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Find all the World’s Best Coffee in Just One Neighborhood – The Upper West Side! blog image

Find all the World’s Best Coffee in Just One Neighborhood – The Upper West Side!

December 13 2021

Around the world New Yorker’s are known for their love of coffee. The NY Times recently claimed it’s a habit the city will never give up. If you ask any New Yorker, the city brews some of the best coffee in the world – and there is nothing quite like a good cup of New York coffee.

But did you know there are almost 4,000 coffee shops in Manhattan?

Between March 2017 and March 2020, the number of coffee shops throughout the city rose by almost 30% - or at a rate of five new coffee shops per week over three years! It’s a testament to just how much NYC loves a good cup of coffee.

Coffee in New York City: A Short History

Before the popularity of coffee shops, all coffee on the UWS was roasted and brewed at home in the city.

Sold as raw beans from large barrels, coffee beans were pan-roasted at home (a highly dangerous way to roast coffee beans!) until the nineteenth century. In 1884 Jabez Burns created the first self-emptying coffee roaster – an item that changed the coffee industry in the city and across the world.

A grocery store owner – John Arbuckle – became the first grocer to sell pre-roasted coffee, sparking the coffee movement that still fuels New Yorkers, a movement that shows no signs of slowing down. 

Coffee Shops on the Upper West Side

The best thing about the new coffee shops appearing all over the city is that the majority are small, locally run businesses and chains, rather than large international outlets. These independent coffee shops all offer their own quirk and something different – and everyone has their own personal favorite.

If you’re visiting the city, sampling a hot cup of New York’s best coffee should be at the top of your list – but where are the best places to grab a caffeine fix on the Upper West Side?

 Coffee beans at five different stages of roasting.

Beacon Hotel Staff Choice: Joe Coffee Company

The perfect cup of coffee on the way to work is the foundation for a good day – and the staff at the Beacon Hotel love Joe Coffee, just two minutes from the Beacon Lobby (with other locations across the city).

As well as coffee to go, you can buy freshly roasted coffee beans, organize catering, and even attend a roasting class to become an expert in coffee yourself! As your local coffee shop when you stay at the Beacon, you can’t miss it! 

Bluestone Lane

This Australian inspired coffee shop offers a healthy brunch as well as their signature roasted coffees. The founders started the company with the aim of “making the coffee experience relevant” rather than being about a need for caffeine. If you’re looking for an Instagram-friendly-breakfast and on trend cocktail – as well as a great cup of coffee – you can find the closest locations to the hotel are close to the American Museum of Natural History and Times Square. 

Irving Farm New York

Just a 2 minute walk from the lobby, Irving Farm is another independent chain of coffee roasters,  with multiple other locations in the city, that offers a little more than your average coffee shop. Established over 20 years ago, Irving Farm are experienced roasters and have previously been voted “New York’s Best Coffee”. Stop by for a traditional NYC coffee experience. 

Birch Coffee

If you’re in the city for any amount of time you will notice Birch Coffee Shops all over the city – and for good reason. Launched by two brothers looking to bring personality back to business, and move away from smartphone and news feed culture, the down-to-earth business has quickly expanded through the city.  

The chain now has coffee shops in every corner of the city, delivers coffee all over North America and also offers coffee brewing classes so you can recreate your perfect New York coffee when you get back home. For the dog lovers, keep an eye out for their Bully Blend; 100% of proceeds go towards Pitbull rescue!

Central Perk coffee shop on street corner in New York

The Most Famous Coffee Shop in the World: Central Perk

Just 15 minutes from the UWS you can find the world’s most famous coffee house. Central Perk – an entirely fictional coffee house – was a central location on the popular sitcom friends. While the coffee house didn’t exist outside of a studio, the Friends Experience have created a replica of Central Perk where you can enjoy your very own cup of coffee. We’re not going to claim they offer the best coffee in the city and it’s far from the cheapest, but the experience is a “must” for Friends fans visiting the city.

If you’re thinking about visiting the Upper West Side in the New Year, The Beacon Hotel is just minutes from Time Square, Central Park and all your “must-see” New York experiences. Learn more about our apartment style NYC suites