City Bakery (3 W. 18th Street, just north of Union Square) is overrated. I’m a laid back person who generally is easy going, but I didn’t like anything about the City Bakery. I was so overwhelmed walking into the building (now I understand why so many people stand outside). When you think of a bakery in NYC, you immediately crave something cozy and well organized, with good food and beverages-maybe coffee, maybe wine, maybe home-made juices but always fresh, then add in some delicious pastries, and top off the combination with an inviting atmosphere and you’re good to go. City Bakery is none of the above.
Alright, alright, yes, I know that City Bakery has a different flavor of hot chocolate every day during the month, which is pretty cool, however, paying $5.50 for a cup of hot chocolate is hardly a bargain, especially when it’s not super delicious-and then spending another dollar or five on a dried-out pastry is a kill joy. Seriously.
If you’re take the time to go to City Bakery, be prepared to grab-in go. The place is disorganized and chaotic. The center counter is confusing, the food in the back is generic (macaroni? fried chicken? pizza? Come on, you can go to specialty places that will not serve re-heated food anywhere in the city), the chocolate room is weird (more like a closet with a few chocolate things on the shelves), it’s loud, and the layout doesn’t work with the volume of customers that come into the bakery. To top it off everything is incredibly expensive. If you want a hot chocolate, go someplace like Stonestreet Coffee, Max Brenners, or even Stumptown Coffee at the Ace Hotel. I’d rather hang out a La Bergamote, Almondine, or 71 Irving Place any day.
I give this a one star out of ten. There are a thousand places I’d rather visit before I’d come back here.