Not only does Chicago have a long list of excellent coffee shops and cafés, but they also have coffee spots that have space to sit, work, chat with friends, and just hang for a while. Something that is hard to come by in similar megacities like NYC. I researched and tried 19 solid options to narrow my list down to 5 of the best coffee shops in Chicago!
Best Coffee Shops in Chicago
1. Ipsento 606 – Wicker Park (several other locations)
Ipsento has three locations and sources some of the best coffee in Chicago with a focus on single origin micro-lot beans that change seasonally. The Wicker Park location (called Ipsento 606) is my favorite of the three. It has a completely different feel from the other two locations with a modern finish, clean and uncluttered space, lots of white and earth tones, and large windows bringing plenty of natural light. The Wicker Park location is known not only for the coffee but also for their mini donuts and the transition to a full bar in the evening. You will find plenty of locals working and spending time here and a constant flow of espresso lovers grabbing their coffee and pastries to go. Ipsento was an easy pick for the best coffee shops in Chicago!
2. La Colombe – Lincoln Park (several other locations)
I was hooked the moment I tasted their draft latte. A concept where the milk is nitrogenated to create a frothy cold latte. If you like your latte to be heavier on the coffee and less on the milk you can custom order asking for a tan which is half nitro latte and half cold brew. La Colombe has recently upped their game and started including Oatly oatmilk nitro lattes on draft at all locations. A reason to love them more if you are dairy sensitive. I prefer the location on Armitage street in Lincoln Park as it has more space to sit and where you will find people actually hanging around a while to chat or work. Beware, they only offer wifi during the weekdays.
3. Fairgrounds Cafe – Wicker Park
Several coffees (nitro and regular), teas, and kombucha on tap make Fairgrounds Cafe a unique stop. There is plenty of space for seating, the design is homey with leather booths and greenery, and the menu has a full list of healthy items.
4. Caffe Umbria – Downtown/North Side and Wicker Park/Bucktown
The downtown location is always buzzing with activity and seems to be a favorite with locals living or working in the area. Caffe Umbria’s branded beans ensure high quality and taste. The downtown space isn’t large but does offer a few small tables and counter seating at the window. There is also a small patio at the entrance. The location in Wicker Park/Bucktown is a 9,000 sq. foot converted car barn and includes a roastery, café, coffee lab, and bright red mural great for pics! If you're in downtown and looking for one of the best coffee shops in Chicago, this is one of your best bets.
5. Three Greens Market – Downtown/ North Side
A hip spot to stay a while and work from the look of the customers using the space. Three Greens Market includes several different spaces under one roof including a restaurant with a hot and cold salad bar, coffee shop, and grab-and-go market. The coffee shop is off to the left side and feels like it has its own space. Several locals recommend Three Greens, which always means it’s a solid option. Comfy seating, lots of tables, and hipster feel.
Honorable Mentions for the best coffee shops in Chicago
Café Integral – Downtown/North Side
I normally don’t go for hotel coffee shops, but the design and cozy feel of Café Integral earns a spot on the list of the best coffee shops in Chicago. The clientele seems to be a mix fo locals, tourists staying at the Freehand hotel, remote workers typing away on their laptops, and friends catching up. Try and grab a spot up the stairs in the back by the fireplace on those cold Chicago days.
Mojo - Downtown
The only reason Mojo doesn't make the top 5 list of best coffee shops in Chicago is that there's no WiFi or electric outlets for those looking to work remotely. Don't let the location inside an office building fool you...it still has the look and feel of a very urban and sleek coffee shop. Mojo started in New Zealand and offers the unique steampunk brewing method. It's like a reverse french press using a vacuum suction creating a delicious brew. The food is also on point. Try one of their many toast options including one with smoked salmon or braised beef cheek. The granola they offer is one of the best I've had.
Colectivo – Lincoln Park
This cafe gets an honorable mention because it has an awesome patio. Colectivo is one of the best coffee shops in Chicago for when the weather is nice or you want a dog friendly patio, otherwise stick to the spots above.
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