Coffee shop by day, cute wine bar by night
Location: 58 E 1st Street , NYC, NY, 10003
Open: 8am–5pm daily (Coffee Bar)
Price: $3.75 Macchiato
From the creators of the hidden Alphabet City gem, Summit Bar, comes the cities newest hybrid coffee shop. This time the mix is coffee bar by day, cute seafood and wine bar by night. Prima, which opened in the middle of the winter, is a new place I happened to stumble upon after trying to find a seat at the tiny and always crammed Bluebird Coffee Shop (one of my all-time favorites) just a few doors up. Upon entering Prima I was surprised to find it empty despite good Yelp and New York Times reviews and more importantly because they were serving Ninth Street Espresso (caffeine addicts know that means something). After watching many people walk by, stop, take a step back in confusion and walk on, I realized that its emptiness had nothing to do with the coffee but more to do with Prima’s identity.
From the outside Prima looks more like a brunch place and from the inside a trendy wine bar! What it does not look like is a place to grab your morning coffee and sit and read a newspaper. After my second and third visit I soon learnt that’s exactly what this place is for (until they turn the coffee machine off at 5pm and change around the tables). Since then each and every time I have entered Prima it has been near empty, or perhaps with one or two others who have discovered the serenity of this place in the heart of the busy East Village (a true luxury). My favorite things about Prima are the free Wi-Fi, the long benches to spread out on and the relaxed staff that leave you alone to sit as long as you want. I began to make weekly visits to Prima to sit by the floor-to-ceiling winters on cold but beautiful winter days to watch the world go (and to work of course!).
While it has been a bit slow to start Prima has an abundance of potential. The coffee itself is delicious and continues the excellent reputation that Ninth Street Espresso has so rightfully earned. Although it not the best coffee I have consumed in New York, the key to Prima is consistency: no matter who made my Macchiato or when, it was always good. Excited by my new discovery I took a group of friends to Prima for a glass of wine. While I loved the space at night (beautiful candlelit marble tables to fit six, dark enough to feel like you’re sitting outside in the twilight as the nights stars shine through) and my wine was good, some of my friends weren’t happy about the price of the cocktails, that is until they tasted them. And now after a few months of opening, Prima is serving brunch during the day … I’ll be back! (LS)
What else is in the neighborhood?
- Bluebird Coffee Shop – A must visit for their coffee and the cheddar chive brekkie biscuit
- Katz’s Deli – Relive the famous scene from When Harry Met Sally
- Economic Candy – A store filled with candy from all other the world
- East Village – Take a stroll through this grungy maze of boutiques, vintage stores and bars.