“Kid-friendly” triggers different emotions from different people. To parents, it can mean an atmosphere where a child can be a child—within limits—and they can enjoy being an adult for a time. For nonparents, it can mean a loud, obnoxious haven for (what they perceive) bad parenting methods. At The Coop, a relatively new coffee shop in Bay Ridge (9504 Fourth Avenue), a delicate balance has been struck, on most days: it’s a place where you can enjoy an excellent cup of coffee, or a fantastic draft-latte, with pastries, and it’s a place where young kids can be themselves in a nicely designed “coop.”
I stopped in, after my wife and our youngest had already been several times, on a Sunday afternoon to get some of his sillies out—and so I could get a feel for the place and try the famed draft latte. The latte did not disappoint, and neither did the sweet waffle we shared. The coop area, a cute little nook in the back (with a gate), an indoor area with play kitchen and an assortment of toys and an outdoor area with retractable awning and some more active wheeled playthings, is a good spot for very young kids to be active, adventurous and within view of their parents without the danger of them running out of the restaurant.
On this afternoon, the coop was a little insane. While I would say it’s perfect for kids 3 and under, there were kids up to 6 or 7 rough-housing, kicking the glass and throwing large items (a mother was hit in the head by a
hard plastic chair plastic “Bilibo” seat). My kid mostly avoided injury and had a nice time rolling around and pretending to cook among the mayhem. The weekend crowd was made up of parents who seemed to dump their kids in the play area and then leave them unattended; of parents with little kids, who needed to stay in the coop area to keep them in one piece; and of people who came to tinker on their computers on the free Wi-Fi and imbibe some caffeine. (To be fair, during the week, the area is usually calmer, with age-appropriate children utilizing the toys in a less chaotic way.)
Nick Murphy and Rose Yasonia are the owners, and I had a chance to ask Nick recently about how they came up with The Coop and their connection to Bay Ridge.
You take “kid friendly” to a new level of amazing for parents. How did you come up with the idea for The Coop?
A hundred percent my wife Rose’s idea. She was by far the bigger coffee drinker, and when we had our son, she would lament about the lack of children-friendly establishments.
What drew you to Bay Ridge, and how did you find this location? You could not be any closer to the train.
My wife is a Brooklynite, and we have lived in Bay Ridge for over 10 years. I had opened a coffee shop/bar in Bushwick a few years ago back, and I was always looking for a space in Bay Ridge. We were very lucky that a space opened up that more than met all of our requirements.
Who designed your space? The covered outdoor area and the fence are inspired.
It was collaborative effort, but far and beyond Rose is the driving force, who had the vision of how things should look and work.
Tell us about draft coffee.
We offer two types: a cold-brew black coffee and draft latte. We are the only coffee shop in Brooklyn that offers this! It’s cold-brew espresso mixed with organic milk and then we infuse it with nitrous oxide—the same serving gas for a Guinness. There’s no added sugar; the gas brings out the natural sugar in the milk.
You’ve been open about six weeks. What has the response been?
Beyond expectations. Using our other place as guide, we had expected a much slower beginning, but thank goodness we have had a dreamlike opening, not only the business but the positive response and feedback from the neighborhood.
Fourth Avenue in the 90s seems to be experiencing a little renaissance. Do you expect more businesses to see Fourth Avenue as an alternative to Third and Fifth Avenues?
I don’t think so much as an alternative, but parts of Fourth and Fifth were the only spots available until recently. Within Bay Ridge, we always had micro-nabes, and this is just the evolution of Bay Ridge.