71 Irving Place
New York, NY 10003

If you're like me and had just polished off two massive bottles of Sapporo, had eaten way more than the legal limit of sushi, and found yourself wandering in Gramercy, then you'd have found yourself drinking coffee at 71 Irving Place way later than anyone in their right mind should be drinking coffee.

For the record, I was not drunk. Just vaguely bored. Here I was, a 20-something on a Friday night with no date and no plans to stay up late. Lucky me. Should I have chased sushi with coffee? Probably not. Should I have had coffee so close to the start of the next day? Probably not. Nevertheless, there I was. So I wandered into 71 Irving Place to kill some time.

But there are far worse places to kill some time than at 71.

71 was packed with other 20-somethings studying or chilling with friends. There was a very college cafe feeling to the place that night. And that's a complete contrast from when I'd been here in the past. The last time, for instance, everyone was in their forties. Maybe it was professors' night. It goes to show that you shouldn't have preconceived expectations about things.

Having been to plenty of other coffee bars, there's something quaint about 71. Brooklyn's Tea Lounge, which is great, is like a dorm building lounge with it's large sofas, worn tables and everyone working on laptops or reading. Midtown's Macchiato is ultra trendy. Queens' Theater Cafe is like a European sidewalk cafe. Alphabet City's Alt Coffee, which is now closed (shock of shocks), was like drinking coffee in a homeless shelter.

But 71, being right at the sub-sidewalk level of a nineteenth century brownstone, is very residential Manhattan. I can picture Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks here, sitting in one of the few seats outside, in a warm argument. It's homey. But maybe I say that because I grew up around here and homey means brownstones, tree-lined streets, middle-aged ladies walking small dogs, and terrible parking.

71 has a rather large menu. In the morning, you can order breakfasts like eggs, bagels, granolas and waffles. During the day they make sandwiches like black forest ham, turkey, Tuscan chicken, Genoa salami, and egg salad, as well as a range of paninis. There are also a variety of quiches and salads. This late at night, though, no one was eating unless it was dessert. Their desserts aren't static, but this time they had pecan bars, Oreo cheesecake bars, red velvet cupcakes, apple strudels, and Brooklyn Blackout cake, which looked like the chocolate cake to end all chocolate cakes.

Of course, since this is a coffee bar (coffee and tea bar), you have plenty of hot and cold drink options, too, from lattes to cappuccinos to chais to hot apple ciders to plain ol' milk. I had plain ol' coffee.

My medium plain ol' coffee, which was nothing special (no offense Irving Farm) and which was in-between a Starbucks tall and grande size, cost $2.00. I was up till 4am.

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