Here we have Arlo and Esme, the almost two week-old bi-level coffee shop and bar on East 1st St. The owner emailed us back when it was soft opening to tell us it would be a 'coffee geek's' cafe/'speakeasy' bar. Naturally, we had our doubts. However, an East Village correspondent informs us, as do the pictures, that it's not as dire as we thought. The coffee shop on the ground floor looks inviting with its open windows and clean design, and they've got the requisite free wifi and brand name coffee.
As for the basement, it could go either way. The space has some definite draws: exposed brick, a pool table, and a Mrs. Pacman machine. And in that neighborhood, it seems like people stream into any open space with a liquor license that they can find. But we'll have to wait to hear about the vibe, the crowd, and the cocktails. There's a potential there for sure. Further reading here and here