BEST COFFEE HOUSE Minneapolis 2008 - Uncommon Grounds Coffee House
2809 Hennepin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55408
The location is a little odd: The two-story Victorian house is slightly pushed back on Hennepin Avenue, concealed within the busy, commercial strip that leads to the heart of Uptown. And the hours are a little bit inopportune: The place doesn't open until 5 p.m. on weekdays. But once the doors are open, it's clear what the fuss over Uncommon Grounds is all about. Dark red and faded emerald green walls and furniture cover the interior. Wraparound velour booths are scattered throughout the rooms that bear the original woodcarvings of what once was a rich family's country home in the late 1800s. Uncommon Grounds has a limited selection, with one kind of medium roast: $1.70 for a small and $2.45 for a large cup of joe, which comes in a pint glass. But Uncommon Grounds knows what it's good for and what it isn't: The blend is smooth, mild, and rich, with the perfect tinge of potency. The place also offers the traditional latte ($2.95 for a small, and $3.65 for a large), and has people banging on the antique-looking doors for its spicy yet sweet chai tea. On a Sunday morning, expect to see pissed-off and tired college students gripping their laptops, but on weekend nights the show really gets going. Groups of twenty- and thirtysomething friends gather under the dimmed chandeliers and kick back to relive a simpler time, when the only thing next to the Victorian home would have been another quaint residence, not a local branch of the Running Room.