OST Cafe

441 E 12th St(at Ave A)New York, NY 10009
L at 1st Ave
Mon-Fri 7:30am-10pm, Sat-Sun 8:30am-10pm
Coffee Roaster
Intelligentsia, PT's

One of the coziest cafes in New York City, daytime coffee shop, nighttime wine bar, Ost (which means East in German) opened in 2008 on the corner of Ave A and E 12th Street. Since then, they’ve removed the front corner living room area and replaced it with an Avenue A-facing stool-height window counter and an additional marble-topped cafe table that sits adjacent to the library-style newspaper rack, always stocked with a full complement of daily and weekly papers. Ost Cafe also divided the coffee bar from the seating area with a half-bifurcated wine bar that doubles as a stool seating area.

They’ve been creative in dividing up the space with different seating options. On the left as you enter is a bar complete with a handful of seats, usually full. Near the window on the right are four heavy cafe tables, while the entire back corner of the cafe behind the aforementioned wine counter consists of a high-backed, padded couch banquette area where the laptop users usually huddle. Half-tiled, half-wooden floors, bent wood chairs and stools, a heavy wall-mounted mirror, and an entire wall of floor-to-ceiling wood-framed glass doors that open sideways onto Avenue A during the warmer months create a European atmosphere that’s perfect for quiet reading or writing, chatting with friends, or yes, working on your laptop.

Nods to their Central European heritage include an array of strudels in the pastry case, Austrian soda Almdudler on the drink menu, and an interesting variety of wines on the evening menu, including recent Croatian and Serbian additions. Although not consistent with their coffee, Ost Cafe does a decent job with their Intelligentsia Black Cat espresso. There’s a strict no laptop policy after 5pm, but iPads seem to be acceptable. Other things that happens at that time are happy hour, with pretty good five dollar white and red selections, and the introduction of a small plates menu including charcuterie and cheese.