Uptown Hideaways: NYC Coffeeshops I Love

I spend a good amount of time on my laptop. I’m always writing an article, reading the news, running social media, editing videos, or creating content. I work for myself and I like it that way – but sitting at home tends to get me feeling a little bored. So in true #digitalnomad fashion, I hunt for coffeeshops in NYC. Here are three of my favorites in northern Manhattan.

1. Sugarhill Café (410 West 145th Street between St. Nicholas and Convent, downstairs): Ambient, modern, social vibe + a varied menu. 


This is a go-to hang for me. They have good coffee and tea, awesome yogurt parfaits (it’s a not-so-secret secret that I buy them like… all the time), decent wifi if you know how to access it, and good music. The staff are usually pretty friendly, and the overall decor is quite chic. It’s rustic and earthy – red counters are surrounded by books and deep brown woods, christmas lights around key holidays, and warm lighting. They even have highly curated wines and a rich selection of other beverages. They occasionally host open-mic or wine-tasting events.



It’s a little on the pricey side, but the avocado toast is pretty bangin. There’s great ambiance and interesting people hang out here. It’s more crowded than I would prefer during peak weekend times, so a cozy spot to work or study can actually be pretty coveted.

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An actual salad they made me at Sugarhill Cafe.
An actual salad they made me at Sugarhill Cafe.

West Harlem / Sugar Hill is a pretty residential area, and it has become the hip area for students, artists, musicians to live, as well as a popular locale for AirBnBing tourists. As a result of the latter, they even have a KeyCafé box (its a safe tech solution to hiding keys under welcome mats or potted plant) for tourists to get in and out more easily. 

2. The Monkey Cup (1730 Amsterdam Avenue at 146th): Tiny, eco-friendly neighborhood place + gourmet coffee. 


This is a monkey-themed coffeeshop that has leafy greenery as its ceiling decor. The owners are a Venezuelan couple raised on super gourmet brews, and they’re kind people who love the neighborhood. They actually send money to support the conservation of the White-faced Gibbon, a type of primate, which I think is pretty cool. They put treats in brown paper bags decorated with cartoon monkeys (these are made by an actual local artist using sharpie markers), and they create all their latte and drink art by drawing adorable,  syrupy monkey faces. Ask for a Monkeyccino – they’ll know what to do. And hey do legit pour-over artistry – there are fancy brewing machines with fancy shapes and everything.


The round tables are very small (too small for two people to comfortably share laptop space from either side) and the place feels packed with 4 people or more – but usually, it’s not crowded.

Their pastries are pretty dense and there are no real lunch selections, so it’s more of a beverage place.  The staff are super friendly and the music tends to be pretty jazzy. Their prices are also lower than Sugarhill Café, which is around the corner. Who has the better coffee? You decide.

3. The Chipped Cup  (3610 Broadway at 147th Street): Shabby chic student / artist / musician / creative hangout. 

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This was the first really ambient coffeeshop to open up in the area, when it started becoming a major uptown hipster hang a couple years back. It’s a basement level place that has a run-down / shabby chic vibe, lots of artwork on the walls, couches and armchairs, long tables, and really eclectic music.

You need to purchase something in order to get the wifi code (I presume this business model is a key part of their revenue, since it’s unusual to require this nowadays). The really awesome part about this place is not the “fair-trade” poptarts and brownies (they’re not really fair trade, I just call them that because they’re unbelievably expensive)… it’s the PATIO / BACKYARD.


Behold. Your uptown summer oasis. Yes, the wifi does reach back there. It’s so cozy.

Don’t forget to ask for latte art. Which one seems like your vibe? Let me know with a comment!

Written By

Exenia is a professional singer, dancer, and travel blogger based in NYC. Her original EP, "5 Sides," can be found on iTunes or at Bandcamp. She has previously written for Brit + Co, and currently contributes dance-related content for West Coast Swing dancers at WanderingWestie.com. She lives an #EccentricLife of her own creative design, and seeks to inspire others to do the same. Follow her adventures on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube @exeniamusic!

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