I always get lost in the West Village- it doesn't matter if I'm going to a pizza place I've been to 17 times before, or a friend's apartment who's lived there for 17 years.
So I go the neighborhood only armed with a specific destination, and today, it was McNulty's (109 Christopher St.), a tea and coffee shop that looks like it's from the 1800s.
Oh wait. It is.
The wood-paneled room is warm and worn, like a favorite chair from your grandparent's house, and as soon as you step through the doorway, the floral, musky scent of coffee and herbs envelopes you. The extensive offerings of loose tea are on display in heavy glass apothecary jars, and once you make your selection, they're carefully weighed on a giant brass scale. For someone who still lacks a cell phone, it's a comforting place (see, there's far worse Luddites than me).
Avoiding the preponderance of flavored and fruited teas, I picked Iron Goddess (Tiguanyin; $6 for 1/4 pound) and something labeled China white tea ($6 for 1/4 pound). It looked a lot like white peony (see photo below, left), but my asking if so was met with a denial, a bit of grumbling and no further description.
I've heard many good things about the attentive service in this shop, but none of these employees were exactly angling for a tip.
Maybe my new fangled photographic-making machine threw them off?
Still, McNulty's is worth a visit, especially if you drink blended teas- there's too few businesses these days that can boast of being a century old. And if the aroma is any indication, I bet the coffee is pretty spectacular too.