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Monthly Archives: July 2012

Corner Coffee cup drawing

Corner Coffee

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

First Impression: This looks like a cute place! It’s not located on a corner, for those that are looking. I ate lunch here earlier (during my break at my temp job), but came back after I was done to sit and enjoy some caffeine and relaxation. It looks like an awesome hangout place.

Appearance/Atmosphere: The shop is located in the warehouse district of Minneapolis. There are nice tables and chairs with umbrellas for those that wish to brave the Minnesota elements. Today was extremely hot and muggy, so no one was outside. Inside, the shop is composed of three rooms, all with a nice wooden floor. The first is more of a hangout, relaxing place, with multiple sofas and a few tables. The sofas are burnt orange-colored. Walls are an earthy green, the same throughout. There’s a really cool wooden pallet hanging from the ceiling with lights. An alternative chandelier! There’s also awesome works of art on the walls.

In the second room, the “main” room, there ordering station is located. The counter is black and there’s a big menu above it. They also have menus to look at. The tables are all different. There’s a window between the 1st and 2nd room, keeping the feeling open. There are high ceilings and tall windows on one side, with tables to sit and look outside. The trim is the same color green as the walls. Fans are located on the ceiling, as well as cool lights. At the coffee bar there’s a nice bakery and some black stools to sit at. One the far side of the bar there’s a computer for people to use.

In the third room there are more tables and chairs to sit at. One wall is earthy red, and there’s a car near the kitchen to bus your own dishes. Windows line the whole side. It’s all very big and open! There’s a stage/platform area with a couch and some chairs. Speakers are set up and I heard they sometimes have live music. I also noticed a projector pointed at the stage area and curtains in the wide doorway between the two rooms. The curtains are open now, but could be closed. Behind the stage there’s an awesome white backdrop and light hanging. The light looks like a giant tin can with holes punched in it, hung over a light bulb. The result is a spattering of stars on the white backdrop. It’s pretty empty right now, but it’s busier around lunchtime. A lot of stylishly dressing people come here!

Vibe: Calm, relaxed, earthy, and thoughtful. Similar to the feeling you get from listening to music late at night while stargazing.

Music: I love it! The music itself is louder than the vocals, so it isn’t overpowering. The songs playing are perfect for the mood: chill, relaxed, contemplative.

Service: Splendid, both times I was here today! The workers were friendly and nice, and chatted with me for a while. They brought my coffee out to my table and asked how my day was going.

Coffee: I had a Turtle Mocha ($4.10). It came in a cute dark purple mug, and was delicious. Rich, sweet, and adorable: just how I like it. The cups came in various sizes, shapes and colors.

Notes: Great place, good people, awesome location, yummy food, and a fantastic vibe! I’ll be back! The place would be perfect on a rainy day. It’s a little off the beaten path, but I great shop to visit. Take a walk and check it out!

Bob's Java Hut cup drawing

Bob’s Java Hut

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

First Impression: Walking in, I noticed a large group of people gathered in the back. It looked almost like a party was ending. They all left soon after arrived, so I never found out what they were doing. There was a good amount of people at the coffee shop for a Saturday afternoon. Though I didn’t see any motorcycles outside (at first), I did notice a few bicycles. This place is a biker coffee shop, and you can tell by looking at the small motorcycle on display in the back above the restroom.

Bob's lightsAppearance/Atmosphere: I really liked the design and color scheme in Bob’s. The walls are a sea-foam green at the bottom, stripped thin white and then thicker black, and then red-orange at the top. The ceiling continues the color scheme: most is sea-foam green, then there’s a large stripe of their “33” logo in orange, and the rest is white. Black trim lines the windows and black door, and the black continues with the coffee bar, stools, lights, and fans. The top half of the side windows contain hand painted murals of various motocross scenes. The light fixtures are industrial and hang along the bar and above the tables. There’s also a large, detailed menu located to the left of the bar. The tables are steel or dark fake wood, and the chairs are wooden with green cushions. The floor is a dark worn wood. Speakers are places in every corner to keep the a consistent music volume level. There is a huge window in the front with tables and chairs, perfect for people-watching. I’ve already seen a lot of interest people: a guy riding his bike across the street while carrying a rocking horse, another guy riding a bike two bikes tall, and that cute worker from Urban Bean on 33rd & Bryant just walked by.

Vibe: Great place to hang out and catch up with friends. Many people are bikers in leather, but there are also some college age people as well.

Music: Older rock, loud enough to continue working. The speakers keep the volume level consistent.

Service: Nothing special. When the barista took my order she was nice, but I didn’t have any interaction with her other than that. A few times I noticed there wasn’t anyone behind the bar — I’m not sure where they were.

Coffee: I had a simple, black coffee, light roast. I didn’t drink it plain of course, I never have black coffee. I sweetened it with half and half, liquid sugar, and honey. One of the best things about Bob’s was their wide variety of things to add to your drink. Soy milk, skim milk, half and half, regular sugar, liquid sugar, cinnamon, and honey (which I’d never tried in coffee before, but it’s surprisingly good. Try it! Yum!) Very impressive. They also have two discounts, each for $0.25 — bringing in your own cup, or having a valid student ID. Good way to encourage students to come. Also they have a $5.00 credit card minimum.

Notes: I’d recommend going earlier in the day, because the biker crowd tends to come in later. I don’t have a problem with bikers (They’re awesome!) but I felt a little out of my element. It was a good place to chill and get some work done, though not the best for late night study sessions. Bring your own cup when you stop by!

The Beat cup drawing

The Beat Coffeehouse

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

First Impression: Is it closed? Where is everyone? There’s some nice seating outside; Last time I walked by it was packed. I like the layout: small front room to order coffee in, and a large (though empty) room to hangout in.

The Beat signAppearance/Atmosphere: Orange walls, one is brown. They have a really impressive light set up, which would be amazing for live music. There was a sigh outside advertising “Live Music Tonight”, but they didn’t have a band. Their speaker system is also really awesome for live bands. There are two pianos. A big rusted sign hangs from the ceiling with “The Beat” logo. Plywood floor. Simple, wooden chairs and tables. Cool, abstract art on the walls. Window wallOne wall has three fake windows, lit from behind, which make up the backdrop for performances. lights hang from the ceiling in square, orange boxes. For seating, there are the tables, three sofas, two new burlap benches, and stools.

Vibe: Dead, at least when I was there. I’ve driven by before and it’s always looked busy. Tonight was just quieter. I really like this place and will have to come back on a busier night to get the true feel of it.

Music: Really great. Mary commented a few times on how nice it was. The volume was perfect for reading or hanging out. The baristas controlled the music and it was mostly happy, indie pop music like Kimbra. Very good! They also have live bands most nights.

Service: Awesome! The barista was very friendly and talked to us as he made our drinks. He even admitted that the place was dead.

The barista was very friendly and happy to chat with us, not only because we were the only customers. I would give this place another try.. maybe when they have live music. — Mary, who loves soy chai with no foam

Coffee: Very good. I had a White Mocha for $4.00. I asked for a small and he was going to put it in the small to-go cup because it was bigger. I prefer ceramic mugs, so I asked if he could pour the small into the mug (because I was being complicated). He said he’d just make a medium and keep the ratio of espresso and milk the same. The small was $3.50 and the medium was $4.25. I had something in between! It was delicious. I’ve never had anything like it before, but it was really good. If you visit The Beat, I recommend trying it!

Notes: I’ll be coming back on a busier night to get a real feel of the place. It was really nice and a fun place to hang out on a quiet night, so I’d expect it’ll be a lot different on a busier night!

Overflow cup drawing

Overflow Espresso Cafe

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

Tuesday morning: I left my journal at home! Ah! I remembered this while riding the bus, and I’m sure a look of complete terror, horror, and frustration crossed my face. I had a freak out moment. Then, a moment of calm, because I thought, “Hey, I could write on those old papers in my backpack.” The calm only lasted until I remembered that I’d cleaned out those papers the night before. Imagine my fury at myself! I slumped back in the seat, resigned with the thought that I’d have to write the review on napkins.

Tuesday Equation

Me + High Temps + Walking + Anger about forgetting my journal + The job interview I left part way through because I didn’t want to work there + A new city + Construction = A very tired, thirsty, sweaty girl in a skirt

First Impression: Salvation! For those of you in the Twin Cities, or anywhere besides the Arctic, you’re well aware of the intense heat we’ve been having. Combine that with other variables, and you get a sweaty, tired mess. There are these cute black tables outside on the porch. Inside, the first thing I saw was a giant, overflowing cup. How clever! Overflow Cafe has an overflowing cup! On the giant cup there are many different quotes, such as, “Silence is the sleep that nourishes wisdom.” The cup is on a large, round high table with chairs around it. I think it’s my new favorite place.

Appearance/Atmosphere: Aside from the giant cup table, there is a myriad of places to sit. Maybe you want to curl up on an arm-chair in the corner, or gather around the fireplace on a cold snowy night. Maybe you have a big paper due and need a table by an outlet; they have a ton of those. Study at the window bar if that’s what tickles your fancy. Or you could pick my favorite: the loft overlooking the whole place, with 2 arm chairs and 8 separate tables. Whatever kind of coffee drinking location you prefer, they probably have it.

They have a beautiful bar and menu design (hand written on a board). The vibe is studious, and most people are working on computers, but there are still some people hanging out and talking. Most of the customers are college age, because this is located on the U of MN campus, but I’ve still seen quite a few other people as well. Recent grads, parents, grandparents, they’re all here. Tables are simple black and the chairs are clean-cut dark wood. Some places use furniture to add to the personality of their business. If that’s what Overflow is trying to do, then they have a great personality: simple and uncluttered. They’re more interested in who’s sitting at the table than what they’re sitting on. This place is about the coffee and the people.

The ceiling is black and has copper pipes running along it. Walls are tan and an earthy red, with some places of exposed brick. Most of the floor is concrete, with the exception of the loft and fireplace area, which have carpet. Did you catch that? I’ve mentioned the fireplace twice, nonchalantly, when I actually think it’s one of the coolest and most unique aspects of this place.

Thankfully there’s AC here, and the fans keep the air circulating. The walls also have wooden trim partway up. Huge, tall windows line the front and sides, brightening it up with lots of natural light. Another cool thing that I just noticed is the stack of games next to the fireplace. There’s a huge clock on the wall, and a lovely staircase leading up to the loft.

Music: Very quiet and unimportant. Truthfully, I haven’t really noticed it. It’s good background noise. Indie, soft rock.

Service: Really good! There were two people working at the counter when I ordered. The girl took my order at the register, and the guy immediately began making my drink. How efficient! They were really nice and the barista found some computer paper from the back for me to write on. When they weren’t creating drinks, they were cleaning.

Coffee: I ordered an Iced Mocha (16 oz, $4.25). It was made very quickly and I took it to my seat. The drink was in a plastic coffee cup with a bendy straw. Yum! Their menu had a lot of choices and I’m excited to try them. They also have other drinks, breakfast food, and daily specials.

Bathroom: Whoa, they have a crazy, futuristic sink. Seriously, it’s worth checking out. Other than that, the bathroom was nice and clean!

Notes: This is a charming place, right on campus. I’ll be coming back! I like that they have two sets of doors at the entrance. That way people aren’t bringing the weather directly inside. Also, the 16 bus drives right by here!

Muddy Waters cup drawing

Muddy Waters Bar & Eatery

Monday, July 16th, 2012

First Impression: Muddy Waters where? No, (cue “I Can See Clearly Now” by The Screeching Weasels) I can see clearly now. Why didn’t I come here first? There’s a black, simple logo design on the front door. A plethora of bikes parked outside. A lovely outdoor seating area to the side. The bus stop is right across the street. Stepping inside, I can tell I’m going to love this place. Awesome! A guy with a crazy mustache came in.

Muddy Waters salt and pepperAppearance/Atmosphere: Lovely menu design up on the wall. There were a lot of people, but there’s a lot of space so it wasn’t crowded. Tons of seating options: tables with 2 or 4 chairs, chairs at the window bar, high chairs at the bar and coffee bar, booths, booth/table combos, high table/boots at the front window. The furniture is all a beautiful, dark rustic wood, along with the bars, trim, and most of the ceiling. Walls are tan. There’s a cool picture of waves and clouds behind the coffee bar. Fresh flower bouquets on the bars and tables, fresh flowers growing outside. Lantern lights hanging along the walls. Concrete floor with a black carpet strip through the center of the restaurant. Full bar. Big windows in front. Bakery items. Cute tealight candles on the tables. Lots of young adults (around 25) with tattoos. The vibe is a chill, summer, “meet up with friends”. Adorable little cube salt and pepper shakers.

Music: Loud, but I liked it. This isn’t a “study and read quietly” type of place. You are one part of a living, breathing organism. That doesn’t mean you need to participate, but even if you’re just sitting alone (like me, because I have no friends… yet… I hope), you don’t feel awkward or like you’re intruding. There was a lot of acoustic guitar music playing. Funky music. I didn’t recognize anything, but it set a good mood.

Service: AWESOME! Really, this place has phenomenal service. The guy at the register (a hipster with thick glasses and tattoos) was patient as I chose a drink and made small talk while he waited. He didn’t talk while he made it, because he was concentrating so hard on making it! It was a lovely thing to watch. Also, another worker is walking around, assessing the temperature of the room. By that, I mean he’s asking people how they are or if they need anything. It was a hundred degrees outside and I ordered a hot drink. Thanks for the water! Sweet!

Coffee: Adorable and fantastic. He made it look like he just happened to throw it all together perfectly. He carefully put on the whipped cream and had a “ta-dah!” demeanor as he sprinkled chocolate powder on top. Then he carefully selected an animal cracker and gently placed in the cup on the whipped cream. I had a Mocha (12 oz, $3.50). Yum, it was super good!

Notes: coffee correlationI know I keep saying this, but this is my new favorite place! I’ll come here for a drink (when I’m 21) or just chill here during the day and sip coffee. Their food and drink menu design put my inner artist and design freak in a heavenly place. Their website rocks too. The people here are friendly, and only a few are sitting with laptops. Others are reading/writing/drinking at the bar. I’ve noticed there’s a direct correlation between how much I like a drink and how fast I drink it.

*** SPOTTED ***

One of the workers, the guy walking around, just noticed I was writing and had drawing a picture of the cup. He said, “Are you writing about us?” I nervously chucked and blushed as I said, “Uh.. yeah. Kind of.” Hahah! He noticed this on the second time around, after filling up my water cup a few times. He didn’t treat me any differently, just went on being awesome!

Bull Run coffee drawing

Bull Run Coffee Bar

Sunday, July 15th, 2012

First Impression: I’ve heard things about that place: Bull Run! Finally I’m here! Shotgun style — long and skinny. I went up to the coffee bar didn’t see a menu, so I asked. The barista directed me to a stack of worn paper stock menus. Wow, this place is expensive. There are many places to chain up your bike outside, and some nice outdoor seating. There were a lot of people, and only one seat available, right in front of the counter.

Appearance/Atmosphere: Busy. Most people are on their computers (Mac again). There’s an orange wall on one side, and red exposed brick on the other. Wooden ceiling and fans, nice hanging lights. Coffee merchandise for sale. Black trim. Concrete floors. Plain tables and chairs. Lots of bags of coffee for sale. Vibe was busy.

Music: Alright music choices. Very chill, unknown music. The two baristas plugged in their own iPods, so there were a few awkward silences, and that weird noise when you plug a device into a speaker that’s on. Because this is a smaller place, the music was overwhelming at times.

Service: Okay, not great. The staff only talked to each other, aside from asking how I was and what did I want to order. They weren’t very friendly and sat around when no one was at the counter. I like when I see them busy washing tables, or doing something. I’ve come to expect great service, and that wasn’t it.

Coffee: Bad. I usually don’t want to publicly judge something so harshly because it’s my opinion, but that’s what this blog is about. I had a cappuccino ($3.50, 8 oz). There were two good things about my drink: the cute yellow ceramic mug and blue plate it came on, and the heart design in the foam. I thought the coffee was bad. I don’t know if it was burnt, or briny, or what. I like sweeter coffee, and this was bitter. I only had a few sips and couldn’t finish it, because it made ma a little nauseous. The coffee here is really expensive: $4.25 for a small 8 oz Mocha.

Notes: I won’t be coming back here. The staff wasn’t friendly and the coffee was gross. Those two things can make or break a coffee shop for me. I could tell walking in that it was a “meh” place, but I gave it a fair shot. I liked this place less than Dogwood’s, even though it’s rated a 1/2 star better. That 1/2 star is because the layout tries to make the most of an awkward space. I had high expectations and was disappointed.

Caffetto cup drawing

Caffetto Cafe

Saturday, July 14th, 2012

First Impression: Looks crowded from the outside, lots of people sitting at tables in the front. Grungy-look, people with dreads. Eclectic art on the walls, reminiscent of an old London flat (even though I’ve never been to one). Umbrellas outside above tables. Located right off the main street.

Appearance/Atmosphere: Grungy, dark, relaxed, old. Paint is peeling; art for sale on the walls; lots of 3D pictures of ships. Booth/tables, old-fashioned booths, high dark blue ceilings, red walls. Individually controlled lamps at tables on the wall. Large front window in second room, many plants in window. Cozy & quaint. Many younger people (20s) sitting at the booths with headphones and their laptops (every person had a Mac, strange). Floor is red concrete, chipping. Old radiator.

Music: Louder, so conversation doesn’t seem out-of-place or disruptive. Strange music choices: similar to The Clash, The Raconteurs, or Cage the Elephant. Grungy, louder. Goes really well with the atmosphere and sets a good vibe: chill but still rocking. The volume of the music keeps conversations semi-private. I keep hearing cowbells…?

Bathroom: In the basement, down some concrete steps. The basement is composed of two big, concrete rooms, similar to the upstairs. In the first room, under the main room upstairs, there were three doors, and two were locked. The guy told me that there were two bathrooms. I finally found the bathroom door, located under the stairs. It was sketchy… a single bare lightbulb hanging, a toilet, and a lot of graffiti on the walls. In the main room there was an industrial sink and a mirror. In the second room there was a working arcade, ping-pong table, and the second bathroom, located under the stairs on the other side. Very sketchy bathroom!

Service: Nice, but not very exciting. The guy didn’t talk to me while he made my drink, though he did patiently wait as I chose it. He was a good barista, but not overly friendly.

Coffee: Awesome! I had a Creme Brule Mocha, which was delicious. I’ll definitely get it again when I come back. $3.50 for a small.

Caffetto workerNotes: I can see myself coming back here on the weekend for some relaxed work on the computer, sketching, or hanging out with friends. At night it’s too busy for serious studying, though I’m assuming the atmosphere is more studious during the day/week. I’ll be back! Oh, and the worker was cute. There were a lot of smokers outside, but the smoke didn’t come into the room.