We’ve all fallen prey to the lure of Starbucks at some point in our lives. We all know we can do better, but it can be a challenge to step out of our coffee comfort zone. Whether you reject the chain approach to java or wholeheartedly embrace it, discovering a local gem with delicious drinks and a cozy setting is undeniably satisfying. Check out these seven coffee spots, and one might just become your new regular haunts.
Chicago’s River North neighborhood may not be the first place you’d think of for unique coffee joints, but Cafe Integral is more than happy to convince you otherwise. This coffeehouse, tucked in the front of the Freehand Hotel, serves up Nicaraguan coffee that will make a repeat customer out of you. Red and blue mosaic tiles create a warm, welcoming ambiance made all the more enticing by the smell of house-roasted brews. Pair a cup of your favorite drink with a tasty dish from the amazing food menu.
Heritage Outpost takes the cake – or the cup if you will – when it comes to originality. Heritage Outpost brings together fragrant beverages and bikes. With three locations, one in Lakeview and two in Uptown, you can chose where you want to experience this unique blend of ideas. The traditional coffeehouse menu does not disappoint when it comes to flavor and the sunny, cheerful atmosphere will keep you sitting and sipping for hours. If biking happens to be up your alley, check out Heritage’s very own collection of bikes and gear for sale.
The Wormhole Coffee
Calling all Marty McFly and Doc Brown devotees: the Wormhole Coffee is a lover of all things 1980s, as you’ll be able to tell from the shop’s very own DeLorean. Venture into Wicker Park to sip on The Wormhole’s addictive brews. Most of the drinks are proudly made with Halfwit Coffee Roasters’ beans, but they also feature guest roasters for the intrepid coffee drinker seeking something new. Bask in the warm glow of nostalgia courtesy of the 1980s memorabilia and simply enjoy an artfully brewed cup of coffee.
Gaslight Coffee Roasters
Gaslight Coffee Roasters is undoubtedly a regular stop for the denizens of Logan Square, but if you don’t spend much time up north it’s easy to miss this gem. The exposed brick walls and dark wood accents make the perfect backdrop for a leisurely cup of coffee – and Gaslight definitely knows how to do coffee. The shop has a rotating menu of drip brews, as well as a regular menu of espresso and pour-overs. If you find yourself hopelessly in love with Gaslight, but nowhere near the physical location, never fear; these roasters offer a subscription with the option for delivery every one or two weeks.
Coffee is more than just a vehicle for caffeine; in the right hands, it becomes a form of art. Barista and latte artist Hiroshi Sawada proves just that. Sawada Coffee, his first outpost in the United States, serves up beverages as delicious as they are beautiful. Duck into the industrial-style space in the West Loop to admire and sip on expertly crafted matcha, coffee, espresso and tea. If you’re looking for a little extra kick in your cup, order off of the boozy steamer menu. If the scotch and honey boozy options can’t thaw the chill of Chicago winter, nothing can.
Brew Brew Coffee & Tea
In 2014, a pair of siblings, along with another business partner, opened Brew Brew in Avondale. Despite being a relatively young shop, the cozy coffee lounge has managed to gain a solid hold in the competitive Chicago coffee scene. Perhaps some of its success can be traced back to its dedication to local goods; Brew Brew’s coffee comes from Metropolis Coffee Company and Passion House Coffee Roasters, two Chicago-based roasters. All of the scrumptious baked goods sold at the shop are brought in from local bakeries as well. All the delicious coffee shop staples can be found here, in addition to its own seasonal specialty drinks. Bonus: you can get a steaming cup delivered straight to your door through GrubHub and UberEats.
Two Hearted Queen
The founding of Two Hearted Queen is a story of romance that starts, unsurprisingly, with coffee. The founders of Two Hearted Queen, Cassandra Andrewson and Cely Garcia, met while working at another coffee shop. After an instant spark, the pair discovered their mutual dream of opening a coffeehouse. Eventually, Two Hearted Queen was born in Lakeview. The inside of the shop features warm wood floors and brightly colored walls. All of the coffee served is sourced from farms with sustainable growing practices and infrastructures. Two Hearted Queen also doubles as a community center, inviting coffee drinkers to become a part of a welcoming group. The noble mission and undeniably good coffee make this gem twice as worthy of a visit.
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