For the economic center of the entire country, you'd be surprised how little great coffee flowed through these streets until very recently. Nowadays, though, NYC's Financial District, or FiDi, boasts outposts of most of the city's bigger specialty chains, like Joe Coffee, Gregorys, Irving Farm, and Bluestone Lane. Among these, a few stand out as oases where quality trumps quantity, even in the fast pace of the rat race.
Black Fox Coffee is a New York gem you'll be pleased to stumble upon in the business-and-tourist-driven Financial District, a modern chic cafe tucked inside a fully remodelled Art Deco apartment building on Pine Street. Sleek dark wood, cement floors, and marble tables complement the artistic array of lights hanging from the high ceilings, and baristas rock denim and canvas aprons with newsboy caps and collared pinstripe shirts.
Cafe Grumpy is an independently-owned operation that roasts out of Greenpoint and has a small chain of locations throughout the city. With warm lighting, high ceilings, and classical details, their Financial District location tastefully matches the architecture of the old banks and buildings of its neighborhood. The details are clean, and canvasses of Pablo Picasso paintings add warmth to this otherwise austere space.
A blessing for Financial District office-dwellers and destination coffee seekers both, this surprisingly situated space-age-bachelor-styled espresso bar is easily New York's best coffee shop located in a basement subway corridor. If you can make your way there from the maze of Fulton Center – or worst case, the street – you'll be rewarded with espresso and filter coffees from a monthly rotation of elite roasters, breakfast smoothies and toasts (when available), and a highly curated treat selection from the likes of Bien Cuit, One Girl, and Vanessa's Patisserie, all offered with much lovelier customer service than you may be accustomed to in a passageway to the MTA, where somehow plants stay alive underground. Alternative milk here is a housemade almond/macadamia "mylk".
For a walk-up operation, Brooklyn-based, Brazilian-owned Nobletree Coffee's World Trade Center space is an impressive force. Modern interior design accents like wooden and mirror panels matched with two sleek white Modbars stations make this cafe a sight to behold upon entering its small quarters. Despite seeing the coffee roaster on display, don't be fooled – the machine serves as an impressive piece of decor, as Nobletree roasting operations are conducted across the river in Red Hook, Brooklyn.