Chicago's 6 Best Neighborhoods for Coffee Shops
Coffee shops are about more than what comes in a cup — they’re places that evoke a sense of community, spaces to relax and unwind, or places to get things done. In Chicago, there is no shortage of local roasters and intricately designed coffee shops, but not all neighborhoods are treated equally. If grabbing a cup with friends is a favorite pastime or working remotely is a common occurrence, consider living in one of Chicago’s coffee shop hubs.
Wicker Park is home to one of Chicago’s most famously nerdy and trendy coffee shops, like the Wormhole. This spot is decked out in 80s and 90s decor, like “Ghostbusters” movie posters, a lounge area to play the original Nintendo, and, of course, the Delorean. Serving Halfwit coffee, Wormhole is known as much for its nostalgia as it is for its plethora of tables and outlets for those working from home.
The totally adorable Lovely Kitchen & Cafe on Milwaukee is decked out in all antique and vintage farmhouse decor. It’s a great place to work, and there’s almost always a place to sit with a nearby outlet. Order a chai latte and don’t miss out on the quiche of the day.
La Colombe has one of its five Chicago locations right under the Damen Blue Line CTA stop, making it a great place to pick up a quick cup and a pastry. Red Beard Coffee Traders on North Avenue, and Caffe Streets, Alliance Bakery, and Purple Llama on Division Street all deserve a visit, as well.
Newer to the coffee scene in Bucktown is Fairgrounds, a modern and airy space that serves coffee and cold brew from some of the best craft roasters in the nation, including Dark Matter, Noble Tree, Frothy Monkey, Collectivo, and Stumptown. A coffee aficionado should go here to sample over 20 different roasters.
Bucktown is also home to Ipsento, which has its original shop on Western Avenue north of Milwaukee and a newer spot on Milwaukee right off The 606. The 606 location is always bustling and has a great outdoor space right off the path, while the original Ipsento is dim and cozy. Tucked into a residential street, Red June is a hidden gem on Leavitt, offering a solid spot to chill and avoid the commotion of other nearby shops.
Hailing from the Pacific Northwest, Stumptown opened its first Chicago location a few months ago in the Ace Hotel. The company is known for sourcing from the best coffee producers in the world, and the modern and bright cafe in the West Loop showcases its quality. Ground Up on Van Buren, Morgan Street Cafe on Morgan and Adams, and Groundswell Coffee Roasters on Madison Street have great food and a small cafe space to work or have a business meeting.
Swada on Green Street is hugely popular, and it doesn’t hurt that they sell Doughnut Vault donuts here. It’s in the same area as High Five Ramen and Green Street Meats, so keep in mind it can get chaotic on weekends. La Colombe has another location on Randolph, and Meddle Coffee Bar just east of the highway serves up local favorite Dark Matter.
Take a stroll down 18th Street and you’ll find a fair share of the neighborhood’s best coffee and tea. Brew Brew Coffee and Tea is a new local favorite that replaced the old Bow Truss Coffee location right off the CTA Pink Line. The shop serves Ipsento coffee and pastries from various local bakeries. It also has a location in Avondale.
TrueNorth on Clark is a vegan coffee drinker’s dream. This spot serves Metropolis coffee, smoothies, and overnight oats, as well as a collection of organic salads and wraps. The whole place is furnished by local shops and artists, and it was designed in a collaboration with Scout + Design. Located just a bit north of TrueNorth on Clark, The Coffee Studio has handcrafted coffees and specialty drinks, donuts and pastries, bagels, flatbreads, house-made ice cream, beer, and wine.
Andersonville is also home to the vegetarian-friendly Kopi Travelers Cafe, First Slice Pie Cafe, and Dollop Diner. Chicago Grind and Kitchen Sink are located off Berwyn Avenue near the Red Line CTA stop, both of which offer quality sandwiches and pastries.
Logan Square is home to one of the city’s newest and most-loved coffee shops: Milwaukee-based Colectivo Coffee. Colectivo also has a location in Lincoln Park, but the fanfare around its Milwaukee Avenue location has put the brand on the map. They serve the standard pastries and small bites here, as well as beer on tap. Check out the patio and cozy firepit.
Damn Fine Coffee Bar, Passion House Coffee Roasters, Gaslight Coffee Roasters, Intelligentsia, and Caffe Umbria are all located here. Long before the buzz of Logan Square, Cafe Mustache was a favorite for coffee and hanging out. Cafe Mustache opened its doors in 2010, as a coffee shop that turns into a bar at 6 p.m., when the WiFi turns off and artistic events and live music take over.