Patent Coffee

The glass double doors at the entrance to Patent Coffee in the Radio Wave Building in New York City. The left one is open, beoynd which are broad stone steps descending to basement, with the counter of Patent Coffee visible at the back.In what will be a common refrain in my write-ups from this visit to New York City, today’s Coffee Spot was recommended by my friend Bex of Double Skinny Macchiato. Traditionally, I’ve stayed in Chinatown when visiting New York or commuted into the Port Authority Building on W 42nd Street. This time, it was a work trip, so I stayed in Midtown, one of Bex’ regular haunts, hence all the recommendations.

Patent Coffee, a neat little basement coffee shop in the Radio Wave Building, was just 1½ blocks from my hotel. There’s not a huge amount to it, just a simple counter at the back, along with a small, L-shaped bar at the front, which provides the only internal seating. There is, however, in the modern, COVID-19 way of things, an outside terrace on the street, alongside the pavement, which provides plenty more seating.

Not that lack of size limits Patent’s ambition, with a standard espresso-based menu joined by a single-origin on batch-brew and two more on pour-over through the Kalita Wave. There’s also a selection of seasonal drinks and, if you’re hungry, cake and pastries. Note that Patent only has disposable cups, so don’t forget to bring your own.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • The Radio Wave Building on W 27th St, New York City, seen when coming from 6th Avenue.
  • This is the view coming the other way. See those glass doors to the right of the arch?
  • Well, they're not so visible from the other side of the street, where they are masked...
  • ... by waist-high wooden planters, which protect an outdoor seating terrace.
  • Turning around, here's an uninterrupted view of the doors, home to Patent Coffee.
  • Let's go in, shall we? And down.
  • And here it is, Patent Coffee, occupying a neat little basement.
  • The counter is at the back, in the left-hand corner.
  • The view looking back towards the front of Patent Coffee and the stairs.
  • The interior seating consists of just three tall stools at this L-shaped bar to the right...
  • ... of the steps which lead down from street level.
  • If you want more seating, you'll need to head back outside to the terrace we saw earlier.
  • Patent Coffee is full of neat features, from the hooks under the bar for coats/bags...
  • ... to the neat coffee-related drawings on the walls.
  • There's another neat display on the left-hand wall, this time of dried flowers.
  • You'll also find the takeaway area over here, built into an alcove in the wall.
  • Obligatory light-fitting shot.
  • There are more flowers over by the espresso machine, adding to Patent Coffee's charm.
  • At the back, down the right-hand side of the counter, are a pair of doors which lead...
  • ... to a night-time speakeasy cocktail bar. During the day, they're home to the menus...
  • ... and Patent's retail bags of coffee.
  • Meanwhile, these shelves were awaiting their autumn (fall) display of pumpkins.
  • You order down the right-hand side of the counter, where you'll find the till...
  • ... along with the cakes and pastries.
  • I visited twice, first for a cortado in my HuskeeCup...
  • ... when I also tried a split shot of espresso in my Kaffeeform cup.
  • On my return, I opted for a pour-over, made through the Kalita Wave filter...
  • ... which I had in my Frank Green Ceramic cup. I also dropped off a gift of coffee for...
  • ... Lorenzo, the barista, who picked the Il Grifone from this selection.
  • In return, he gave me the cutest 4 oz Frank Green Ceramic cup to go with mine!
Slider Script by v4.6

Patent Coffee is one of those “blink and you’ll miss it” places. On the northern side of W 27th Street between Broadway and 6th Avenue (towards the 6th Avenue end), it’s in the basement of the Radio Wave building. I was on the other side of the street, from where the modest entrance was completely shielded by the outside seating, so I walked on by, completely oblivious to my error.

Despite these difficulties, Patent Coffee is worth taking the trouble to find. Coming along W 27th Street from 6th Avenue, it’s just past the tall, arched entrance to the Radio Wave building. In contrast to this ediface, Patent Coffee has a more modest pair of glass doors at street level, opening immediately onto a broad flight of six stone steps which descend to the basement.

If you want to sit outside, the terrace is behind you, a sturdy, wooden affair, with waist-high, earth-filled planters separating it from the ever-present New York City traffic (although in contrast to 6th Avenue, W 27th Street is comparatively quiet, the screening from the plants being a great help). The terrace starts opposite Patent Coffee, running away from the Radio Wave building, the seating shared with the Mexican bar next door, a sister company to Patent Coffee.

Whether you sit inside or out, you’ll need to go inside to order, so head downstairs where you’ll find a simple basement space, with concrete floor, exposed brick walls and low, white ceiling, all complimented by the wooden counter and bar. Talking of which, the counter, in the back, left-hand corner, occupies a large part of the available space, stretching about two-thirds of the way across Patent Coffee before curving around to the back wall.

The seating’s in the opposite corner, behind you and to your right as you descend the steps. Three stools line a narrow bar which runs from the steps along the front of Patent Coffee before extending a short way down the right-hand wall. The remaining space is kept free of clutter, with just a takeaway shelf built into the left-hand wall beyond the steps.

You order along the side of the counter, where you’ll find the till and the display case with cakes, cookies and pastries to your right. Opposite this is a display area built into the right-hand wall, which was awaiting its autumn display of pumpkins when I visited. Meanwhile directly ahead of you, a pair of wooden doors built into the wall act as a display case for Patent’s retail bags of coffee. These open up in the evening to reveal a second sister company, Patent Pending, a speakeasy-style cocktail bar (Patent Coffee closes at 16:00, with the bar opening at 17:00).

Talking of coffee, this is all roasted for Patent by (in the words of Lorenzo, my barista) “friends of ours in Brooklyn”. There’s a single-origin on espresso, another on batch-brew filter, plus two more on pour-over, along with a cold brew option, all of which change every month or so. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for something a little different, there are four seasonal signature drinks, all the ingredients made in-house.

I visited twice, first on Sunday morning, when I had the Guatemalan espresso in a 4½ ounce cortado in my HuskeeCup. This was lovely and fruity, which convinced me to try it on its own, splitting the shot with another customer. The resulting espresso was very fine, although not as fruity as I thought it might be given how it was in milk.

I popped back the following Friday to try the pour-over, which is becoming an increasingly rare thing in New York City in my experience. Lorenzo offered me a choice of Brazilian or a darker roast Mexican, so I tried the Brazilian, a fine, full-bodied coffee, which I had in my Frank Green Ceramic cup.

My other reason for popping back on Friday was to leave a bag of coffee as a gift for Lorenzo. He had a choice of several different coffees, opting for the limited-edition Il Grifone blend from Square Mile. In exchange, Lorenzo gave me the cutest 4 oz Frank Green Ceramic cup, the perfect pair for my 8 oz model, except that Amanda has taken a shine to it, so I’ve passed it on to her.

49 W 27th STREET • NEW YORK CITY • NY 10001 • USA +1 212 689 4002
Monday 09:00 – 16:00 Roaster Patent Coffee (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 09:00 – 16:00 Seating Bar, Tables (outside)
Wednesday 09:00 – 16:00 Food Cakes
Thursday 09:00 – 16:00 Service Counter
Friday 09:00 – 16:00 Payment Cards + Cash
Saturday 09:00 – 16:00 Wifi No
Sunday 09:00 – 16:00 Power No
Chain No Visits 25th, 30th September 2022

If you liked 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 “Patent Coffee

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