Chic coffee in Minneapolis

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As business and education become more digital, coffeehouses are now a prime location for employees and students alike to get work done. While warm and cozy cafes are obvious locales for studying, we have observed through our adventures a new style of coffee shop that’s trendy with working millennials. Bright coffeehouses with modern and minimalist decor and simple, yet pricey, menus are favored by busy students and young professionals. These contemporary, classy and chic coffee shops can be found all around the Twin Cities, but we looked towards downtown Minneapolis during our explorations. Near Government Plaza, we found that Penny’s Coffee and Parallel are two cafes that fit the chic aesthetic.

An hour on the light rail and a few minutes of walking brought us right to Penny’s. Penny’s uses local, fresh ingredients to make their food and beverages. This cafe offers a nice trip to the city with a bustling atmosphere away from the Macalester bubble. The cafe itself is located at Walden University and has a classy vibe: a big circular chandelier, green marble tables, white walls, big windows with a view of the city — simplistic yet elegant decor. The booths and bar tables are prime locations for working on projects while the tables on the outdoor patio are great for catching up with friends or family. Penny’s offers the usual types of coffee along with crêpes. I got the chocolate chip crêpe and a mocha. They both took a while to make but were worth it. The mocha had the perfect blend of sweetness and bitterness with a rich, full flavor. For the chocolate lovers, the chocolate chip crêpe is the perfect treat: the crêpe is filled with an overload of mini semi-dark chocolate chips. Penny’s also offers sandwiches, salads, teas and wines.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Riding the Green or Blue Line to the end will bring any coffee explorer just a few blocks from Parallel. Parallel is a cafe run under HennepinMade, a local blown-glass lighting company. Artsy yet sophisticated, Parallel’s interior is bright and filled with contemporary furnishings. There are a variety of seats and tables to sit at, and, during our visit, many were filled by individuals working on their laptops or in business meetings. Along with the inspiring interior, the baristas at Parallel were super friendly and offered us lively conversation during our visit. Parallel serves standard coffee and tea beverages, along with a variety of wines and beers and also salads and sandwiches until 3pm. Though the menu is typical for any cafe, the vanilla latte and cappuccino that we tried were delicious — some of the best we have tasted. The coffee was dark but balanced perfectly with a sweet aftertaste. Though tasty, the coffee at Parallel was on the pricier side ($5.25 for a 12oz latte). Along with the price, another downside to Parallel was its location; it is tucked away a couple blocks behind Target Field and proved difficult to find. Despite this, we highly recommend Parallel to anyone looking for a new place to study that has a great menu, motivating atmosphere and chic aesthetic.

Rating: 4.75/5 stars

Penny’s Coffee is located at 100 S Washington Ave, Minneapolis Parallel is located at 145 Holden St N, Minneapolis