Abraço: An Espresso Embrace

The first time I stopped at Abraço, a tiny espresso bar on East 7th Street, they were re-doing the floor so my individually-dripped coffee was offered to me free of charge as I stood in the doorway. I went back when the work was finished and got chatting to Jamie, the friendly and slightly energetic owner. Putting my experience of romance languages to use, I asked him if “abraço” means “hug” in Portuguese but he quickly cut me off: “Embrace,” he calmly revealed, obviously recognizing an enormous difference. Jamie likes to spin vinyl samba records as he makes your espresso, and was quick to reveal Brazilian musician Caetano Veloso has an apartment in the neighbourhood. Soon after Jamie and I actually ran into each other at the singer-songwriter’s concert outside the Nokia Theater near Times Square. Abraço sells Sanbitter in little bottles, but alas no Campari Soda — for that you need a liquor license. Did I mention the coffee is among the best in town?

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