Friday, December 28, 2012

☞ SHOP: Best Harlem Coffee Shop 2012

There have been quite a few coffee shops opening up in Harlem in the past couple of years but Lenox Coffee at 129th and Lenox Avenue is still one of the best ones to be found. Granted all the uptown shops are equal in the sense that good coffee is generally served up and thus the the smaller aesthetic details are the things that win us over when sitting down for the a hot cup.

On the exterior, Lenox Coffee has that old shop look that matches up nicely with the historic building it inhabits.  The striped, scalloped-edge awning is one of a kind uptown and the windows have gold leaf signage which adds to a more authentic period sensibility.  Inside, one will find aged wood floors, a dramatically dark tin ceiling, warm exposed bricks and pendant lights.  All of these elements provide a warmth to the java joint that makes it stand out above the rest.

10 comments:

  1. My barber was in that space and now I have to schlep over town to get a cut, so I differ.

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  2. Sorry for the loss of your barber shop; thrilled to have Lenox Coffee in the neighborhood!

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  3. Rhos far do you have to schlepp? Seems to me that there's a barber shop--or two-- on every block.

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  4. Nice aesthetic there, but I do want to share that last week I planned to meet 2 friends there for coffee & lunch but the place looked like a virtual office...swarming with folks nursing a single cup of something while on laptops at every turn and table. It felt like a library and like it killed the vibe I was hoping for. I told my friends to meet me elsewhere. I get it it that not everyone has Wifi, but we were looking forward to convo, laughter, chilling & lunch.

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    1. Where did you end up going?

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  5. Hrmm, I really have to disagree here. It's certainly cute enough but they serve Stumptown. Which to be honest used to be top notch but the recent changes of management and new developments have quickly turned it into Starbucks little brother.

    No serious 3rd wave coffee shop will touch it.

    There are definitely better options in Harlem this year, The Chipped Cup is certainly one that comes to mind.

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    1. Many serious 3rd wave coffee shops still use Stumptown. It never sold out - it just got smarter than many other coffee roasters.

      Any coffee can be good if it is used right, and I wouldn't say the chipped cup makes a real effort to having a good cup of coffee.

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    2. Well, CC uses Counter Culture as their roaster, who have a considerable amount of integrity over Stumptown in their practices. I think many serious coffee aficionados out their would strongly disagree with you about your claim that Stump 'got smarter'. And no, not any coffee can be good if used right. Just, no.

      But to that point, Counter Culture also rigorously train all baristas of stores that carry their beans which is a level of expertise and support not even Intelligentsia can claim.

      So I would say that Chipped Cup has indeed made a real effort in bringing quality coffee to Harlem.

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  6. @Harlemhomme: I know what you mean, sometimes it's laptop city, but last time I was there, my friend and I just ignored the library vibe. We chatted and laughed. In very short order, the guy next to us joined our convo, and several other people looked like they wished they could. Both of us are writers, but if you choose to work in a coffee shop, you take the atmosphere you find. I've met some interesting creative types here. I think some people might just be intimidated and trying to look serious.

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  7. Lenox coffee is thankfully a refuge where people respect others need for quiet to work or read as that is what most go there for. For those who want to be louder without disturbing others, there is the nearby Astor Row Café where the culture is louder.

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