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Chicago’s Must Visit Coffee Shops

SAIC student Joanne Kim highlights some of the best coffee shops around Chicago to satisfy your caffeine cravings.

By F+

Illustration by Priyoshi Kapur

It seems that as the semester begins, so do cravings for speciality coffee drinks. Starbucks, Peet’s, and other big name coffee shop chains overwhelm the Loop. They offer a quick fix of caffeine, an easy access for any of us who are desperate to stay awake and finish those last few assignments. Here on F Newsmagazine, we honor those who are in search of tasty coffee, quiet places for good conversations with friends, and spots to hide and feed your introvert-side with some long overdue reading. We’ve compiled a list for you to get to know some of the trustworthy local coffee shops around campus and Chicago just in time for fall.

New to town, Goddess and the Baker (33 S. Wabash Ave.) opened up a couple of months ago around the corner from the Neiman Center. Under the illuminated sign reading “EAT NOW Caffeinated,” this delightful place welcomes you with baked goods, a small snack and a full-sized meal menu, and coffee that features a number of beans from Dark Matter Coffee to Metropolis Coffee Co. Check out Goddess and the Grocer (they have three locations) if you enjoy quick bites, tons of natural light, and a wide selection of coffee.    

If you consider yourself a serious coffee drinker, Intelligentsia Coffee Millennium Park Coffeebar (53 E. Randolph St.) will do your time justice with a top-notch pour of espresso drinks. The art works on display change seasonally — something to look forward to for your fall visit. One of the best parts of Intelligentsia is that sweet student discount you can get by showing your ID while at the register.

Dollop Coffee and Tea (343 S. Dearborn St.) is only a short distance from campus. You’ll find your fellow introverts and study groups at both the indoor and outdoor section of the coffee shop. There are number of other Dollops you can find in Chicago, one of which is located by the Museum of Contemporary Arts in Streeterville (345 E. Ohio St). This location offers a bigger space and more seats along the windows so you can enjoy the view while chugging through your work. All Dollop shops serve Metropolis Coffee and their own pastries from Hoosier Mama Pie Company in Pilsen.

Another impeccable place for getting some work done is Bridgeport Coffeehouse (3101 S. Morgan St.) This coffee shop is capacious, though a little far south. In different sections of the shop, there are quieter spaces with no background music and large tables. You’ll also be able to find a space where you can sit down with friends to chat and watch the baristas bustling near the counter. You can stop by Pleasant House Bakery right across for some savory pie — or Chinatown is only a couple of blocks away for some dim-sum on your way out.

If you cycle, Heritage Bicycles General Shop (2959 N. Lincoln Ave.) might be the right place for you. Heritage not only sells their own bikes, but also offers bike repair services for your bike through appointments. But don’t underestimate their coffee just because it’s a bike shop. The baristas here are serious about their craft as their craftsmen are about their bikes. There aren’t as many seating options available, but the dandy ambiance goes well for a quiet, coffee-sipping experience. You can also visit Heritage Outpost (1325 W. Wilson Ave.) if you are simply looking to drink coffee. Their cold brew iced coffee is a must try and is actually ann image you can find on Tumblr under the hashtags “#coffee” and “#hipster.”

You might already know what you are ordering even before walking into a coffee shop. La Colombe (955 W. Randolph St.) in the West Loop offers all kinds of coffee that you can’t find on a written menu. Tell the barista what you’re looking for, and chances are they will say that they got you covered. All drinks are served in their signature ceramics that look as wonderful as their drinks taste. If you find a time to visit the North Side of the city, La Colombe (5158 N. Clark St.) in Andersonville is very spacious and is surround by charming local shops you could browse in while you take your coffee to go.

Now, if you are wondering where the hub of coffee shops is in Chicago, go to Wicker Park. To recommend two of the many java places in the neighborhood, FILTER CAFÉ (1373-75 N. Milwaukee Ave.) offers comfortable seating and Caffe Streets (1750 W. Division St.) invites warm sun lights right on the street where the upcoming Renegade Crafts Fair (Sept. 19-20) will be held.

Another neighborhood in which you can find good coffee shops around is Lincoln Park. Bourgeois Pig Café (738 W. Fullerton Ave.) is perfect if you want to get away from the Internet for a while. (Free wifi has a two hour limit.)

Thanks to Chicago, there are countless of other decent coffee shops waiting for you to indulge this year.

*NOTED: the writer tried visiting the newly opened Bow Truss Coffee Roasters (73 E. Jackson Ave.), though unfortunately it was closed on Sundays. On Monday she visited Bow Truss Coffee Roasters (406 N. Wells St.) in River North and let’s just say their 8oz Batch Brew is so rich and full, it put a smile on her face.

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