There’s A Culture Brewing In The Twin Cities

September 23, 2013

Coffee-and-Computer-796269I’m a coffee shop gal.

I love setting up shop for the day with an espresso brewed to perfection and knocking out my to do list among the quiet whispering of freelancers, writers, academics and other creatives. Add a comfortable chair, good music and the whirring of a barista creating the perfect latte, and I’m in my happy place.

Lucky for me, I’m not alone.

Minneapolis business owners are awfully welcoming to those who seek creative refuge and inspiration over a hot cup o’ joe and strong wifi signal. Call it building a coffee-loving community, Minnesota nice or a passion for customer service. Whatever you call it, you’ll notice that most restaurants and coffee shops around Minneapolis offer wireless internet and a computer-friendly atmosphere. Yes, that’s right, even restaurants.

In any other city, you may find that anything beyond adding creamer and sugar is 10 seconds too long.

Take San Francisco, I was recently in the City by the Bay for work and in need of a place to actually do my work. A friend hesitantly recommended a couple nearby shops and I couldn’t understand her hesitation, until I sat down and opened my computer at the local Starbucks. Upon selecting my spot and starting my normal hotdesking routine, I was instantly elbow-to-elbow with Mission Street’s homeless community and shortly involved in an argument between security and the man sitting next to me. It wasn’t long before I abandoned my coffee shop dreams and found a coworking space that would host me for the next two days.

Although I enjoyed the coworking space, the experience left me feeling homesick for Minneapolis and the coffee shop culture I’d taken for granted. I still can’t understand how a city like San Francisco, full of independent business owners, entrepreneurs, freelancers, etc. boasts some of the best coffee in the country, but frowns upon people taking inspiration and creativity from the shop’s energy.

It’s much easier to be productive in an environment that welcomes you, for however long you wish to stay, and offers ambient noise instead of chaos. And I’ve found that Minneapolis offers some of the best. If you’re looking for a good cup of coffee and inspiring atmosphere, check out my below tried-and-true spots. I can guarantee they won’t disappoint.


N_espresso-double-dropsSpyhouse Coffee
2451 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis OR 2404 Hennepin Ave S, Minneapolis

Spyhouse has been a long-time favorite of mine. Although seats can be hard to come by and wifi is often spotty, the coffee shop offers the best is artisan coffee and has seriously amazing ginger tea. On top of that, the baristas are friendly, the music is great and you’ll never feel pressure to leave. (Okay, you caught me. It doesn’t hurt that Josh Hartnett is often sighted at the Uptown location.)

mugCorner Coffee
514 N 3rd St #102, Minneapolis

A favorite in the North Loop, Corner Coffee has awesome staff, great seating options and giant coffee mugs. It’s a Fast Horse favorite and you’re sure to run into one of the ponies if you camp out here long enough.



20080612_dunnbros_cup_33Dunn Bros Coffee
228 N Washington Ave, Minneapolis

While there are many Dunn Bros Coffee shops in the Twin Cities, the North Loop shop remains my favorite. Why? Power outlets are abundant, the coffee is strong, there are tables aplenty and free parking in the Monte Carlo parking lot before 11 am. That’s a winning combination in my book.

20130806-wp-mpls-theurbanbean-0015Urban Bean
3255 Bryant Ave S, Minneapolis OR 2401 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis

Urban Bean is quickly becoming my favorite place to hotdesk in the Twin Cities. The wifi connection never fails, the baristas are friendly and the drinks are delicious There’s even latte art and animal crackers! (Hey, it’s the little things!) And Urban Bean wins big for atmosphere. It’s calm, focused and often feels more like a casual library with people bent over books, computers and notebooks intent on achieving their dreams. If you haven’t stopped in, I suggest you do so immediately.