Beverage pourers have seen much rise and fall in Tribeca, the neighborhood that once hosted the city's strangest coffee bar (RBCNYC, RIP) and now seems to act as a magnet for mixologists and liquids-geeks from around the city. Its latest child, Bikini Bar (yes, it's called that, and no, no one inside was wearing bikinis the day we visited) sits on a cozy stretch of Duane Street, and houses the neighborhood's first surfboard-lifestyle themed espresso bar. (Note I said "neighborhood" and not "city". I'm looking at you, Lost Weekend—though you have more shaving supplies than surfboards.)
Bikini's coffee bar is the brainchild of owner Aileen Oser and coffee director Danielle Glasky, the latter a multiple-time regional barista champion (from her days with Atlanta's Octane Coffee and NYC's Stumptown) now striking out on her own in the thatched paradise of Tribeca. The "sip" part of Bikini is equipped with a Faema E61 Legend espresso machine, Beehouse pourover drippers, cold brewed coffee, and, soon we're told, something called a "Tiki-Cino" (may we suggest adding World Barista Champion Mike Phillips' Espresso Mai-Tai to the menu, as well?).
Though Bikini joins the ranks of established Kaffe 1668 (who are crowding up Greenwich Ave with multiple cafes at this point), nothing else in Tribeca and probably the world comes close to Oser's vision of a multi-phase coffee-house featuring surfboards, paddleboards, raw juice, and Oser's own headquarters for bikini design. (Whether bespoke bikinis will be orderable on the menu alongside the Tiki-Cinos remains to be seen.)
For now, this once-a-rattan-restoration-shop turned cafe will dole out enthusiastically crafted drinks (the beans are Counter Culture Coffee's) from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, with ample seating in which to enjoy your uniquely Polynesian coffee lifestyle below Canal Street. No food yet, but stay tuned for puu-puus and, well, anything else is possible.
Bikini Bar Sip 'n Surf
About the author: Liz Clayton drinks, photographs and writes about coffee and tea all over the world, though she pretends to live in Brooklyn, New York. She is currently compiling photographs of the best coffee in the world to be published by Presspop in 2013.