Coffee in Chicago


Food & Drink




There are more and more independent coffee cafes and roasters popping up in Chicago and the suburbs. My goal is to try and report on some of the best for you. I just bought the Indie Coffee Passport which allows me a coffee drink in 22 participating cafes. I will add the new ones as I explore!

I found the passport at the Bourgeois Pig Cafe, a local staple for over 22 years. They feature coffee and tea drinks plus sandwiches, salads, paninis, muffins, cookies, bagels, croissants, scones and ice cream. The old-world atmosphere is perfect for cold Chicago winters. 738 W. Fullerton in Lincoln Park.

Further west is the Humboldt Park neighborhood. I really enjoyed the hip C.C. Ferns, coffee bar & spirits, at 2806 W. Augusta, owned by Brendan Sodikoff and Hogsalt. They feature coffee drinks, Doughnut Vault doughnuts, wine and boozy steamers. The decor is eclectic and very attractive.

3 Arts Club Cafe at RH Chicago: If you are on the Gold Coast, stop in for a coffee at the coffee bar of this wonderful renovation and new retail concept. 1300 N. Dearborn.

Cocoa + Co. is at 1651 N. Wells; for great chocolates, coffee and chocolate drinks

A new find in the South Loop, is the Hero Coffee Bar at 439 S. Dearborn at Congress. In addition to their own roasted coffee, they serve breakfast and lunch items. I enjoyed a great soup and sandwich before a performance of the Joffrey Ballet. They have a second location in Roscoe Village.

Graham’s 318 Coffeehouse Geneva, IL: This is a great spot for a coffee break in downtown Geneva.

Thanks to the Chicago Indie Coffee Passport, I have been exploring some great spots all over town. Recent finds include:

Spoken Cafe at 1812 W. Montrose, Groundswell Coffee Roaster at 4839 N. Damen, Sol Cafe at 1615 W. Howard St., Metropolis Coffee Company at 1039 W. Granville and Wired Coffee at 3508 N. Broadway. Groundswell just opened a second location at 5008 N. Lincoln.

After lunch at Shokolad Pasty & Cafe at 2524 W. Chicago, make sure to stop in for coffee at Atomix Cafe at 1957 W. Chicago with a fun retro feel.

Another great recent find is Big Shoulders Coffee at 1105 W. Chicago Ave. They have excellent coffee, so don’t miss it.

I just found Heritage General Store that is a coffee shop adjacent to a store selling bicycles, gear, apparel and repairs. It has a wonderful atmosphere and decor with great coffee and amazing doughnuts!! One of my favorite new spots. 2959 N. Lincoln. They also have Heritage Outpost at 1325 W. Wilson.

Further north in Lincoln Square is Oromo Cafe, which  opened in August, 2016. It is is a hip coffee shop with great coffee and a beautifully designed space. 4703 N. Lincoln. Down the street at is  The Grind Cafe at 4613 N. Lincoln which features espresso drinks plus a number of food items.

Caffe Streets is a fun independent coffee shop at 1750 W. Division in a growing restaurant neighborhood. Further north is Buzz Killer Espresso. This is a local coffee shop, that was just redone, is a good spot for a shopping break. 1644 N. Damen.

A perfect spot for coffee and pastry in Lincoln Park is Vanille Patisserie at 2108 N. Clark. They have two other locations in town at the Chicago French Market downtown and at 3243 N. Broadway. Their macarons are excellent! The also offer afternoon tea, so make sure to call for a reservation ahead.

Another great coffee and pastry spot is Bittersweet Pastry Shop & Cafe at 1114 W. Belmont. It has been a neighborhood favorite since 1993 and has wonderful pastries, cookies and more including sandwiches, soups and quiche.

Vienna Austria based Julius Meinl has one coffeehouse in Chicago and two coffee bars.  The coffee house is very nice and the two other locations very good. I was just at their smaller location in the heart of Michigan Avenue in Streeterville, at 211 E. Ontario. The latte was excellent.

La Colombe Coffee Roasters now has five locations in Chicago. Besides, Chicago, they can currently be found in New York, Boston, Bryn Mawr, Washington, DC and Los Angeles. I recently stopped in at their Wicker Park location at 1552 N. Damen Ave. near the Blue Line stop. I am also glad they opened in my neighborhood at 858 W. Armitage. I was very impressed with the quality.

Also in Wicker Park is TOMS Chicago at 1611 N. Damen. Not only do they have a coffee shop, but they feature retail items from shoes and sunglasses to apparel, backpacks and bags. For every purchase they help a person in need by making a donation in the US and around the world. Across the street, a place that I have always enjoyed, is Buzz Killer Espresso at 1644 N. Damen is moving to 2779 N. Milwaukee Ave.

New to the same neighborhood is Red Beard Coffee Traders at 1948 W. North Ave. near the intersection of Damen and Milwaukee. Started in Southern California, this is their first location in Chicago.  They will soon roast all of their coffee onsite. The staff was helpful and very friendly.

For coffee in the Loop, make sure to stop in at the hard to find Pickwick Coffee Roasting Co. at 22 E. Jackson. They are located in a small alley on the north side of the street between State and Wabash.

Opened in March, 2017 is Werewolf Coffee Bar at 1765 N. Elston, near the intersection of Elston, Ashland and Courtland/Armitage. It is DMK Restaurant’s first coffee bar. It is located in a warehouse district that has more and more restaurants and food offerings. Their Ada St. restaurant is around the corner. The fun part is that the barista station is made from a converted Wonder Bread truck. I enjoyed my first visit and will be back!

A great new addition to the Chicago coffee scene is Colectivo Coffee at 2530 N. Clark in Lincoln Park. Located in the former Einstein Bagel shop, it has a great outside patio for the warmer months. In addition to great coffee drinks, they feature a large number of breakfast items as well as a number of signature sandwiches.