By GQ Editors
Ah, coffee shops. You’re either standing in line at Dunkin’ or getting lectured by film-school dropouts. Thank whatever’s holy for these places where the coffee is good, the vibes are better, and no one judges you for using sugar.
1. BARISTA PARLOR
It’s an old garage that looks like it’s staged for a photo shoot—vintage motorcycles, tattered American flags—and that fixation on the details extends to the espresso, which is served on a slab of wood with seltzer and homemade caramel.
Danny Meyer’s crazy-good restaurant in the base of the Gramercy Park Hotel also happens to have one of the best post-dinner coffee programs in the country (trained baristas pull shots here instead of stressed-out waiters), proving once and for all that money can buy happiness.
3. ODDLY CORRECT
Kansas City, MO
Yes, Kansas City. If you need any further proof that good coffee has made it everywhere, look to the best small roaster in the vast expanse of the rural Midwest.
4. JOULE COFFEE & TABLE
Checks more than a few boxes in the restaurant category—full menu, wine and cocktails, weekend brunch—but it’s got a walk-in vibe and the kind of imaginative drink menu that makes you actually want to order something as absurd as a honey latte.
Why did it take so long for the world to acknowledge the intrinsic link between cycling and espresso? Heritage isn’t the only place to pair a bike shop with a café, but it’s the first to nail both halves.
6. ADA’S TECHNICAL BOOKS & CAFÉ
Ada’s isn’t just a well-stocked bookstore and a good café in a town that’s filthy with them—it’s also the lofty, skylighted reading nook you always wished you’d had access to when you were in college.
7. RITUAL COFFEE
There are three Ritual Coffee shops in San Francisco, and each is beloved, but the one tucked into a Flora Grubb plant nursery in the Bayview hood must be the only place where you can literally see the floral notes.
8. G&B COFFEE
Much respect to G&B for not making you feel like a sellout for ordering iced coffee. Cold brews come in frosted-glass jars; baristas shake iced lattes in cocktail shakers and prepare them with almond-macadamia milk.
9. BREW AND BREW
Consider us full-fledged endorsers of any coffee place that cares just as much about brew made from malt and hops—thirty-eight craft beers are on tap at any one time at B&B—as it does about the kind made from handfuls of roasted brown beans. —M.B.
Images courtesy of brands.