If you’re visiting the upstate NY area, there are no shortage of great independent coffee shops to check out. Even if you’ve lived upstate for a while, you may not yet have given these gems a chance. Many are tucked right in the middle of everyday communities, acting as hangouts, wifi hubs, and centers of local culture.
Java Jazz Café
Java Jazz is located on Delaware Avenue in Delmar, NY. Its prominent location, friendly staff, and excellent lunch menu make it a great place to stop for coffee or a quick bite to eat. Java Jazz is also known for their fresh-baked muffins, the recipe for which is a closely-guarded secret. The owners of Java Jazz make every effort to support local business and agriculture by using locally-grown ingredients in their sandwiches and wraps. Daily and weekly drinks specials keep the menu fresh and interesting, while live performances by local musicians brighten the atmosphere most weekends. Java Jazz is open from 7am to 7pm Monday-Friday and 9am to 7pm Saturday and Sunday.
Moon & River Café
Almost hidden in downtown Schenectady, Moon & River is an eclectic little shop. Don’t let its small size fool you; the owner has expanded the menu and makes a great effort to fill the shop with live music not just over the weekend, but every night of the week! In addition to coffee, tea, and all-natural sodas, the dessert case is always full of delicious treats. Moon & River’s extensive meal menu is 90% vegetarian, with many vegan options available. Open from 9am to 11pm daily, this little café is a great place to visit any time for coffee, food, and good music.
Coffee Planet sits right on the corner at 100 Milton Avenue in Ballston Spa, NY, and offers a mellow atmosphere in which to enjoy coffee drinks, tea, or food. In addition to weekly live music, Coffee Planet participates in First Fridays in Ballston Spa, a celebration of local arts and culture. Open 7am to 7pm Monday-Saturday, 8am to 3pm Sunday, and later for special events, Coffee Planet’s extensive offering of bagels, soups, sandwiches, and light alcoholic beverages are all good reasons to give the café a try. Gourmet coffee and tea can also be purchased from their website.
Though coffee and light fare are available, Caffe Lena is best known as a music venue. A fixture of Phila Street in Saratoga Springs since 1960, Caffe Lena has played host to such performers as Bob Dylan, Don McLean, and Ani DiFranco. Those looking to check out local talent or showcase some music of their own can visit the open mic night held every Thursday beginning at 7pm. Café hours are dependent upon performances, with doors opening 30 minutes before each show. Caffe Lena also hosts the Emerging Artist Breakout, a Wednesday night showcase for young local artists looking to break into the music scene. When you want an eclectic night out in an intimate setting, Caffe Lena is the place to go.
So the next time you’re looking for the best local independent coffee shops in upstate NY, consider visiting one of these cafes. Independent coffee shops offer great atmosphere, local culture, and delicious coffee at affordable prices. Sit and enjoy some coffee, have lunch with friends, or try fresh-baked desserts while using the free wifi available at many locations. You won’t be disappointed.