Grey Dog

Rustic to a fault, Grey Dog doubles as a freshly-minted, Brooklyn-esque eatery and a second-wave, Americana-themed coffeeshop you would feel comfortable bringing your toddler to in a Radio Flyer wagon. For your one-stop vignette of the Village in a newly-minted 1965, replete with your anachronistic yet satisfying vices of kale and coffee, scroll down, read up, and head over to the Grey Dog Coffeehouse.

Latte: 4/5

  • Texture is smooth, foamy and creamy, and gives an overall comforting swirl to the cup.
  • The espresso is mild and lacks an overarching depth of complexity of flavor, but still left us appreciating what we drank.

Pastries: 3/5

  • Standard American spread with limited options: we tried the cheesecake brownie and granola chocolate chip cookie.
  • Nothing spectacular here-- pastries don't seem to be Grey Dog's forte. Could have been fresher and didn't leave us feeling satisfied.

Atmosphere: 5/5

  • Grey Dog makes up for its baked goods by assuming the role of rustic Village coffee house, evoking a 1950's American feel (tables are maps of the continental US like what you would find on a children's wooden block puzzle).
  • The long and open cafe is filled with yellow light from candles and dim hanging lights, complimenting stipped, antique wood, exposed ceiling and brick walls.
  • Open late, this cafe plays mellow folk rock, road trip music interspersed with occasional jazz to create a sound wall between tables and the illusion of closeness-- suitable for studying during off-peak hours.
  • Epitomized by old, green-painted self-service hutch providing ketchup, salt, silverware and low-glycemic condiments.
 

Toby's Estate

Toby's Estate. What a name. Makes you think you're going to be served tea and crumpets over a scintillating discussion of horse breeds, and this Brooklyn coffee shop doesn't disappoint-- it's one of only a select few to deserve 5/5 in all categories. Right in the center of things in Downtown Williamsburg, this nearly-waterfront coffee stop combines good food, natural light and high-quality espresso to provide the perfect refuge from rain, work and the wharf. With the odd ability to make grey days seem inviting and sunny days feel refreshing, Toby's gives flavor to its surroundings and delivers time and time again. Ratings, photos and general adulation below.

Latte: 5/5

  • Toby's takes the art of coffee seriously and their latte reflects that. Beautifully presented and full-bodied in both flavor and texture.
  • Rich, creamy, and deliciously foamy on top, with espresso taste on the milder side.
  • This place also serves up a fantastic cortado--perfect if you're craving a stronger, less milky sort of drink. Why go anywhere else for coffee in Williamsburg?

Pastries: 5/5

  • Though the selection isn't extensive, it is gourmet. Everything tastes fresh, homemade and absolutely decadent.
  • Favorites include the chocolate muffin (served with delicious berries on top) and the cinnamon sugar donut (crisp on the outside and moist and wonderful on the inside). Could easily eat three of the donuts in one sitting!

Food: 5/5

  • Just like the pastries, the food here is extremely fresh, high-quality, and artisanal, consisting mostly of sandwiches and salads made with rather unique (dare we say hipster?) ingredients. 
  • Be sure to try the avocado toast or the scrambled egg, cheddar, slow-roasted tomato and espresso bacon sandwich. 
  • The portions are somewhat small, but perfect for a light lunch or an afternoon snack.

Atmosphere: 5/5

  • A large, bright, and spacious coffee shop with nearly floor-to-ceiling windows, mirrors, and plenty of seating options including a community table, couches, small coffee tables, and bar seating--feels like you are in a really hip living room.
  • Decor exudes modern antique shop (is that an oxymoron?), with Scandinavian wooden shelves lined with a variety of interesting collectibles. There is also a fancy cupping room and espresso lab in the back, and an area where you can actually see coffee being freshly roasted.  
  • Chill, laid-back indie music plays in the background, helping to create an ideal space for studying or just hanging out, Brooklyn style.