A long time ago, in a quest to temper my coffee consumption, I made a rule that I would not settle for mediocre coffee. If I was going to treat myself to a cup of caffeine, it shouldn’t be easy to acquire and it should be damn good. Though this endeavor turned out to be an expensive habit, I found that I love discovering the best coffee shops in each city — the places where baristas have won awards, where the beans are lovingly sourced, where there’s a feeling of real community and, yes, where the almond milk is homemade.
Las Vegas happens to be home to one of the best such coffee shops: PublicUs. It’s so good that I even schlep from The Strip, where I’m usually staying — and where nearly every creature comfort is within reach — to its location in the east Fremont district of downtown Las Vegas.
That’s because there is nothing on the Strip that comes close to PublicUs’s iced macadamia-nut-milk latte. Most food, syrups and milks are homemade here, including the macadamia-nut milk, which is creamy, slightly sweet and full of little bits of crushed macadamia nuts. PublicUs also offers a refreshing slice of normal life and a feeling of genuine community — especially welcome in a city that either reels in fantastical spectacle or its ensuing hangover.
In sharp contrast to the rows of abandoned motels surrounding it, PublicUs is filled with families, friends and couples enjoying their coffees, pastries and entrees (such as quiches, avocado toast and veggie burgers). The space is also inviting via copious seating and an attractive design that manages to be both hip-industrial and welcoming.
There’s no doubt about it: If you’re looking for well-made coffee drinks and an earnest vibe, your best bet is PublicUs.