Whether you’re working on your screenplay or just Facebook trolling, you need a break from that dark box you call an apartment. Sometimes it’s good to pack up the laptop and head for one of the numerous cafés with free Wifi where you can let wine, that noble social lubricant, slick those creative wheels.
Yup, forget about coffee. Here are our favorite spots around town for multitasking — where we can sit solo and sip a glass of wine while we work.
This Nolita gem has a vintage feel and a firmly Italian menu offering breakfast, paninis and “dinner food” (salads, pastas and mains). The wine list is mostly Old World, predominantly Italian, with a couple of Cali Pinots in the mix. Wifi is only available Monday through Friday, 11-6 p.m., preventing evening camping and encouraging unplugged nighttime drinking and dining. Of course, nobody can stop you from fiddling with your iPhone all night. 200 Mott Street, 212-966-0904
A bright café with enormous windows, Minerva is a welcome respite from small, gloomy NYC flats. It is a popular spot for writers and small groups, opening early to serve cappuccino and breakfast, followed by lunch and Italian specialties throughout the day. Their 20 wines for $20 (yes, 750ml bottles!) are a steal. Drink up and let the prose flow. 302 West 4th Street, 212-242-4800
This newcomer to the Allen and Delancey corner is a No-Cal inspired café that feels like Silicon Valley with every patron logged-in, head down and hard at work. The usual coffee and pastries are on offer, supplemented by California inspired salads, soups and sandwiches. Wine options are minimal, but Cali and NY brews are also available. 63 Delancey Street, 888-727-0853
11th Street Cafe
Thumbelina-sized café that bookends a mini-restaurant row on 11th, this casual spot squeezes in in-the-know locals throughout the day, who enjoy a range of thoughtful sandwiches, soups, breakfast bites and a handful of wines. Despite cramped quarters, 11th street attracts a full house for their weekly open mic night on Thursdays. 327 West 11th Street, 212-924-3804
Lucky enough to score a corner storefront, 88 Orchard is blessed with generous windows providing sorely needed vitamin D to sun-starved locals. Offering patrons an early start at 7:30 a.m., late-risers can still enjoy breakfast until 5:30 p.m. daily. Three reds, three whites, a rosé and a sparkling provide the vino by the glass after 11 a.m. 88 Orchard Street, 212-228-8880
Designed as a restaurant first, the Grey Lady is still work-product friendly with Wifi running once the doors open for lunch at noon. The seafood focused menu takes inspiration from her sister restaurant in Nantucket. The tables are large, offering a better workspace than the usual dainty, wobbly and cramped tables found at cafés around town. Soaring ceilings, sunlight strewn windows and an expanding wine list make for a pleasurable afternoon while on the grind. 77 Delancey Street, 646-580-5239
The Wine Spot (and Tea Spot)
Located in the thick of NYU, this duplex café features a globally inspired wine list that can be sampled by the glass or in flights. An enormous selection of teas plus sandwiches and small bites fill out the rest of the menu. Open at 10 a.m. on weekdays and noon on weekends, Wifi is strong all day, but the lights dim to romantic levels at night, so get your work done early or adjust your screen brightness. 127 MacDougal Street, 212-505-1248
Milk and Roses
Located in Greenpoint, Milk and Roses exudes turn-of- the-century New York charm. The rough-hewn space is defined by a long wall of books and working piano utilized by live blues and jazz groups on the weekend. There are a smattering of wooden tables and a menu of light bites complemented by Italian wines charmingly inscribed on Italian Par Avion envelopes, reminiscent of Il Postino. The roomy garden stays open until first frost and regular creative nights encourage commingling amongst locals. Open from 8 a.m. to midnight, the space is rarely overcrowded, almost guaranteeing a seat. 1110 Manhattan Avenue, 718-389-0160
This hip, self-proclaimed bar/living room/makeshift office/coffee house is centrally located in Greenwich Village on Sullivan Street with a second St. Marks location. Dialed into Spotify, they provide soft, background music by day, then turn down the lights and pump up the volume by night. Nearly every classic or trendy grape finds a home on the wine list (Gruner Veltliner, Gewürztraminer), hopefully satisfying most palates. 225 Sullivan Street, 212-253-5740
If you are looking for space and light (aren’t we all) but without the crowds, then we shouldn’t add this tenth spot to the list. As it stands now, Bakehouse is off the beaten path, and for adoring locals it is better left this way. However, we won’t deny others the opportunity to enjoy the industrial/rustic design of the heavenly, sunlit space with a glass of wine from the tightly edited list. Breakfast starts at 7:30 AM, followed by lunch, happy hour and dinner. Enjoy and thank us later for the free wifi find of the year. 113 Horatio Street, 646-559-9871
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 19, 2012