The Best Independent Coffee Shops In Fort Greene & Clinton Hill

The Best Independent Coffee Shops In Fort Greene & Clinton Hill
Photo courtesy of rikahi.
Photo courtesy of rikahi.

When news broke last month that Starbucks is coming to Myrtle Avenue — 394 Myrtle, to be exact, between Vanderbilt and Clermont Avenues in the former Home & U space — you reacted swiftly and with near-universal alarm. “Bleh. What makes the neighborhood vibrant is its focus on local businesses, unique to the area,” wrote a reader going by the name of Cheev. “I’ll stick with Red Lantern. Thanks, but no thanks, Starbucks,” added reader Milyorkee.

The comments board on our website and on Facebook lit up with everyone vouching for their favorite local coffee spot, so we thought we’d list a few of these, plus other favorites around town, although we focused a bit on the places that specialize in coffee, as well as those along Myrtle Avenue near where Starbucks will arrive. Because what better way to support local merchants than to vote with your wallet and taste buds?

Myrtle Avenue

  • Brewklyn Grind (557 Myrtle, between Emerson and Classon, across from Pratt Institute) is all about the coffee, made in Brooklyn by brothers born, raised and still living in Brooklyn. Everything is worth a try here, and you can even bring a bag of their beans home with you.
  • Reader-approved Red Lantern Bicycles (345 Myrtle, between Carlton and Adelphi) is known for their vegan milks (pistachio! almond! sunflower! maple!) to go with their teas, coffees, and fresh-baked goods.
  • Reader Katie recommends Putnam’s Pub’s (419 Myrtle Avenue, at Clinton Avenue) Irish and Mexican coffees ($9/$8), made with Jameson and Kahlua, respectively.
  • Peck’s Homemade (455 Myrtle Avenue, between Waverly and Washington) is perfect to stock up on caffeine to go with your assortment of picnic items now that spring is here.
  • Pillow Cafe (505 Myrtle Avenue, between Ryerson and Grand) is cash-only, but the coffee is worth it and you can get one free with every 10 you buy (grab a punch card the first time you go).

Willoughby Avenue

DeKalb Avenue

  • Bittersweet (180 DeKalb Avenue, between Cumberland and Carlton) is more sweet than bitter, but only because this no-frills spot by Brooklyn Tech and Fort Greene Park is open early and stocks delicious pastries to complement every cup of coffee you get throughout the day.

Lafayette Avenue

  • La Bagel Delight (73 Lafayette Avenue, between South Elliot and South Portland) makes a fantastic cup of mocha, chai, straight black and any other type coffee you desire, which is awesome considering how much food for all meals you can get at this no-frills, friendly-service cafe.
  • Right across the street, Baba Cool (64B Lafayette Avenue, at South Elliot Place) has delicious food, but their chai tea is what goes with everything. It’s comforting and feels like a treat at the same time.

Fulton Street

  • There’s nothing like a large cup of coffee to get you through a busy day in the recording studio or just running errands around town. Fortunately Hungry Ghost (647 Fulton Street at BRIC and 781 Fulton Street, at South Oxford Street) is on hand for both. We recommend the double ristretto espresso or drip coffee.
  • Greene Grape Annex (753 Fulton Street, at South Portland) is known for their day-long cafe with wine and beer, but also has a bustling morning coffee crowd, too.
  • Outpost Lounge (1014 Fulton Street, between Downing and Irving) doesn’t just do coffee (there’s a bar — the alcohol and the juice kind) but it’s not something to overlook, especially now with the lovely, huge backyard garden open. Drink up!

Let us know in the comments where and who you think should get a shout-out here, too, and we’ll add them to the list!