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Working On Their Daymoves: James Murphy and Partners Open Brooklyn Coffee Shop

daymoves inside

Inside the new Daymoves cafe in Brooklyn. Photo by Damien Lafargue, courtesy of Daymoves.

Aficionados of high-end audio, specialty coffee and fresh food found reason to rejoice in New York City late last year when the team behind Brooklyn wine bar and eatery The Four Horsemen cut the ribbon on their second venture, a coffee shop next door called Daymoves.

LCD Soundsystem founder and frontperson James Murphy is perhaps the highest profile member of the Four Horsemen/Daymoves ownership team, which also includes Christina Topsøe, Randy Moon and Justin Chearno.

Opened last September, Daymoves can be found down a long hallway from The Four Horsemen. Yet before patrons even catch a whiff of the coffee, they may be struck by the shop’s sounds.


Photo by Damien Lafargue, courtesy of Daymoves.

Designed by Murphy and his longtime collaborator, engineer and audio technician John Klett, the Daymoves sound system comprises speakers that have been custom built by the duo to honor the “pinpoint sound” of old British Tannoy studio monitors, according to Daymoves GM and coffee programmer Elliott Foos.

“[The speakers] are all powered by vintage American-made McIntosh MC2300, 2500 and 2200 amplifiers,” Foos told Daily Coffee News. “The amps are fed by the vintage McIntosh C28 preamp, which James took from The Four Horsemen when he redid that system. It’s all very velvety and gentle, with a near-idiotic potential level of power. Basically, James really likes McIntosh sound.”

Sounds that fill the hip and comfortable 1,000-square-foot space from this exquisite audio set-up are curated by baristas who otherwise keep busy at the four workhorses of Daymoves: A classic La Marzocco Linea espresso machine, Mazzer Super Jolly espresso grinder, a modified Kalita Nice Cut G brew grinder and a Fetco batch brewer. A Baratza Sette 270i grinds for decaf.

daymoves brooklyn

Photo by Damien Lafargue, courtesy of Daymoves.

Foos oversees a multiroaster program designed to introduce patrons to roasters they might seldom come across elsewhere. Currently, beans come by way of Pennsylvania-based Passenger Coffee, fellow Brooklynites at Sey Coffee, and fellow Brooklynite musicians at Coptic Light Coffee. Foos said guests may have the chance to meet these roasters through a forthcoming event series.

“We plan on rolling this is out next month,” said Foos. “‘Meet the Roaster’ may not be quite the vernacular we use; it will be for the featured roasters, tea suppliers and [a] select few others.”

coffee shop pastry

Photo by Damien Lafargue, courtesy of Daymoves.

Four Horsemen chef Nick Curtola crafts a menu that includes a fried-to-order maple glazed doughnut; a koshi rice, ginger braised pork and scallion Congee; stone ground polenta with cultured butter and parmigiano-reggiano, and more. Guests can enjoy these from tables or from low green leather couches in the backroom under mirrored skylights.

Newspapers and magazines are available for offline reading, which is strongly encouraged by the absence of wi-fi. The overall environment is meant to recreate the social and creative feel of an artist’s downtown New York studio apartment in the 1980s; laptops are discouraged, and the goal is to nudge patrons into actual conversation with the friends and strangers right in front of them.

cafe skylight

Photo by Damien Lafargue, courtesy of Daymoves.

“We angle for more presence in the space,” said Foos. “We’re aiming to be a cultural touchstone, if we’re speaking emphatically. We hope to make this space unique, a place where the product is the whole experience: the music and reading just as interesting and memorable as the coffee, wine and food.”

Daymoves is open now at 295 Grand Street in Brooklyn.