 300 7th Street, Park Slope

Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Beauty/Fashion Labo/Facebook

The Café: PPL
Doing Double Duty As: A Hair Salon

Scrolling Instagram may have introduced you to PPL’s aesthetic: potted plants (which are for sale!) lining the aged coffee bar, perennials hanging high above, and vegan sweets placed on pretty plates. Beyond such a perfect-picture image lies the Williamsburg micro-café’s directly connected neighbor, Commune at KRASI. The Japanese-owned hair destination and lifestyle store has relaxation in mind, offering affordable treatments by Brooklyn standards alongside all-natural soaps, lotions, and candles available for purchase. Rumor has it that a well-known late-night staple also gets his signature hair snipped here. 189 Roebling Street, Williamsburg 

The Café: PlantShed
Doing Double Duty As: A Plant and Flower Shop

Consider this Upper West Side gem your one-stop shop to becoming a bona fide plant lady. The family-owned floral facility has been an upper Manhattan staple since its flagship opened in the 1950s, but it’s PlantShed’s second location, on 87th and Columbus, that has green thumbs talking and tweeting. The evergreen café is tucked among a curated selection of potted cacti, fierce ferns, apartment-appropriate trees, and blooming bouquets sprawled across every inch of the store. Few things taste as good as its creamy matcha macadamia latte or rose petal hot chocolate, but the additional aromatics from the shop’s plant selection add an extra hint of freshness to your cup of caffeine. 555 Columbus Avenue (at West 88th Street), Upper West Side

plantshed best coffee shops
Photo courtesy of PlantShed New York Flowers/Facebook

The Café: Sawada Coffee
Doing Double Duty As: A Burger Joint

Cappuccinos taste great on their own, but especially after eating a bacon cheeseburger (right?). The arrival of Chicago’s Au Cheval last month has been the talk of the foodie world, but did you know its steamy sister, Sawada Coffee, came along with it? Steer right in the converted warehouse space and you’ll find well-dressed baristas brewing up Tokyo-inspired java in the corner. We’re talking ribbons of cocoa powder intermingling with matcha, charcoal-roasted hojicha, and herbaceous Bénédictine brewed into chai if you’re taking a half day at work. 33 Cortlandt Alley (between White and Walker Streets), Chinatown

The Café: Playground Coffee Shop
Doing Double Duty As: An Art Gallery and Inclusive Community Space

The view of the famed Biggie mural is appealing on its own, but it’s the integration of the community’s talented artists that makes this Bed-Stuy coffee shop a local fave. Owner Zenat Begum considers the restored hardware store a creative playgroundtrying to get everyone to come here and integrate, play, and create things” over coffee and in the café’s annex, where a variety of artists’ works (zines, custom skateboard decks, VHS tapes) is sold. The space also acts as a hub for art fairs, poetry slams, self-defense workshops, open mics, and reproductive health drives. 1114 Bedford Avenue, Bedford-Stuyvesant

playground coffee shop best coffee shops
Photo courtesy of Playground Coffee Shop/Facebook

The CaféNinth Street Espresso
Doing Double Duty As: A Brewpub

Hops and hot coffee: an unexpected match made in heaven. While its Gowanus location is a considerable trek from its original East Village shop, this 9th Street stop feels right at home inside one of Brooklyn’s buzziest brewpubs, Threes Brewing. The brewery is more than just a beer bar, though; aside from the espresso brewing up front, the nontraditional community space also serves up butchery courses, boozy bingo, music residencies, art classes, album release parties, and whole-animal pig-out grub from the Meat Hook333 Douglass Street, Gowanus

The CaféThe Mixtape Shop
Doing Double Duty As: A Record Store

What better way to fuel your LP obsession than with a latte? What started as owner Brian Thomas’s online community for mixtape mavens turned into a proper Brooklyn brick-and-mortar in 2017, with disco deep cuts, funkadelic dance mixes, local- and world-acclaimed acts, and hundreds of other vinyls. But it’s the dedicated café up front (with Intelligentsia coffee and pastries from the James Beard–nominated Bien Cuit) that has Mixtape Shop standing out from the borough’s other record stores—not to mention the collectors and DJs spinning tracks in the back every now and then. 1129 Bedford Avenue, Bedford-Stuyvesant

Photo courtesy of the Mixtape Shop

The Café: Ralph’s Coffee
Doing Double Duty As: A Designer Clothing Store

“Does this cold brew make my butt look nice?” That’s what some shoppers at Ralph Lauren are saying in the dressing room courtesy of the trés chic café on the ground floor of the Madison Avenue store. The designer’s coffee chain is better known internationally, with locations in Hong Kong and Tokyo, but the Upper East Side women’s flagship is an appropriate setting for Mr. Lauren’s New York pop-up. Browse RL’s home furnishings and life-size, barista-dressed teddy bears if you’re taking your brew to go—either for window-shopping outside or shop-shopping inside. If you prefer sipping your steamy beverages at a leisurely pace, La Colombe blends in branded mugs and Mah Ze Dahr bites can be enjoyed in emerald green booths or underneath a dramatic chandelier in the center of the space. 888 Madison Avenue (between East 71st and 72nd Streets), Upper East Side

ralph's coffee best coffee shops
Photo courtesy of Ralph Lauren/Facebook

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