The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Coffee Shop-Wine Bar Hybrids

Posted on | September 28, 2010 | Written by Kerry-Jo Rizzo | No Comments

There are those days in New York City when you want to sit down, relax and read a book.   And sometimes you might want a glass of wine with your book.  Luckily, New York is dotted with what I like to call coffee shop-wine bar hybrids.  These are establishments that function early in the morning as solely coffee and breakfast stops, then segue into becoming an eclectic wine bar.

While living in the East Village, I first encountered a coffee shop-wine bar hybrid called Ost, located on the corner of Avenue A and East 12th Street.  Not only is their espresso delicious, but also in the evening they specialize in serving Austrian wines such as Riesling, Grüner Veltliner and Blaufränkisch. This quaint European coffee shop is a great place to keep your own company or engage with others in stimulating conversation.

Having discovered the coffee-wine hybrid, I’m dying to try Sweet Revenge on the corner of Carmine and Bedford Streets.  They have taken up the daunting task of pairing artisanal cupcakes with wine and beer.  This intrigues me because it’s hard to pair super-sweet baked goods with wines.  I am seriously interested in their Mayan Chocolate cupcake paired with the Marques de Solariego Rioja.

Last but not least, I have to mention 71 Irving Place Coffee and Tea Bar, one of the favorites of IWM employees.  At Irving, you always feel welcome to enjoy breakfast or lunch at any hour, with coffee or, later in the day, wines as well.  This charming shop serves as a morning meeting place for locals, but it maintains privacy because it’s two steps below the street sidewalk.  This place is so good that Alec Baldwin bought an apartment right below Gramercy Park just to be close to it.

Coffee shop-wine bars may seem counter intuitive and strange, but they’re really the best of both worlds. Rather than being the mullet of beverages (business in the front, party in the rear), they’re establishments that move gracefully from morning to evening, espresso to Bordeaux, muffin to cupcake. Plus, in this busy city, it’s nice to know that there’s a place you can go morning or evening, get a drink, and read a book.


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