Amber Preston has appeared on national commercials for Buffalo Wild Wings and Booking.com, at numerous festivals from Sketchfest to Gilda’s Laughfest (where she was named “Best of the Midwest”), and even on Marc Maron’s “Five Comedians to Watch” list for Vulture. And she hosts Los Angeles shows The Cut and Punchline Punchout, and she created this list of the five best places to get coffee and write in Minneapolis, or at least they were the best places, and will be again.
As a stand comic I spend a major chunk of my time in coffee shops. Writing. Scrolling. Writing again, and then scrolling… and back to writing. I started my stand up career in Minneapolis and through countless hours of procrastination sprinkled with bursts of creativity I have whittled down my top 5 favorite coffee shops for drinking coffee and writing. Although we’re all staying safe at home right now I can’t wait to get back out and support these wonderful small businesses.
The Coffee Shop Northeast is the adorable neighborhood spot where truly everyone knows your name. I lived down the street from this place when I started doing stand up so it holds a special place in my comic heart. I was new to the comedy scene and more than excited for stage time, including the many 11:00 pm open mics around town. The late afternoon coffee became a necessity. My go-to drink at the time was a dealer’s choice of sorts, I essentially asked for a candy bar in a cup. An Almond Joy, but make it a latte. When I first started stand up I LOVED any and all of the sugary syrups and whipped toppings one might throw atop a drink and the fine folks at the Coffee Shop NE were happy to oblige. I simply can not stress enough how friendly and cozy this place is. Although my drink choice has changed the desire for a friendly neighborhood barista remains the same.
Maria’s Cafe serves the best bottomless cup of coffee. Hands down. The best. And it is bottomless, which is the best! If you don’t know about Maria’s you might miss it and drive right on by. This gem is hidden in a building shared with a law firm or chiropractor or both? I don’t really know because I am always in a corn pancake trance. Ok, truth be told this is not a place where I would go to sit and write. But it is the place I would bring headliners when we worked together in Minneapolis. As an emcee and feature just starting out you get the thrill of driving the out-of-town comics places. Maria’s is just that place. The coffee is strong, the parking is a-plenty and the corn pancakes sprinkled with a little cotija cheese are worth their weight in gold. Yes, this is a post about coffee but look at these pancakes! The perfect morning-after-a-show breakfast spot.
The most corporate spot on my list but a favorite nonetheless. The hours I’ve spent hopped up on Dunn Bros cold brew is… TOO MANY. When you’re running from the day job to an open mic you can rest assured you’ll always be able to find a Dunn Bros. Always. They are everywhere in Minneapolis. A beacon of caffeinated light for when you’re on the go and don’t have time to stop for coffee but you do anyway.
I love Glam Doll Donuts. I love donuts. I love coffee. I love pink couches. I love beer. I love deep fried cheese. GLAM DOLL DONUTS literally has it all. And the owners are comedy fans – Bonus! One week when I was at Acme Comedy Company the owners Arwyn and Teresa brought me a box of specialty “Amber” Donuts – a cake donut with whipped cream and bacon bits. What a damn delight and a surefire way into my heart. But back to the point at hand. Glam Doll is a fun place to enjoy a coffee and write. Both shops are ridiculously cute, fun and bright, making them a great spot for creativity. Oh, and one of the shops also serves beer. And a damned deep fried mac and cheese donut. Again this list is about coffee but a great coffee spot that doubles as a great deep fried cheese spot? #GOAT
The Boiler Room is my absolute favorite coffee shop in Minneapolis. Dip down to The Boiler room, located in the garden level of a brick building in the Stevens Square neighborhood and you’ll be a regular before you’ve finished that first cortado. The Boiler Room is the quintessential coffee shop. Clean and modern yet cozy decor, cool art, legit and knowledgeable baristas, a slew of neighborhood regulars, and an impossibly well designed bathroom – The Boiler Room checks all my boxes. And yet again, an amazing owner. Michael Graca has created a coffee shop with all the cool vibes and none of the pretense. He’s a dang goofball and he knows his coffee. This is the place. The place to chill. The place to write. The place to grab a small bite. The place for the perfect latte. This is the place to get a coffee in Minneapolis.