Located one block south of Washington Square Park on Sullivan St. (& W 3rd St.), Neutral Grounds is a coffehouse and independent bookstore. It has a well-stocked occult book section which, in combination with the excellent coffee, has enabled it to become a regular hangout for the minor members of New York’s supernatural community (although they do a brisk business with NYU staff, too). Another reason it’s attractive to supernaturally aware people is the sign located immediately below the “Fueled By Zeke’s Coffee” poster: “Accorded Neutral Ground.” Much like MacAnally’s Pub in Chicago, the internal architecture is irregular, the tables spaced oddly, and the bookshelves are all askew of one another.
Diane Basset is the owner and operator of Neutral Grounds, a coffeehouse and book shop near NYU. Raised in the supernatural community by her mother, Basset is a practicing Wiccan and possesses some degree of magical talent. Her clientele at Neutral Grounds have dubbed her a “caffeinomancer,” and some customers are more than a bit serious. They say she adds the right spice and a minor effort of will to give the strong coffee she brews a bit of something extra.
Basset opened Neutral Grounds in 1988 and has been welcoming of anyone from the supernatural community in New York City. She petitioned Queen Mab to grant the coffeehouse Accorded Neutral Ground status, and Mab assented to the request; in thanks, Basset gives female customers a free espresso every Midwinter’s Eve, assuming that one of them might be Queen Mab