This week on the West Bank, I decided to check out Mapps Coffee & Tea. With busy schedules and limited free time, what’s better than indulging in a comfy couch and a hot drink?

For starters, it did not take me long to get there at all. In fact, Mapps is literally feet away from the Carlson School of Management, at 1810 Riverside Avenue, (across the street from the Associated Bank). And yes, there is even parking right outside the building!

When walking in, it felt familiar; Mapps has that same unique ambiance to it as do various other coffee shops. The space is very open, with lots of natural lighting and big windows. The tables are spread out well enough, with a combination of big couches and different sized wooden tables. The walls are covered in maps, representing the culture of the West Bank in and of itself. Some bookcases and frames even have displays of local artwork. In short, it’s peaceful, with a lot of personality; a good place to study, to hang out, or to work, both morning and night.

Open early in the morning, to 8:00 P.M., Mapps has a lot to offer Minnesota students – take it from a fellow student! It goes beyond other coffee shops by hosting live music and television showings on occasion. There are a lot of other things to look at and do here, (aside from procrastinating on homework) – bring a tea pot to your table and read the local paper, eat one of the renown paninis, or come to open mic night and have your band play live.

But let’s get real… We’re actually here to feed the caffeine craving school has instilled in us and find comfort food to try and de-stress from the semester. Personally, I decided to try the award-winning chai tea, and was nothing short of satisfied. They’re also well known for their grilled paninis and wide array of bakery and lunch items, (from fresh baked chocolate chip cookies, to pasta salad, to frozen yogurt). The drink menu is what really reminded me of the Purple Onion too, with the colorful menus and specialty drinks, (such as the Cupcake latte – yes, I’m serious). I was actually pleasantly surprised, though, to see the prices of each drink. These were significantly lower than many other coffee shops on campus, with a normal sized drink being around $3, instead of the typical $4 or $5. They even have student specials, discounts, and Groupons!

In all, if you’re looking for a good place to study, without having to fight other students for a table to sit at, this is the place to check out. Good food, good vibes. For more info, check out their Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mapps-Coffee-and-Tea/301147735991. I will, without a doubt, be returning to Mapps. They’ve even had local celebrities stop by for a drink… So when will you?

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