Chicago's coffee houses have really stepped up their game in recent years.
An influx of young creative types have given an impetus to craft interesting, quirky spaces with genuine relevance to the local area. There’s so much to enjoy from this coffee scene and so many worthy cafés that could make this list. In compiling our top ten, we looked out for places with not only fast wifi and great coffee, but stimulating surroundings, an adequate supply of sockets, wholesome food and the friendliness of staff.
Bucktown’s Ipsento is small enough, getting down here outside peak hours is often a prerequisite to getting a seat, but once you’ve claimed a spot you can enjoy their flawless coffee and pastry menu. Their Nutella latte will put you such a good mood you’ll even feel up for whacking out all those lingering email responses that have been bugging you.
9. Bourgeois Pig Café
This one is perfect for students of the close by De Paul University campus. The two hour limit placed on wifi use is a drawback, but BPC also does a great job of providing for group meetings in holding a designated space, so this is a great spot to meet up and get some work done over a hearty discussion. The vintage French theme makes this café one of the most purely attractive ones on this list.
8. Gaslight Coffee Roasters
Gaslight is a very popular spot both among local residents and those who make the trip to breathe in this enjoyable environment. This does mean that the decibel level is kept pretty high. Many freelancers might consider this a distinct advantage however. Feel like you might need to bounce a blog idea off someone else at short notice? Gaslight attracts a steady stream of interesting, gregarious types and is perfect for such occasions.
7. Next Door
Situated in a quitter part of town just north of Lincoln Park, this café provides a great social resource in the form of large meeting spaces for community residents. Next Door provides a great social resource to the local community and even has conference rooms to run classes from.
6. Sip Coffeehouse
A veteran independent coffeehouse in the city. Sip has been doing great coffee since before wifi existed but has been quick to catch on. This cafe boasts an abundance of lovely patio space with big couches to sink into.
5. Currency Exchange
A bright, warm space with a great location just by Washington Park, which is perfect for when your eyes are glazing over and you need to reacquaint yourself with some natural surroundings. The central atrium space is a nice focal point. Indeed the tasteful redecoration work means that this former warehouse exudes a chic industrial feel without ever feeling austere or cold.
4. Eastman Egg Company
Eastman is a fantastic spot to work up a hunger! Their eggs and meats are all natural and sourced from a farm in Fairbury, Illinois and their locally-roasted coffee is served up in several Michelin starred restaurants in the city. The staff are warm and chatty as well as being expert baristas. Their cold brews are impeccable.
3. Cup & Spoon
This Wicker Park café is a rising star on the scene, gathering momentum through the relationships its forged with local artists and curators. For example, they stage the well-liked WOW Frequency events, which were set up in collaboration with DreamBox Gallery to give a platform for all types of artists. Additionally, C&S are renowned for creative little snacks like homemade pop tarts to keep you going (ideal for when you’re in the middle of work but you find your stomach grumbling).
2. Filter Café
Filter gives you the peculiar sensation of being in an airy, open space yet surrounded by cosy, well-furnished nooks. This spot has a very chill ambiance. It's big enough for you to park yourself down the back with a warm coffee and get a ton of work done. Filter is well set up to handle your needs – even when full to the brim with customers, the wifi strength still goes strong.
1. The Wormhole
Very careful attention has been paid to the décor. This place has a fun 80s theme throughout, with vintage Nintendo game imagery and 80s film posters ubiquitous. It even has a cool 8-bit design bench and an actual DeLorean on the premises. This place has really gone all out and it makes for a very satisfying customer experience. It always pipes out a hip soundtrack ans complimentary quirky crowd frequent this place. It has a perfect location in the middle of Milwaukee Avenue.