A Senior’s Guide to Study Spots for the Coffee-Addicted

By Grace Brang

The air is crisp, school is back in session, and pumpkin spice lattes are creeping into every coffee shop’s drink portfolio.… fall is here! If you are anything like me, you are excited to get back into the swing of things. With a full course load, two jobs, and active participation in various student groups, I don’t have time to spend searching for the best study spots to maximize my productivity. Thankfully, I’ve had a couple of years to scope out the scene and I’ve come up with several places I know I can always count on to get some serious work done.

I am a big fan of coffee shops, which is painstakingly evident if you know me personally. I don’t like libraries - they stress me out. Sure, if you like absolute silence and being surrounded by your stressed-out peers, it’s paradise. However, for me, a coffee shop is the perfect place to work. The smell of freshly ground espresso is comforting, there are (ideally) plenty of outlets, and there is a whole host of delicious food and beverages within reach.

This leads me to the purpose of this blog: to inform all of you on some of the best on- and off-campus java joints for cranking out that big paper, logging some work hours, and making all of your friends jealous when you post that perfect Insta of gorgeous latte art.

On-campus:

Surdyk’s Cafe - Northrop Auditorium

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Address: 84 Church St SE, MPLS

Vibe: simple, spacious, sophisticated

What to get: Brewed coffee & plain brioche

Surdyk’s Cafe is amazing. As a transfer student, I wasn’t exactly privy to all of the great places to go on campus. The first time I went to Surdyk’s was actually for a CLAgency meeting— another reason I am grateful for this organization. I was not only impressed by the coffee, but by everything: the atmosphere, menu, outlet coverage, and more. If you have not been to Surdyk’s, pay it a visit. I recommend getting there before 11am to guarantee a spot, as lunchtime is quite busy.

Bordertown

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Address: 315 16th Ave SE, MPLS

Vibe: cozy, warm, relaxed

What to get: Tea or seasonal drink & blueberry muffin

Among many other times, Bordertown is absolutely perfect for blustery winter nights before finals. Bring a book along in case you want a break from studying to tuck yourself away in one of the charming nooks or crannies and fully take in the warm, cozy vibe. I’ve had no trouble getting a table before 10am or after 6pm. The tables with easy access to outlets are usually occupied, so charge up before heading over there just in case you can’t refuel for a while. Keep in mind they are closed on weekends - I was unaware of this and walked about one mile on a -10° Saturday morning only to get there and be utterly disappointed.

Off-campus:

Dogwood Coffee

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Address: 825 Carleton St, STP

Vibe: minimalist, modern, practical

What to get: Kombucha on tap or macchiato & croissant

Dogwood Coffee has been there for me through my darkest days of midterms and finals. I absolutely love this location; it is right off the green line (Raymond stop), there is free parking, and there are outlets galore. They have single person booths, too, which are perfect for a touch of privacy, spreading out your things, and not feeling like you are wasting a booth that could accommodate a few people. Additionally, the bathrooms have cats painted on the walls, so if that’s not the final selling point then I don’t know what else to tell you.

Urban Bean Coffee

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Address: 2401 Lyndale Ave S, MPLS

Vibe: simple, urban, contemporary

What to get: Americano

Urban Bean Coffee is a great place to study your weekend away. There is free street parking nearby, or it’s about a 15 minute bus ride from campus! Plus, their outlet game is strong. Urban Bean gives you the uptown vibe we all know and love without the swarms of people. There are so many great coffee shops in uptown, but lots of them are completed saturated with the weekend coffee/brunch crowd, which isn’t exactly conducive for productive studying. Five Watt? Butter? Bob’s Java Hut? It’s not you, it’s us. We will always love you, just not during the school year.

Anelace Coffee

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Address: 2402 Central Ave NE, MPLS

Vibe: classic, european, inviting

What to get: Honestly, any coffee is delicious - if you like coffee, you won’t be disappointed!

Anelace Coffee is arguably the best coffee shop in the Twin Cities (dare I say Minnesota, too?). I’m not the only one arguing that, either. It’s odd that this place stays accessible to the innocent, little coffee lovers like me and hasn’t been completely overtaken by coffee snobs and posers, because it’s THAT good. Outlets, plenty. Street parking, plenty. It’s pretty busy on Sunday mornings, but it calms down mid-afternoon.

Spyhouse Coffee

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Address: 945 Broadway St NE, MPLS

Vibe: natural, open, trendy

What to get: Spygirl

The Northeast Spyhouse Coffee location is my favorite Spyhouse for studying. It’s closest to where I live, and although I haven’t measured the other locations, I am pretty sure it is the biggest, so you have a pretty decent chance of getting a table. That being said, the outlet situation could be better - the ability to recharge does not exist at every seat. As long as we are discussing downsides, I might as well mention that it can be really hot in here sometimes, and the music can occasionally be way too loud. Somehow, I am still always super productive here, though. Perhaps it is a placebo effect - nearly everyone raves about Spyhouse, so I feel like it’s gotta be worth the hype, right?

Starbucks

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Address: 450 S Marquette Ave, MPLS

Vibe: Starbucks, lol

What to get: your usual (but the pumpkin spice chai latte is delicious right now)

I am morally obligated to include Starbucks on this list. However, I have a hard time finding Starbucks locations around here that are not packed all the time. The Stadium Village Starbucks? Great location, but everyone knows that, and therefore it’s constantly busy. My favorite Starbucks to study at is downtown, right off the Nicollet Mall green line stop. It’s relatively new, so thankfully the whole world doesn’t know about it yet. It’s busy, but mainly with people coming, grabbing drinks, and going - so you usually don’t have to worry about getting a table. There’s no use in talking about why Starbucks is a good option - you all know of its magical powers.

I hope you have found this list to be useful! Do note that this is not a list of best overall coffee shops in the Twin Cities...that is a list for another day.

Happy studying!