Stumptown, Ace Hotel (NYC)

An espresso, seen directly from above, the brown of the crema matching that of the saucer and contrasting with the white interior of the cup. The word "Stumptown" is written in script on the top rim of the cup.Stumptown, just off the lobby of Ace Hotel in New York City, is one of NYC’s most popular coffee venues, the queues frequently extending into (and around) the lobby. I first visited in 2013, meeting up with Greg of CoffeeGuru App, but it was another three years before I returned on a “quiet” day to do a write-up.

As a coffee shop, there’s not a lot to it, although, like most Stumptown places, it’s sumptuously-appointed. In this case, a single bar runs along the window at the front, the counter running parallel to it at the back, with just enough space between them for customers to queue/wait to collect their coffee. Alternatively, you can sit in the atmospheric lobby of the Ace Hotel itself (if you can find a seat, that is). Stumptown’s Hairbender blend is on espresso, and a single-origin on bulk-brew, with both cold-brew and nitro on draft.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • The Ace Hotel, on NYC's W29th St, with Stumptown to the left.
  • The entrance to Stumptown leads directly in from the street, via this airlock system.
  • Alternatively, you can head in through the hotel's main entrance up a short flight of steps.
  • This is what greets you inside: the Ace Hotel lobby, stretching away to your left...
  • ... although this is more representative of the subdued lighting levels.
  • Full of comfy chairs/sofas, arranged in blocks around coffee tables, it's laptop central in there!
  • Looking back towards the main doors, the entrance (+ queue) to Stumptown is on the right.
  • Stepping inside, this is the view of Stumptown, which stretches off to the right.
  • Looking back, this is the doorway from the lobby, remarkably queue-free for once.
  • Directly opposite it is the door from the street, which provides step-free access.
  • This is the view from the street door, with Stumptown stretching away to the left.
  • There's no seating in here, just this long, stand-up window-bar at the front.
  • At the far end is a takeaway station, plus retail shelving above, with bags of coffee for sale.
  • The counter is at the back, with an espresso machine facing you if you enter from the lobby.
  • A view down the counter from the lobby entrance.
  • A second espresso machine sits opposite the windows. You can see the first in the distance.
  • A similar view from 2013, when everyone wore hats & the espresso machine was different.
  • Obligatory light-fitting shot.
  • The view from the window in 2016. I might forgive the van since it's Stumptown's!
  • If you get the right spot/angle, you can see the Empire State Building.
  • This is a better view from 2013.
  • Don't forget to admire the biuldings closer to hand though.
  • Back inside, this is the retail section at the end of Stumptown in 2016...
  • ... while this is some detail from my visit in 2013.
  • More from 2013, showing some of the kit for sale back then.
  • A second set of retail shelves (from 2016).
  • More merchandising/coffee, this time from by the till.
  • Finally, this merchandising/coffee is by the espresso machine as you enter from the lobby.
  • The menu is chalked up above a mirror behind the busy till in the centre of the counter.
  • The menu in more detail.
  • The obligatory bulk-brewers at the back, directly behind the till.
  • Both espresso machines are close to the till. This is the one to the right (by the lobby door)...
  • ... while the second, to the left of the till, is the one my coffee came from.
  • My espresso from my visit in 2016, complete with glass of water...
  • ... and here in close-up. I've always admired Stumptown's cups.
  • I'm a creature of habit. My espresso and a glass of water from my visit in 2013!
  • And in close up.
  • We managed to spill Greg's cappucino in 2013, but the latte art's still pretty impressive!
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Stumptown occupies a space to the left of the hotel’s main entrance. Long and thin, it’s directly in front of the spacious lobby, facing three generous windows overlooking West 29th Street.

You can treat Stumptown just as a coffee shop, using the glass door to the left of main hotel entrance. In winter, this leads through the obligatory airlock system, up a short ramp and directly into the coffee shop itself, where you find yourself at the far (right-hand) end of the counter. Alternatively, go through the main doors, up a short flight of steps and into the atmospheric lobby, with its low-level lighting and big squares of comfy sofas. To get to Stumptown, double back on yourself to the left, where a door leads to the end of the counter, opposite the street entrance. However, you may not have much choice. When it’s busy, the queue usually extends into the lobby, so you’ll end up there regardless of which door you use.

The layout’s simple. The counter runs along the back, a busy space, with baristas in constant action. It’s centred on the till, which is right in the middle, in front of a mirror on the wall behind the counter, above which is the menu. Order here, then mill around, trying not to get in the way, while waiting for your coffee. If you’ve ordered drip, you’ll be quickly on your way, the flasks conveniently located directly behind the till. Alternatively, your coffee could come from one of two espresso machines, one immediately to the left of the till, the other at 90 degrees at the right-hand end of the counter, where the queue snakes past before disappearing into the lobby. It’s sufficiently busy that both are in constant use.

Having collected your coffee, there’s a choice. You can stand at the narrow bar in the window, where, at the far left-hand end and with the correct angle, there’s a view of the Empire State Building. Failing that, take your coffee and head into the lobby, where there are plenty of sofas. However, be warned: I thought the bar was crowded until I went into the lobby where there wasn’t a seat to be had. It was laptop central, with at least two-thirds of the people working quietly away on laptops. It felt a bit like a library with very comfortable chairs!

Stumptown has its seasonal Hairbender blend on espresso, with a single-origin on bulk-brew: no guest espressos or pour-overs here. I had a nicely pulled and well-presented espresso in one of Stumptown’s awesome cups. However, it was a little too fruity for my tastes, much as I recall it during my first visit back in 2013.

ACE HOTEL • 18 W 29TH STREET • NEW YORK • NY 10001 • USA
www.stumptowncoffee.com +1 855-711-3385
Monday 06:00 – 20:00 Roaster Stumptown (espresso + bulk-brew)
Tuesday 06:00 – 20:00 Seating Stand-up window-bar, Sofas (lobby)
Wednesday 06:00 – 20:00 Food N/A
Thursday 06:00 – 20:00 Service Counter
Friday 06:00 – 20:00 Cards Mastercard, Visa
Saturday 07:00 – 20:00 Wifi ?
Sunday 07:00 – 20:00 Power Limited
Chain Yes Visits 10th February 2016

If you enjoyed this Coffee Spot, then check out the rest of New York City’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to New York City.


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3 thoughts on “Stumptown, Ace Hotel (NYC)

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