If you’re looking for an instagrammable place to sip chai and chat with friends, look no further than The Chai Spot. This lovely hideaway has enough cushions and brightly colored textiles to make even the dreariest winter day feel optimistic and exciting.
I first visited The Chai Spot with my dear friend Allie Silver, an incredible artist manager and culture connector who creates magic wherever she goes. The enchanting settings felt like the perfect place for us to catch up.
Between delectable snacks and dreamy, aromatic chai, we wanted to lounge there all day. But as soon as we stepped out into the rainy, grey afternoon, I knew I had to add this place to my list of must-sees in the city. There’s more to this spot than a vibrant interior and delicious chai, but I’ll get to that in a second.
The story behind this cafe is a sweet one, but not without moments of heartbreak. The Chai Spot was founded by a husband and wife from LA and Pakistan respectively. It took two years for them to get their families on board and overcome prejudice and stereotypes from both sides.
During those meets of family members, chai was something they shared to bridge the connection between the two cultures.
Eventually, love won, and both families came together to celebrate the couple. They realized that overcoming bias can feel impossible, but there’s always hope. They also realized how important chai had been during this process, and how it symbolized the breaking down of barriers for them. Thus, they opened The Chai Spot in Sedona and New York to encourage peace-building between East and West.
You’ll feel all of that love in every sip of chai and within their NYC space. We also felt major feeling-like-a-kid-again vibes as we scoped out the coziest nook and collapsed into the soft, colorful couches. As someone who has fostered a life-long love of textiles from all over the world, this was basically paradise.
The Café: The Chai Spot
The deets: The Manhattan location can be found at 156 Mott Street, New York, New York 10013. Hours vary and can be found here.
The perks: Apart from The Chai spot being beautiful and delicious escape, it’s also a heart-centered business that gives back. A boutique in the front of the cafe features items made by women in rural Pakistan. 50% of their total profits support women and children in Pakistan. They’ve built schools in rural communities, offered scholarships for free education, and provided grants for women to launch their own businesses. Learn more about their story and the impact they’re creating.
Chai here is both affordable and an absolute sensory luxury, served in decorated mason jars on beautiful trays. When you come inside, you’ll have the chance to order your chai at the front, along with delicious snacks. We tried both coconut rose chai (my favorite) and a traditional cardamom chai. But the butter chai is said to be the hottest item on the menu! They also serve cookies, biscuits and hot samosas to complement the drinks.
Standout menu items:
Traditional Cardamom Chai
“The traditional chai served across Pakistan and India with a dash of green cardamom and fennel, and brewed together with strong black tea, organic milk, water and sugar. Great after meals.”
Coconut Rose Chai
“Vegan and delicious! Our aromatic Coconut Rose Chai is the favorite of many. This black tea is brewed in coconut milk with cinnamon and sugar, and garnished with nutmeg”
Be sure to visit The Chai Spot and show them some love next time you’re in town.
Want to see The Chai Spot in action? I documented my visit in my January vlog, which you can watch here: January Vlog | Goals, Chai & Color Aura Photography.
Check out the January vlog blog post here on Hey Mishka:
And don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel for more NYC living/creativity vlogs.
What are some of your favorite cafes in NYC? Drop a comment below!