Our beloved coffee spot Little Skips is hosting its first free, open-to-the-public, coffee cupping event this coming Tuesday, February 12 at 6PM! The patrons will have an opportunity to try a variety of coffees, and to learn a little more about the qualities that make their brew exceptional! We sat down with the Little Skips’ Coffee Specialist, Sean Sullivan to chat about what we can expect on Tuesday.
By Maria Gotay
My ears perked up when a new coffee shop opened on Knickerbocker Ave; about 40 feet from my apartment. The small space previously existed as Long Lai Thai restaurant, now houses a cute, homey, and kid-friendly coffee shop with a cupcake bakery (along with a rotating gallery!). Sweet & Shiny.
Owner, glassblower and Cake Artist Elaine Li seems to be ushering the cupcake era into Bushwick. Yes, you might find a cupcake littered in a bodega somewhere else along Knikerbocker, but her cupcakes and cakes, (which she frosted right in from of me) from red velvet to dulce de leche, are delactable. Not to mention well-schmeared bagels and top notch coffee….
I love the eclectic mash of art on the walls and tables at Sweet & Shiny. From glass blown dishes, an oragami hanging sculpture to beautiful paintings and photographs, all by local artists. The next gallery show will feature the art work of children made during Sweet & Shiny‘s kids’ art workshops.
To stay posted about kids’ classes and cupcakes, like their facebook page.
By Chris Heuberger
How many coffee shops are there in Bushwick? Many! Just look at the Coffee section of our Guide. But which place is the best? What makes for the perfect caffein experience? Does atmosphere matter more than the coffee?
I chose seven popular cafes around Bushwick at random and visited each establishment— a different one every day—over the course of a single week. I would order a single espresso (no milk, no sugar—just the way I like it) and whatever else I wanted. And then I would record my experience. I rated each cafe in five categories (espresso taste, price, atmosphere, staff, and overall experience) on 1 to 5; 5 being amazing and 1 being Lana Del Rey terrible.
Keep in mind that these reviews are meant only as an introduction to the various cafes you may not be acquainted with. You are encouraged to try out each one for yourself to see which one is the right fit. Because any one of these cafes is so much better than a life without coffee…
And now chicks and dudes, I give you my reviews, in no particular order:
1. Little Skips: Cheerful and Charming (941 Willoughby Ave between Myrtle Ave & Charles Pl)
This place is everything you’d want in a neighborhood cafe. It keeps a revolving collection of art on the walls, has a laid back but lively feel, and has enough room to even hold a few music shows here and there. It’s an eclectic, colorful space that usually has a good crowd. There’s a big window in the front, letting in a lot of sunlight and speakers near the back (playing The Knife when I was there). So you kind of have to choose between quiet and dark. This is not a loungy cave like some cafes but a place to bring your laptop and get work done or meet for a brainstorming session over lunch. I also love that they have self serve water, an under-appreciated luxury if you ask me. And I do enjoy their menu. It includes a variety of coffee and non-coffee drinks—Bushwick Egg Creams, Bomb Lattes (you’ll have to find out for yourself)—and a wonderful assortment of sammies. I got the Aladdin (tomato, spinach, and avocado with hummus on whole wheat), served up by a remarkably nice staff. And oh yeah, the espresso is excellent; simple with just the right amount of bite.
2. Anthom Cafe: A French Cafe on Bushwick’s Broadway (1096 Broadway between Dodworth St & Dekalb Ave)
When I walked into this place, it was completely empty. So needless to say the atmosphere was a bit dull. I wouldn’t expect any half decent cafe to be on this stretch of Broadway anyway (right across from Lone Wolf) so at least it’s trying. But boy does this one need some sprucing up. Tacky scenes of Paris on the walls, a book shelf filled with dull art books from the 90s, and a kitchen in the back room sectioned off by yellow caution tape? On the bright side, It’s definitely unpretentious and there’s no fear of being distracted here. As for the espresso, I may just be projecting here but I found it to be equally uninspired; a little gritty and a little too sharp. But I guess Anthom Cafe would be fine to grab a coffee and a respectable $3 egg and cheese on good bread in your rush to catch the J train. I’m just saying it doesn’t make me want to go to Paris.
3. Central Cafe: Your Cute, Quick Coffee Shop (108 Central Ave between Jefferson St & Troutman St)
overall ★★★ and 1/2★
If you can get a speat near the window, Central Cafe is a nice little spot. It has 3 big lounge chairs and 3 small tables so don’t expect too much space or any out-of-the-way seating. But the staff was on their game and the menu was small but solid, featuring pumpkin and nutella lattes and some tempting sandwiches. The espresso was decent; tangy with just a little aftertaste. It’s cash only and a bit dusty but all in all, a delightful little cafe.
4. Cafe Ghia: Where to Impress Your Date (24 Irving Ave between Jefferson St & Melrose St)
overall ★★★★ and 1/2★
I’d say Cafe Ghia is the most grown up and sophisticated place on the list. It’s a great spot to come for brunch on a weekend or sit at the bar and have a glass of wine in the evening. I came in for an espresso, sat at the bar where the New York Times was waiting for me, and was waited on like I was important or something. The staff here is ridiculously nice and accommodating and the espresso is stellar; bright, airy, and smooth. The Chalkboards on the wall inform you of the continually changing but always enticing menu. It’s quite refined (especially for Bushwick) and a little more expensive but not outlandishly so. Go to this place.
5. Kavé: Another Reason to Hang Out In The Loom (1087 Flushing Ave between Knickerbocker Ave & Porter Ave)
When I first walked into Kavé, I was a bit confused by the decor. The palm plants and large wicker chairs covered in leather make me think of a tropical island. But the color scheme is decidedly brown and the cast iron gate that serves as the front door sheds no light on the situation. Those chairs though are surprisingly comfortable and the vibe here is relaxed and welcoming. It’s probably the largest cafe on the list, especially counting the courtyard I look forward to enjoying when the weather warms up. There’s an abundance of small tables to sit at with your laptop or a book. I also noticed they have a piano, a chess board, and Scrabble on hand. The espresso was fierce and delicious. The rest of the menu includes pumpkin lattes, Italian sodas, a variety of nutmilks, and a good selection of sandwiches and pastries. They also have a fairly awesome antique cash register. A great place to spend the day undisturbed.
6. Cafe Orwell: Dark, Brooding, and Delightful (247 Varet St between White St & Bogart St)
I want to like Cafe Orwell because everything is black. It is dark which is awesome but it is loud sometimes which is not necessarily awesome but it has Sessions Lager which is awesome. Being near Bogart and right next door to the Loft Hostel though, it can be tough to get a table to yourself. Too many large, communal tables if you ask me. But the espresso here is robust and flavorful. They have a good variety of sandwiches, salads, bagels, and biscotti. And even bike parking out front. It has some great old chandeliers too, a half piano, and usually a good, eccentric crowd.
7. Wyckoff Starr: Tiny and Tasty (30 Wyckoff Ave @ wait for it… Starr!)
overall ★★★★ and 1/2★
Located directly beside the beloved Hana Foods, Wyckoff Starr is probably the smallest cafe on the list. But also probably the best place to people-watch. The menu features sandwiches from Cafe Ghia (the owners of both places overlap) and drinks like The Grasshopper (iced mint mocha) and the Bees Knees (honey latte). The espresso really hits the spot though with a roasty flavor and a perky finish. To get a seat at one of the tables here is a miracle but I usually take my coffee to go and sit on one of the benches outside or hop right onto the L train. This is a busy cafe but the staff is quick, kind, and on the ball. And if you’re from out of town, be sure to mark your spot on their impressive “Where In The World Are You From?” map.
Admittedly, there are many more cafes in Bushwick and “East Williamsburg” that I didn’t get to. I’m sorry if your neighborhood caffeine provider didn’t make the list. If you’d like me to keep going (or cease and desist at once), just leave a comment.
It was at least 200 degrees outside and a real estate broker just took me and my roommate to be to see the scariest apartment in Bushwick you can imagine. “It’s alright, that ceiling is not falling, it’s just a shadow that creates that impression.” “And yes, this apartment comes with a complimentary Puerto Rican flag. …and a grandma.” It was starting to be clear that Bushwick wasn’t such a good idea (sic!). At that moment, the only possible shush answer to the worn out, tired, dusty and whiny me was an immediate increase of caffeine in my blood. A cute little corner coffee shop came in handy. Cozy, art on the walls, great music, macbook crowd, amazing coffee and a petit smiling girl behind the counter…
Approximately 20,000 coffees later, I knew Linda Thach and the story of how she created Little Skips; a café, which can’t even be called the second home of the most young people living in Bushwick, because it’s their first home, it’s virtually their living room.
Linda is a cute little spirit, and the original little skipper, with roots in Cambodia, she can’t fight something eternally positive about her personality, even when she’s tripping from fatigue. But don’t get confused by the little girl look, being very down to earth, together with Henry Gluckroft, Linda manages her own business at a very young age and is a friendly boss to a handful of employees.
Little Skips is certainly one of the reasons why Bushwick, as we know it, is expanding from the L train towards Myrtle Avenue. Furthermore, it’s a place where the local community meets and works together. It’s a very unifying Bushwick spot where ideas are discusses and are brought to life.
give me more bushwick. give me more myrtle avenue. give me more morgan stop. give me more coffee. give me more sugar. give me more punk ducks. give me more coffee. (i drink a lot of coffee). give me more sweets. give me more music. give me more air. give me more bushwick.
(photos take in Little Skips)
Kave is the coffee and espresso bar at the Loom! A beautiful sprawling patio leads to the honey-hued interior that evokes an elegant getaway in the Southwest, decorated with large leather chairs and interesing metal fixtures, Kave is among the most lovely of coffee shops in NY. They not only carry some of the best inexpensive paninis like the soft-boiled, cheddar and sriracha mayo to start, but they also make many of their coffee ingredients. Try the in-house almond milk or any other of the various syrups. Furthermore, many of their amazing baristas (cough*** Tonto) can improvise to make some of the most delicious off-the-menu drinks! A must, the homemade toasted hazelnut milk mocha, its perfect!
address: 1087 Flushing Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11237
metro: Jefferson (L), Morgan (L), Central Ave (M)
hours: Mon – Fri: 8:00 am-8:00 pm Sat – Sun: 9:00 am-8:00 pm
This little coffee shop is a true pioneer to all things Bushwick. The first coffee shop of its kind was for many years the only place to grab specialty coffee drinks and fancy snacks off the stark Jefferson stop. It is safe to say that Wyckoff Starr is a neighborhood favorite. In spite of new places emerging all around town this place has a soft spot in every Bushwick dwellers heart. Aside from serving the best banana bread, toasty bagels, and inventive coffee drinks it’s a great place to catch up with what’s going on in the neighborhood. Here’s what you should do, get the banana bread, a coffee, and selectively choose which event you are interested in provided by the neatly arranged invites and events on the table by the door. Take your bundle outside sit on the orange chairs and breathe in the crisp Bushwick air while watching the stylishly disheveled crowds make their way in after you.
address: 30 Wycoff Ave, Brooklyn
metro: Jefferson (L)
phone: (718) 484-9766
hours: Mon-Fri 7 am – 8 pm, Sat-Sun 8 am – 8 pm
If you like what’s going on off the Morgan stop then Swallow is a perfect place to people-watch and get work done. Its long hours and great coffee makes it a place to chill out, grab something to go or linger for the entire afternoon. It seems to be a favorite among the work from home crowd, but if you’re like us and need to be out in the world then Swallow will cover all of your bases. Antique furniture that includes long wooden tables adornded with vintage iron lamps and theatre style seats are part of the pleasant fixtures that add to the abiance. Along with excellent coffee, you can also find a nice selection of light lunch options and homemade cookies.
address: 49 Bogart St, Brooklyn
metro: Morgan Ave (L)
hours: Mon: 8AM – 10PM, Tue-Wed: 9AM-9PM, Thu: 7AM-11PM, Fri-Sun: 8AM-8PM
Conveniently located on the quiet corner of St. Nicholas and Stockholm, Barcey’s Coffee has become a lovely respite for the burgeoning community of freelance artists along with the ever rotating crowds of medical professionals that now have a great cafe for those long hours spend on the job. In the spirit of promoting a sense of community, many of the newly featured items on Barcey’s menu include delicately prepared baked goods from a local Bushwick baker, i.e. vegan treats like red velvet cupcakes and an array of cookies that are almost too pretty to eat.
address: 143 St Nicholas Ave
metro: Dekalb Ave (L train)
hours: Open 7 days a week: Monday-Friday 7am-7pm, Saturday and Sunday 8am-6pm
Little skips is a cute corner cafe located underneath the JMZ and just a short walk from the L train. The neighborhood staple serves up Counter Culture fair trade coffee, a variety of pastries, bagels and a premium selection of loose leaf teas. With deliciously creative menu items and a comfortable and inviting atmosphere, Little skips puts an emphasis on bringing together the local community. Stop by to sample the menu, admire local artwork, or even check out the Wednesday night Chess Club while letting coffee obsessed baristas show off their espresso skills.
address: 941 Willoughby, Brooklyn, NY 11221
metro: Myrtle (J,M,Z)
hours: Open 7 days a week, Mon-Fri 8am to 8am and Sat-Sun 9am to 8pm.
phone: (718) 484-0980