The Only Thing More Popular Than Aimé Leon Dore? Café Leon Dore

Aimé Leon Dore supersedes introduction. The much-buzzed-about brand is widely admired for its collaborative New Balances, admirably stylized lookbooks, handsome storefronts, and collaborative New Balances. Did I mention that ALD’s New Balance collaborations are popular?

Café Leon Dore, Aimé Leon Dore’s in-house café, is often overlooked in discussions of ALD’s fame, perhaps because it only exists IRL at the brand’s NYC and London flagship stores.

However, Café Leon Dore is no less popular than Aimé Leon Dore and, in some ways, it’s arguably an even bigger deal than ALD itself.

TikTokers certainly think so.

Sure, TikTok’s Aimé Leon Dore hashtag has over six times as many views as its Café Leon Dore equivalent but we’re talking 151 million to a still-impressive 24 million.

Videos of baristas pouring drinks and manicured hands clutching Aimé Leon Dore-branded coffee cups frequently gather tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of views, frequently outpacing clips of streetwear dilettantes reviewing ALD’s seasonal lookbooks.

You can easily comprehend the rationale for the hype even if its breathtaking visibility is difficult to fully grasp: everyone wants to go to the Aimé Leon Dore but not everyone can afford Aimé Leon Dore clothes.

Even for those whom a $200 shirt is out of reach, a $6 cup of Café Leon Dore coffee is easily attainable, especially when it also buys entry to Café Leon Dore’s urbane interior, resplendent in gold, marble, tile.

In short, Café Leon Dore provides the most affordable method of buying into Aimé Leon Dore aspiration. And it’s appeal is direct, too.

While Aimé Leon Dore drives myriad discourse on TikTok, spurring uploads covering its styling, outfit videos, and hauls, Café Leon Dore content is pure. It’s just content inspired by and in awe of Café Leon Dore.

On TikTok, the Freddo Cappuccino is Café Leon Dore’s prime attraction, commonly referred to by users as an IYKYK secret and sometimes even the “best coffee in NYC.”

Tall order for a café attached to a clothing store but, hey, some people would probably say that about Ralph’s Coffee and it wouldn’t be all that controversial.

Essentially a Grecian answer to the iced espresso, Freddo Cappuccinos have become indicative of the Café Leon Dore menu.

Other highlights include hot Greek coffee, pastries, and even some CLD-branded sundries that repeatedly sell out with comparable frequency to ALD’s own clothing.

For a certain sect of fashion-curious youths, a cup of Café Leon Dore coffee has become part of the rites of passage one must undertake when visiting New York, right up there with a MoMA visit and slices from Prince Street Pizza.

Breathless praise isn’t the only reaction, either: as with most things that trend on TikTok, Café Leon Dore has also inspired plenty of reviews and reactions — is it overrated? Is the Freddo Cappucino worth a trek to Nolita?

The answer doesn’t matter. There’ll be a line out the door no matter what.

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