138 W 10th St
New York, NY 10014
(212) 929-0821

Coffee shops in Manhattan are like yuppies in BMWs. They're everywhere and they're interchangeable. There are two basic kinds of coffee shops. On the one hand, there are the chains (or the ones that look just like them). They vary by name and color scheme, but not by much else. On the other hand, there are the anti-chains, which are so similar to each other as to be almost a chain in and of themselves. Rebellious, in a conforming sort of way.

Like all the other indie coffee shops, Jack's gives you that warm and fuzzy feeling by being organic, fair trade, and shade grown. The trifecta of that which makes a righteous cup of joe. It's walls are exposed brick, coated in black-and-white photos, and the seating is... limited. There's the requisite bench outside. Add to the schtick the Jack's branded trucker hats that are available for sale, and you have the complete anti-chain package. To be able to differentiate them from the other indies, Jack's refers to it's coffee as "stir brewed", a marketing gimmick that my mind immediately associates with "ice brewed" Bud Ice.

Now here's the thing. I tease. But Jack's makes one hell o' a good cup of coffee.

I showed up with Speeds one Saturday afternoon and, lucking out by managing to get a seat at one of Jack's four (4) tables, ordered a Cherry Almond Scone and a cup of Farmer Dan. The scone was, quite possibly, the best scone I've ever had. It was sweet and moist inside, a pleasant change from the typical scone, which is dry and has the consistency of granite. The Farmer Dan is an Americano with a double shot of espresso. Basically, it has some kick. Speeds chose a Cappuccino, which I tried and liked, and a freshly baked Chocolate Chip Cookie, which I did not try, but which she swears by.

I then tried a cup of that Stir-Brewed Coffee, which was... coffee. Good coffee, but don't ask me how it was better than the coffee I make with my French press at home.

Maybe it was the company, maybe it was the setting, maybe it was the fact that I just got back from Atlantic City shirt intact (maybe it was the coffee), but I had one of the best times just sitting by the window BSing for the better part of an hour. The warm weather, the tree lined street, the brownstones, the happy people wandering in and out, the calm of the day. It was so thoroughly relaxing that getting up and leaving was done only because Jack's lacks a bathroom. If I could go back here every day (and get a table), I would.

Tuesday, they play live music. Thursday, they play movies.

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