- The Tasting Room Wine Bar & Café
72 E. 1st St.; 212-358-7831
A great espresso is an elusive thing, dependent on the equipment and the beans, sure, but mostly on the barista. The human element is all-important, and turnover is lethal. That’s why we hope Christina Harlow stays put at the Tasting Room Wine Bar & Café, where she spends her days cajoling a state-of-the-art Synesso machine into dispensing some of the richest, smoothest espresso and macchiato we’ve had lately. The Counter Culture coffee comes from North Carolina, and so does Harlow, where she used to work as a barista. With NPR on the radio and sunlight streaming through the glass façade, Harlow fusses over each order, coddling the organic milk and parsing the grind. No matter how desperate you are for a fix, don’t think of rushing her. Real coffee is worth the wait.