Tag Archives: professional blogger

Coast-to-Coffice: Grouchy John’s

Coast-to-Coffice: Grouchy John’s

freelance, cappuccino, latte, locally owned, small business, corporate blogger, corporate writer, Henderson, Nevada, photography, professional blogger, professional writer, social media professional, travel, Wi-Fi, working on the road

Las Vegas’ independent coffee shop culture has been growing, and Grouchy John’s is a great example of that.  Grouchy John’s began as a mobile coffee truck.  In late 2011, namesake owner John Ynigues opened up a brick-and-mortar location in Henderson, complete with a drive-thru, and Grouchy John’s was promptly voted Best New Coffee Shop in 2012 by Las Vegas WEEKLY.

freelance, cappuccino, latte, locally owned, small business, corporate blogger, corporate writer, Henderson, Nevada, photography, professional blogger, professional writer, social media professional, travel, Wi-Fi, working on the road

freelance, cappuccino, latte, locally owned, small business, corporate blogger, corporate writer, Henderson, Nevada, photography, professional blogger, professional writer, social media professional, travel, Wi-Fi, working on the road

Like many of these independent shops, Grouchy John’s firmly believes in community partnerships.  So, the coffee is brewed with beans from Colorado River Coffee Roasters in Boulder City, and pastries come from neighborhood bakeries.  The idea is to support good people and local businesses so the money stays in the community.  That’s one of the primary reasons I like to work in these places.

freelance, cappuccino, latte, locally owned, small business, corporate blogger, corporate writer, Henderson, Nevada, photography, professional blogger, professional writer, social media professional, travel, Wi-Fi, working on the road

freelance, cappuccino, latte, locally owned, small business, corporate blogger, corporate writer, Henderson, Nevada, photography, professional blogger, professional writer, social media professional, travel, Wi-Fi, working on the road

Of course, ambiance is just as important as what’s in the cup, and Grouchy John’s is definitely a creative gathering space.   It’s very homey.  Games and books are available for your entertainment.   If you need to pick up a gift with your latte, Grouchy John’s has pieces from local artists on the walls that are available for purchase.  If you’re a social media passionista, following Grouchy John’s on Facebook or Twitter will make you privvy to specials and give you glimpses of shenanigans going on at the store.

freelance, cappuccino, latte, locally owned, small business, corporate blogger, corporate writer, Henderson, Nevada, photography, professional blogger, professional writer, social media professional, travel, Wi-Fi, working on the road

Those wanting to use the free Wi-Fi can plant themselves at a high countertop by the window or at one of the small tables.  Those looking for conversation can relax on leather couches.   Grouchy John’s an excellent place to get away from the chain experience and give your hard-earned dollars to a locally owned neighborhood shop.

Coast-to-Coffice: The Beat

Coast-to-Coffice: The Beat

travel, photography, working on the road, Las Vegas, Nevada, The Beat Coffeehouse, downtown Vegas, Fremont Street, Emergency Arts, professional writer, professional blogger, corporate writer, corporate blogger, social media professional, Wi-Fi

Even though we were in Vegas to celebrate Christmas and the new year, there was still work to be done.  This time, though, I knew exactly what coffice I wanted to work at.  I’d first visited The Beat Coffeehouse when I was the City Leader for CRAVE Las Vegas, a coffee table book project for women entrepreneurs, and I’d attended lots of meetings there.  The vibe is relaxed; you can perch your laptop on the counter while you eat or grab a couch and get comfy.  As a bonus, it was within walking distance of our temporary home at Main Street Station.

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The  independent coffeehouse at Sixth and Fremont, just two blocks from The Fremont Street Experience, is a gathering place for those who live and work in downtown Vegas.  Along with the requisite free Wi-Fi for customers, The Beat has small menu with eclectic food, coffee drinks and a nice selection of beer and wine in the evening.  The space in the Emergency Arts building includes a vintage store and creative businesses, including galleries and artist studios.

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My favorite munchie at The Beat is the Slap & Tickle sandwich, a hipster twist on the classic PB&J with peanut butter, homemade jam, crisp bacon and optional jalapeño slices to kick things up a notch.  Paired with some iced tea, it’ll take you through your afternoon to-do list.  And, you can easily take quick breaks to people watch out the window while you’re getting things done.

travel, photography, working on the road, Las Vegas, Nevada, The Beat Coffeehouse, downtown Vegas, Fremont Street, Emergency Arts, professional writer, professional blogger, corporate writer, corporate blogger, social media professional, Wi-Fi

Coast-to-Coffice: Liquid Johnny’s

Coast-to-Coffice: Liquid Johnny’s

Liquid Johnny's, free Wi-Fi, Merlot, Wisconsin State Fair RV Park, coffice, freelance, working on the road

Liquid Johnny’s is a bar and restaurant on the corner of 76th Street and West Main Street in Milwaukee, easy walking distance from the Wisconsin State Fair RV Park.  I wrote a post about it back in September after we’d discovered it when we were working Harley’s 110th.

In addition to an amazing Fish Fry Friday, Liquid Johnny’s has free Wi-Fi.  The place is small and casual, with a bar on one side and four-seat tables on the other.  Laminated menus stay tucked up against the wall at each table.  It’s not really a sports bar, but there are plenty of TVs scattered around if you want to catch the game.  Although there’s no charge for Wi-Fi, you do need to ask for the password.

One night when I still had work to do and Mike wanted to have dinner with a colleague, we headed to Liquid Johnny’s.  I had some chips and salsa with a glass of Merlot while Mike chatted with his friend.  It was a nifty twist on the usual coffice experience!

Coast-to-Coffice: Colectivo Fifth Ward

Coast-to-Coffice: Colectivo Fifth Ward

Colectivo, Fifth Ward, coffice, coffee shop, coffeehouse, Milwaukee, local, small business, freelance, writing, blogging, social media, Wi-Fi, free wifi

Sharing space with other commercial enterprises, Colectivo‘s Fifth Ward location upcycles a discarded building into a cool coffeehouse that pays homage to the past.  The Foundry café, in Milwaukee’s emerging Fifth Ward neighborhood, is housed in the former Kramer International foundry.

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When Milwaukee was first settled, the Fifth Ward encompassed the area south of the Fourth Ward, between the Milwaukee River and First Avenue.  Over time, that area was absorbed into Walker’s Point.  Unfortunately, as the years went by, Walker’s Point became associated with crime and pollution.  Interest in historic preservation and a desire to make the Fifth Ward more appealing prompted the re-adoption of the name.  Interestingly, Colectivo (which was then Alterra) began roasting on the fifth floor of a warehouse in Walker’s Point.

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The Kramer International foundry produced non-ferrous and ferrous products for pump manufacturers.  The café honors that manufacturing tradition and history with its post-industrial design.

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As with all the Colectivo shops, everything is baked fresh every day at the Bay View location.  They source from local farms as much as possible, and they also partner with other Wisconsin food producers.  Wi-Fi is free, although it does ask you to re-accept the usage agreement after a couple of hours.

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The Fifth Ward location – with its friendly baristas, funky ambiance, reliable Wi-Fi, and range of great beverages and food – is an eccentric yet cozy place to be productive.

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Coast-to-Coffice: Colectivo Lakefront

Coast-to-Coffice: Colectivo Lakefront

ColectivoLakefront

I’ve been sharing my coffices for a while now, but I’ve decided to formalize my reviews under a “Coast-to-Coffice” column.  My focus will be on locally owned, small business establishments, rather than the chains (although I enjoy working at Starbucks on occasion, too).  I’ve also added a page to the blog devoted to coffices.  That way, anyone who might be looking for a place to work and get to know a community while enjoying awesome beverages (and yummy eats) can check out where we’ve been.

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Colectivo Coffee began its life in Milwaukee as Alterra Coffee in 1993.   After years of building the business locally, Alterra attracted national attention, and the company sold its name and certain artistic assets to Mars Drinks.  They ultimately gave up their connection with Mars and renamed themselves Colectivo, a name which was “inspired by the artful and funky buses used for public transportation across Latin America, ‘colectivos’ (co-lec-TEE-vo), and the iconic part of everyday life they represent for everyday people”.  There are 12 cafes in the state, eight of which are in Milwaukee and its suburbs.

ColectivoLakefront3

The Lakefront location is across from McKinley Marina in the historic Milwaukee River Flushing Station which was built in 1888.  The Flushing Station’s purpose was to flush out pollution by pumping fresh water from Lake Michigan into the Milwaukee River. The cafe inhabits two-thirds of the building, and the flushing pump, which is still functioning, takes up the remaining third.

ColectivoLakefront3b

My first reaction to learning that the coffee shop was in an old flushing station was, “Eww!”  A collaboration between a food and beverage company and the Milwaukee Metropolian Sewerage District seems kind of gross.  But, when you visit, all the nasty images are replaced by the quirky look and cool vibe Colectivo has created, not to mention the living museum quality of the flushing station elements.

ColectivoLakefront5

Colectivo’s Lakefront location goes beyond creating a sort of living history to include environmentally-friendly features.  There’s apparently a wetland garden that captures and filters parking lot runoff, although we couldn’t see it while we were there in late November.  And, supposedly plants on the grounds are irritgated by rainfall from the roof that’s routed into barrels.  The three levels of the cafe are made from recycled materials like wood decking from an old soap factory, brick and steel recovered from pre-existing buildings, and salvaged pump room wood.

ColectivoLakefront4

But what about the coffee?  The coffee is excellent, likely a result of the long-term farmer and co-op partnerships Colectivo has developed over the years. Colectivo also offers Letterbox Fine Teas, a hand-selected line of teas.  And the food’s pretty good, too.  Like the coffee, prices are reasonable.  Everything is baked fresh every day at the Bay View location.  They source from local farms as much as possible, and they also partner with other Wisconsin food producers.  Wi-Fi is free, although it does ask you to re-accept the usage agreement after a couple of hours.

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Every summer, the Lakefront location is also host to the Florentine Opera and Musica del Lago outdoor music series.  It’ll be fun to check that out when we’re here in the warm weather.

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