clock menu more-arrow no yes
A masked barista sets a pair of drinks on the counter while customers wait in line.
Cafe Jumping Bean has been a standby in Pilsen for more than 25 years.
Brian Rich/Sun-Times

Chicago’s 20 Essential Coffee Shops

Drips, espressos, lattes, matchas, and more

View as Map
Cafe Jumping Bean has been a standby in Pilsen for more than 25 years.
| Brian Rich/Sun-Times

Chicago is home to several roasteries that painstakingly source beans to produce the perfect blend and to serious coffee shops that brew drips and espressos that put cheap diner swill to shame. Meanwhile, baristas continue to hone their skills and experiment with new flavors. Sit down and enjoy their efforts at these 20 essential shops.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Sol Cafe

Copy Link
1615 W Howard St
Chicago, IL 60626
(773) 961-8289
Visit Website

Sol Cafe is a peaceful, plant-filled oasis on the border of Chicago and Evanston in the historic Howard Theatre. It’s become a community hub for students, laptop workers, and neighborhood residents, offering a mixture of standard and seasonal coffee and tea drinks, hearty breakfasts and sandwiches, and Do-Rite Donuts, all with vegan variations.

2. Metropolis Coffee Company

Copy Link
1039 W Granville Ave
Chicago, IL 60660
(773) 764-0400
Visit Website

This family-owned coffee company does mostly wholesale business these days — its roastery is in Avondale — but the cafe where it all began is still in Edgewater, where it’s been for the past 18 years, and it’s still a friendly place to sit with a laptop or a book or a friend and sip coffee and maybe nibble a pastry (from Phlour) and watch the world go by.

3. Oromo Cafe

Copy Link
4703 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60625
(773) 799-1931
Visit Website

This is a veritable United Nations for coffee. Baristas combine beans from Africa and South and Central America and flavors from India, Turkey, Cuba, and Japan to create some of Chicago’s most unique coffee drinks, some spiked with superfoods to make them even more powerful. The kitchen serves an assortment of sandwiches, pastries, and gluten-free treats. There’s also a Bucktown location.

4. Botanical Cafe

Copy Link
3740 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60613
(312) 815-7515
Visit Website

This hybrid cafe and plant store in North Center carries the botanical themes through its menu of specialty drinks made with house-made syrups in flavors like lavender, strawberry, and violet. Beans are from Conscious Cup and tea is from Rare Tea Cellars; doughnuts are from Brite, kolache from Howdy Kolache, and cookies from Salamat Cookies, which incorporates Filipino flavors.

5. Osmium Coffee Bar

Copy Link
1117 W Belmont
Chicago, IL
(773) 360-7553
Visit Website

Osmium Coffee Bar is the Lakeview sibling in the Dark Matter family, which is spread out all over the city. Enjoy some strong coffee in a funky space with neon lights and graffiti-style artwork. There’s also a patio for outdoor sipping. Dark Matter has locations in West Loop, West Town, and Avondale.

6. Gaslight Coffee Roasters

Copy Link
2385 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

Gaslight changes up its selection of house-roasted coffees regularly, and hipsters and families alike find common ground in the small cafe next to the roastery, where they can sip a variety of coffee drinks, nibble on pastries, and watch the Logan Square scene through the large picture windows.

7. Ipsento 606

Copy Link
1813 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(872) 206-8697
Visit Website

Ipsento 606, nestled between Milwaukee Avenue and the 606, is always busy. The enthusiastic energy makes a nice backdrop for enjoying a Nutella or Ipsento latte (the latter made with coconut milk, honey and a sprinkle of cayenne) or a fresh-made mini-doughnut.

8. Standing Passengers

Copy Link
1458 W Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60642

Despite its name, there is seating at this charming little West Town coffee shop and art gallery. The coffee is Dark Matter, and the food menu features Do-Rite Donuts and pb&j sandwiches, with a choice of nut butters, jams, and jellies. There are also vintage 16-bit video game systems set up for Mortal Kombat in case there are gamers in the house who need to kill some time.

9. Blue Bottle Coffee

Copy Link
313 W Wolf Point Plaza Ste 120
Chicago, IL 60654
(510) 653-3394
Visit Website

This Oakland, California, import is paradise for the sort of coffee nerd who cares about where their coffee comes from and how it’s roasted. Its sustainable practices are comforting to the sort of person who worries obsessively about what their daily coffee habit is doing to the planet. And the coffee itself is exceptionally delicious.

10. Metric Coffee Co.

Copy Link
2021 W Fulton St suite k-101b
Chicago, IL 60612
(312) 982-2196
Visit Website

Metric Coffee opened its first cafe in 2016 at its West Town roastery, where it serves coffee brewed from freshly roasted beans and doughnuts from Brite. There are only a few seats indoors, but during warmer months customers can sit at sidewalk tables. The cafe gives baristas a chance to serve experimental drinks that other cafes don’t have. 

11. Sawada Coffee

Copy Link
112 N Green St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 754-0431
Visit Website

Sawada, the tiny spot tucked inside Green Street Smoked Meats, is evidence of Hogsalt Hospitality’s commitment to coffee: Hogsalt brought in famed latte artist Hiroshi Sawada, who runs a few coffee shops in Japan, and his unique military latte mixes green tea and vanilla syrup into a wonderful concoction that will leave patrons buzzed.

12. Cà Phê Dá

Copy Link
1/2, 1800 S Carpenter St
Chicago, IL 60608
(773) 999-1800
Visit Website

This cafe attached to HaiSous is only open Thursday through Sunday, but it serves chef Thai Dang’s chicken wings, waffles, pho, and Vietnamese street food like banh mi and papaya salad. The coffee is also “Dang Good,” brewed Vietnamese-style and served with a truly decadent cap of egg custard.

13. Cafe Jumping Bean

Copy Link
1439 W 18th St
Chicago, IL 60608
(312) 455-0019
Visit Website

A Pilsen standard for more than two decades, Cafe Jumping Bean has become a community hub and now has a second location a few blocks west on Damen Avenue. In addition to coffee, including the house special “Screaming Bean,” the cafe serves a limited menu of sandwiches and salads.

14. Bridgeport Coffee Company

Copy Link
3101 S Morgan St
Chicago, IL 60608
(773) 247-9950
Visit Website

This neighborhood cafe grinds out some of the city's best coffee using beans procured from across the world, which it sells by the pound.

15. Back Of The Yards Coffehouse & Roastery

Copy Link
2059 W 47th St
Chicago, IL 60609

Back of the Yards Coffee is a community icon in a neighborhood that often only finds itself in the media spotlight for the wrong reasons. The owners pledged to make their coffeehouse and roastery a welcoming place. Their motto reflects their efforts: "resilient and robust."

16. Sputnik Coffee Company

Copy Link
2057 W 51st St
Chicago, IL 60609
(847) 668-5575
Visit Website

Sputnik means “travel companion” in Russian, but this Back of the Yards roaster is planning a move to a larger space in Brighton Park with a bigger cafe and a conference room for community meetings. The selection of roasts is sparse — there’s just medium — but it’s satisfying, and the cold brew is especially good.

17. Plein Air Cafe & Eatery

Copy Link
5751 S Woodlawn Ave
Chicago, IL 60637
(773) 966-7531
Visit Website

This European-style cafe on the University of Chicago campus features a full assortment of coffee drinks and pastries, plus breakfast, lunch, and wine. It's a collaboration between Kevin Heisner (Heisler Hospitality) and former Little Branch partner Soo Choi. The patio affords nice views of the Frank Lloyd Wright Robie House.

18. Build Coffee

Copy Link
2912, 6100 S Blackstone Ave
Chicago, IL 60637
(773) 627-5058
Visit Website

Build Coffee serves as an informal community center in Woodlawn and a gathering place for the journalists and nonprofit workers whose offices are nearby. It serves java from HalfWit and pies from Justice of the Pies, and hosts performances, gallery shows, local group meetings, and other projects. And, if all this weren’t enough, it’s also a used bookstore.

19. Kusanya Cafe

Copy Link
825 W 69th St
Chicago, IL 60621
(773) 675-4758
Visit Website

Kusanya Cafe opened when Phil Sipka came over from Robust Coffee Lounge to give Englewood a coffeeshop and alternative to fast food. He uses beans from Bridgeport Coffee and serves sandwiches and all-day breakfast. The coffeehouse also hosts community events, like open mic nights and yoga classes.

20. South Shore Brew

Copy Link
7101 S Yates Blvd
Chicago, IL 60649
(773) 437-3906
Visit Website

Located across the street from the South Shore Cultural Center and just a few blocks from Lake Michigan, South Shore Brew is a bright, sunny space that serves up a solid menu of coffee drinks, including the surprisingly good coffee lemonade, as well as oatmeal and panini sandwiches.

1. Sol Cafe

1615 W Howard St, Chicago, IL 60626

Sol Cafe is a peaceful, plant-filled oasis on the border of Chicago and Evanston in the historic Howard Theatre. It’s become a community hub for students, laptop workers, and neighborhood residents, offering a mixture of standard and seasonal coffee and tea drinks, hearty breakfasts and sandwiches, and Do-Rite Donuts, all with vegan variations.

1615 W Howard St
Chicago, IL 60626

2. Metropolis Coffee Company

1039 W Granville Ave, Chicago, IL 60660

This family-owned coffee company does mostly wholesale business these days — its roastery is in Avondale — but the cafe where it all began is still in Edgewater, where it’s been for the past 18 years, and it’s still a friendly place to sit with a laptop or a book or a friend and sip coffee and maybe nibble a pastry (from Phlour) and watch the world go by.

1039 W Granville Ave
Chicago, IL 60660

3. Oromo Cafe

4703 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60625

This is a veritable United Nations for coffee. Baristas combine beans from Africa and South and Central America and flavors from India, Turkey, Cuba, and Japan to create some of Chicago’s most unique coffee drinks, some spiked with superfoods to make them even more powerful. The kitchen serves an assortment of sandwiches, pastries, and gluten-free treats. There’s also a Bucktown location.

4703 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60625

4. Botanical Cafe

3740 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60613

This hybrid cafe and plant store in North Center carries the botanical themes through its menu of specialty drinks made with house-made syrups in flavors like lavender, strawberry, and violet. Beans are from Conscious Cup and tea is from Rare Tea Cellars; doughnuts are from Brite, kolache from Howdy Kolache, and cookies from Salamat Cookies, which incorporates Filipino flavors.

3740 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60613

5. Osmium Coffee Bar

1117 W Belmont, Chicago, IL

Osmium Coffee Bar is the Lakeview sibling in the Dark Matter family, which is spread out all over the city. Enjoy some strong coffee in a funky space with neon lights and graffiti-style artwork. There’s also a patio for outdoor sipping. Dark Matter has locations in West Loop, West Town, and Avondale.

1117 W Belmont
Chicago, IL

6. Gaslight Coffee Roasters

2385 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

Gaslight changes up its selection of house-roasted coffees regularly, and hipsters and families alike find common ground in the small cafe next to the roastery, where they can sip a variety of coffee drinks, nibble on pastries, and watch the Logan Square scene through the large picture windows.

2385 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

7. Ipsento 606

1813 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

Ipsento 606, nestled between Milwaukee Avenue and the 606, is always busy. The enthusiastic energy makes a nice backdrop for enjoying a Nutella or Ipsento latte (the latter made with coconut milk, honey and a sprinkle of cayenne) or a fresh-made mini-doughnut.

1813 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

8. Standing Passengers

1458 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60642

Despite its name, there is seating at this charming little West Town coffee shop and art gallery. The coffee is Dark Matter, and the food menu features Do-Rite Donuts and pb&j sandwiches, with a choice of nut butters, jams, and jellies. There are also vintage 16-bit video game systems set up for Mortal Kombat in case there are gamers in the house who need to kill some time.

1458 W Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60642

9. Blue Bottle Coffee

313 W Wolf Point Plaza Ste 120, Chicago, IL 60654

This Oakland, California, import is paradise for the sort of coffee nerd who cares about where their coffee comes from and how it’s roasted. Its sustainable practices are comforting to the sort of person who worries obsessively about what their daily coffee habit is doing to the planet. And the coffee itself is exceptionally delicious.

313 W Wolf Point Plaza Ste 120
Chicago, IL 60654

10. Metric Coffee Co.

2021 W Fulton St suite k-101b, Chicago, IL 60612

Metric Coffee opened its first cafe in 2016 at its West Town roastery, where it serves coffee brewed from freshly roasted beans and doughnuts from Brite. There are only a few seats indoors, but during warmer months customers can sit at sidewalk tables. The cafe gives baristas a chance to serve experimental drinks that other cafes don’t have. 

2021 W Fulton St suite k-101b
Chicago, IL 60612

11. Sawada Coffee

112 N Green St, Chicago, IL 60607

Sawada, the tiny spot tucked inside Green Street Smoked Meats, is evidence of Hogsalt Hospitality’s commitment to coffee: Hogsalt brought in famed latte artist Hiroshi Sawada, who runs a few coffee shops in Japan, and his unique military latte mixes green tea and vanilla syrup into a wonderful concoction that will leave patrons buzzed.

112 N Green St
Chicago, IL 60607

12. Cà Phê Dá

1/2, 1800 S Carpenter St, Chicago, IL 60608

This cafe attached to HaiSous is only open Thursday through Sunday, but it serves chef Thai Dang’s chicken wings, waffles, pho, and Vietnamese street food like banh mi and papaya salad. The coffee is also “Dang Good,” brewed Vietnamese-style and served with a truly decadent cap of egg custard.

1/2, 1800 S Carpenter St
Chicago, IL 60608

13. Cafe Jumping Bean

1439 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608

A Pilsen standard for more than two decades, Cafe Jumping Bean has become a community hub and now has a second location a few blocks west on Damen Avenue. In addition to coffee, including the house special “Screaming Bean,” the cafe serves a limited menu of sandwiches and salads.

1439 W 18th St
Chicago, IL 60608

14. Bridgeport Coffee Company

3101 S Morgan St, Chicago, IL 60608

This neighborhood cafe grinds out some of the city's best coffee using beans procured from across the world, which it sells by the pound.

3101 S Morgan St
Chicago, IL 60608

15. Back Of The Yards Coffehouse & Roastery

2059 W 47th St, Chicago, IL 60609

Back of the Yards Coffee is a community icon in a neighborhood that often only finds itself in the media spotlight for the wrong reasons. The owners pledged to make their coffeehouse and roastery a welcoming place. Their motto reflects their efforts: "resilient and robust."

2059 W 47th St
Chicago, IL 60609

Related Maps

16. Sputnik Coffee Company

2057 W 51st St, Chicago, IL 60609

Sputnik means “travel companion” in Russian, but this Back of the Yards roaster is planning a move to a larger space in Brighton Park with a bigger cafe and a conference room for community meetings. The selection of roasts is sparse — there’s just medium — but it’s satisfying, and the cold brew is especially good.

2057 W 51st St
Chicago, IL 60609

17. Plein Air Cafe & Eatery

5751 S Woodlawn Ave, Chicago, IL 60637

This European-style cafe on the University of Chicago campus features a full assortment of coffee drinks and pastries, plus breakfast, lunch, and wine. It's a collaboration between Kevin Heisner (Heisler Hospitality) and former Little Branch partner Soo Choi. The patio affords nice views of the Frank Lloyd Wright Robie House.

5751 S Woodlawn Ave
Chicago, IL 60637

18. Build Coffee

2912, 6100 S Blackstone Ave, Chicago, IL 60637

Build Coffee serves as an informal community center in Woodlawn and a gathering place for the journalists and nonprofit workers whose offices are nearby. It serves java from HalfWit and pies from Justice of the Pies, and hosts performances, gallery shows, local group meetings, and other projects. And, if all this weren’t enough, it’s also a used bookstore.

2912, 6100 S Blackstone Ave
Chicago, IL 60637

19. Kusanya Cafe

825 W 69th St, Chicago, IL 60621

Kusanya Cafe opened when Phil Sipka came over from Robust Coffee Lounge to give Englewood a coffeeshop and alternative to fast food. He uses beans from Bridgeport Coffee and serves sandwiches and all-day breakfast. The coffeehouse also hosts community events, like open mic nights and yoga classes.

825 W 69th St
Chicago, IL 60621

20. South Shore Brew

7101 S Yates Blvd, Chicago, IL 60649

Located across the street from the South Shore Cultural Center and just a few blocks from Lake Michigan, South Shore Brew is a bright, sunny space that serves up a solid menu of coffee drinks, including the surprisingly good coffee lemonade, as well as oatmeal and panini sandwiches.

7101 S Yates Blvd
Chicago, IL 60649

Related Maps