I love the myriad of hidden cafes, restaurants and lovely places in New York. My first experience was with Saturdays Surf Shop, one of my favorite cafes in the city. Not only is it a surprise to find brilliantly brewed La Colombe in a surf shop, the garden outback is an absolute delight. Of course, Freemans is the classic hidden restaurant. An amazing new-American brunch mecca, it’s hidden at the end of Freeman Alley with nary a sign to guide the way. You totally have to be in the know.
Now, you may not need to be in the know to find Sweetleaf, there is a sandwich board pointing the way out front, but it does fall under the category of untraditional cafe placement, the kind of which could only happen in New York. The cafe, which is quite large by New York standards, shares the space with a real estate agency. Pretty neat.
I’ve heard murmurings about Sweetleaf for quite sometime. But they were in Long Island City. I don’t know if I’ve ever been to Long Island City and I only vaguely know where it would be on a map. Thus, when Sweetleaf finally opened up an outpost in Williamsburg, I knew a trip would be imminent.
I went on one of the excrutiatingly hot days that seem to be filling this summer up. It was ninety six and the shadeless nature of Williamsburg made it feel even warmer. Still, walking inside the dark cafe cooled me down immediately. Enough so that a cortado sounded lovely.
The cafe is dark inside, with deep wood panelling, some exposed brick and a vintage-y tile floor. It feels nice and calm, but still hip enough to embrace the alterna-culture world that coffee inhabits. I took a seat near the window in the front of the cafe and sat down.
The entire atmosphere is relaxing while still being energizing.
Now, I’ve come into the habit of ordering cortados, where I can find them, simply because you can taste the coffee better. I love me a cappuccino, but the cortado is such a fun break. It is, simply put, what I like to pretend I make when I make myself coffee.
The cortado at Sweetleaf was, hands down, one of the best I’ve had thus far. It was potent, but milky. Rich, but drinkable. They used stumptown beans and you could tell. I loved it, well worth the trek to Williamsburg. Plus, the baristas were super nice. You can’t find that just anywhere.
Basically, Sweetleaf is worth the trip. Besides, it’s right by Brooklyn Flea.
Do you have a favorite hidden place? Do you like finding new hidden places?