In December I was in NYC, and I’m sure you won’t be surprised to learn I visited many coffee shops. I was staying in the West Village, so most of the coffee shops I checked out (or re-checked out) – including Laughing Man, Everyman Espresso, Birch, Ninth Street Espresso, and Ground Support (my favorite because of the coffee) – were in Manhattan. But there was one coffee shop in Williamsburg (Brooklyn) – Sweatshop coffee shop – I was determined to get to on this trip. The reason: I needed to see – in “real life” – Timothy Goodman’s graphic art “DONT LOOK FOR LOVE LOOK FOR COFFEE” which is on the wall outside the shop. I mean come on… a sign like that is really kind of a mecca for someone like me, wouldn’t you agree?
So I convinced my friend Laurea to trek with me “all the way” to Williamsburg 😉 with the sole purpose of checking it out. I had no idea if the coffee would be good, or if the shop was anything all that special, but Goodman’s sign – which I had first seen on the beloved and revered Instagram – was all the motivation I needed. As it turns out, Sweatshop is not just a coffee shop.
Started by two guys – Luke Woodard and Ryan De Remer – who studied together in Melbourne, Australia, The Sweatshop Collective, is actually a multi-disciplinary design studio that also happens to be a coffee shop. The design studio part of Sweatshop helps businesses with brand strategy, identity, digital design, industrial design and retail environments.
To use their words, they “make flat whites and design some shit.”
It’s a small-but-good space with a kind of Nordic-looking simple decor. On the Saturday afternoon Laurea and I were there, it was popular (crowded), which means we had to hustle for two spots at the communal table or one of the few smaller tables. I’m pleased to report we got seats without waiting too long, no doubt attributed to the fact that I am especially gifted at the hover-and-swoop maneuver that is necessary in a place like that. I believe Laurea would back me on this.
I had a cappuccino, and it was very good, but, honestly, I would expect nothing less from a coffee shop owned by Australians. As I’ve said before, Australians know coffee. The shop also has some delicious “real” food options, meaning not everything available to eat there is an artisan pastry (GD refreshing). Here is a shot of the menu, which you can see includes some Australian specialties like jaffles – a cross between a pressed sandwich and a grilled cheese. I didn’t have one but it sounds delicious.
Sweatshop is good. The people who work there are nice (which I mention because it’s not a given), they have great coffee and food, and – even if you aren’t already in Williamsburg – it’s worth the extra effort for a visit. Next time you’re in NYC, check it out. Get a jaffle while you’re there, and then comment below to tell us if they are as good as they sound.
232 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211
Phone: (917) 960-7232
Hours: M-F 7AM–6PM; Sat-Sun 8AM-6PM
City-dweller, designer, writer and lifestyle consultant practicing the art of living well in the 21st Century. Fixated with good coffee, great design, and any little thing that makes life better.