New Harlem coffee shop 9 Tails is a real zen oasis

Updated: Oct 20, 2020


It's only one block from traffic-choked 125th Street, but coffee shop 9 Tails feels miles away.

Located in the light-filled ground floor of a historic Harlem brownstone, the new spot opened last month at 34 W 126th Street between Fifth Avenue and Malcolm X Boulevard.

New Harlem coffee shop 9 Tails is located on the ground floor of a historic brownstone

Owner John Cho named the cafe after the East Asian fox spirit–it also happens to be a Pokemon character–and has given it a zen-like look and feel.

The large, all-white space is furnished with blonde wood tables and benches paired with sculptural pieces of driftwood and hanging plants.

Harlem coffee shop 9 Tails is a zen oasis

Shelves of plants are also visible behind the glass doors in the kitchen, but they belong to Mushtari Hardware, a separate business that guests have to go around the block to reach.

New Harlem coffee shop 9 Tails is located on the ground floor of a historic brownstone

The open small kitchen and bar offers premium coffee from a revolving range of roasters like Tandem Coffee Roasters from Portland, Maine, tea, as well as pastries and cookies, some of which are made in-house; sandwiches, too, are coming soon.


New Harlem coffee shop 9 Tails is located on the ground floor of a historic brownstone

Maybe Cho's most zen-like decision is to keep 9 Tails wifi-free–a rule he also adhered to at Betola, his former East Village espresso bar.

He encourages guests to grab a coffee or tea and leave the laptops at home. Says Cho, "The focus is to provide a nice, calm environment to enjoy your coffee."

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