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A cardboard cup of coffee with a latte art heart Barry Brecheisen

Chicago's 20 Essential Coffee Shops

For those who need a jolt in the Windy City

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Chicago is home to several roasteries that painstakingly source beans to produce the perfect blend and to serious coffee shops that brew drips and espresso that put cheap diner swill to shame. Both roasters and baristas are finding space to showcase their drink-making skills at these 20 essential shops.

For this fall 2021 update, Metropolis Coffee, Standing Passengers, Blue Bottle Coffee, Mojo Coffee, South Shore Brew, and Afro Joe’s Coffee and Tea were added. This list was an especially difficult one to narrow down, thanks to Chicago’s top-notch baristas and strong, complex brews.

As of August 20, the city has mandated that everyone wear facial coverings while indoors. For updated information on coronavirus cases, please visit the city of Chicago’s COVID-19 dashboard. Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Metropolis Coffee Company

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1039 W Granville Ave
Chicago, IL 60660
(773) 764-0400
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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.

2. Oromo Cafe

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4703 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60625
(773) 799-1931
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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.

A minimalistic coffee shop with painted tiles decorating the brew bar.
Inside Oromo Cafe
Ashok Selvam/Eater Chicago

3. Osmium Coffee Bar

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1117 W Belmont
Chicago, IL
(773) 360-7553
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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.

4. Gaslight Coffee Roasters

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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.

Hi folks! We’ve decided that after almost 7 years, it’s time to finally introduce a “specialty drink” menu! Staying...

Posted by Gaslight Coffee Roasters on Thursday, August 8, 2019

5. Ipsento 606

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1813 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(872) 206-8697
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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.

6. The Wormhole Coffee

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1462 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 661-2468
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Come for Marty McFly's Delorean, stay for the coffee in this cozy Wicker Park space. The Wormhole is a fan favorite, and, like many other fan favorites, it’s spawned a sequel, Wormhole 2 in Bucktown/Logan Square. The daily drink specials on the menu are what makes this coffee house stand out.

7. Standing Passengers

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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.

8. Blue Bottle Coffee

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313 W Wolf Point Plaza Ste 120
Chicago, IL 60654
(510) 653-3394
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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.

9. Metric Coffee Co.

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2021 W Fulton St suite k-101b
Chicago, IL 60612
(312) 982-2196
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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. 

10. Sawada Coffee

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112 N Green St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 754-0431
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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.

A dark coffee shop with red and dark wood tones.
Inside Sawada Coffee
Galdones Photography

11. Mojo Coffee

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200 S Wacker Dr
Chicago, IL 60606
(312) 631-3881
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This New Zealand import has three open locations in Chicago (a fourth is still closed for the pandemic) and proves that there is more to coffee from the Southern Hemisphere than the flat white — although Mojo’s version is one of the city’s best. The food menu is also unusually sophisticated for a coffee shop, offering a selection of fancy toasts and omelettes for breakfast and lunch.

12. Cà Phê Dá

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1/2, 1800 S Carpenter St
Chicago, IL 60608
(773) 999-1800
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You won’t be able to grab a weekday morning cup of coffee at this cafe attached to HaiSous — it’s only open in the evening and for weekend brunch — but if you go, you will have the advantage of enjoying chef Thai Dang’s chicken wings, fries, and waffles. The coffee is also “Dang Good,” brewed Vietnamese-style and served with a truly decadent cap of egg custard.

13. Cafe Jumping Bean

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1439 W 18th St
Chicago, IL 60608
(312) 455-0019
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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.

Customers wait in line in a coffeeshop as a woman in a facemask puts two plastic cups on the countertop.
Cafe Jumping Bean has been serving Pilsen for more than 20 years.
Brian Rich/Sun-Times

14. Bridgeport Coffee Company

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3101 S Morgan St
Chicago, IL 60608
(773) 247-9950
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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. There’s a second location in the Hyde Park Art Center.

15. Back Of The Yards Coffehouse & Roastery

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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."

A tall white coffee cup holds an espresso drink with heart-shaped latte art.
Freshly brewed in Back of the Yards
Back of the Yards Coffee [Official Photo]

16. Plein Air Cafe & Eatery

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5751 S Woodlawn Ave
Chicago, IL 60637
(773) 966-7531
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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.

17. Build Coffee

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2912, 6100 S Blackstone Ave
Chicago, IL 60637
(773) 627-5058
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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.

A cozy coffee shop interior with wooden tables and colorful art on the walls.
Inside Build Coffee
Build Coffee [Official Photo]

18. Kusanya Cafe

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825 W 69th St
Chicago, IL 60621
(773) 675-4758
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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.

There's a small but dedicated group of people who show up for these early Saturday morning hours for some tranquility...

Posted by Kusanya Cafe on Saturday, August 18, 2018

19. South Shore Brew

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7101 S Yates Blvd
Chicago, IL 60649
(773) 437-3906
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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.

20. Afro Joes Coffee & Tea

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8344 S Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60620
(773) 234-1308
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Afro Joe’s opened up last year in Auburn Gresham and sells its own special coffee blends, named for important Black Chicagoans like Harold Washington and Jean Baptiste Point du Sable. There’s also a full cafe menu, a rotating assortment of seasonal sandwiches (including the popular short rib grilled cheese), and special pastries called Afro Puffs.

a wooden cafe counter with two menu boards hanging overhead and a glass partition in front of the cash register Barry Brecheisen

1. 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

2. Oromo Cafe

4703 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60625
A minimalistic coffee shop with painted tiles decorating the brew bar.
Inside Oromo Cafe
Ashok Selvam/Eater Chicago

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

3. 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

4. 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

5. 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

6. The Wormhole Coffee

1462 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

Come for Marty McFly's Delorean, stay for the coffee in this cozy Wicker Park space. The Wormhole is a fan favorite, and, like many other fan favorites, it’s spawned a sequel, Wormhole 2 in Bucktown/Logan Square. The daily drink specials on the menu are what makes this coffee house stand out.

1462 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60622

7. 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

8. 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

9. 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

10. Sawada Coffee

112 N Green St, Chicago, IL 60607
A dark coffee shop with red and dark wood tones.
Inside Sawada Coffee
Galdones Photography

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

11. Mojo Coffee

200 S Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60606

This New Zealand import has three open locations in Chicago (a fourth is still closed for the pandemic) and proves that there is more to coffee from the Southern Hemisphere than the flat white — although Mojo’s version is one of the city’s best. The food menu is also unusually sophisticated for a coffee shop, offering a selection of fancy toasts and omelettes for breakfast and lunch.

200 S Wacker Dr
Chicago, IL 60606

12. Cà Phê Dá

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

You won’t be able to grab a weekday morning cup of coffee at this cafe attached to HaiSous — it’s only open in the evening and for weekend brunch — but if you go, you will have the advantage of enjoying chef Thai Dang’s chicken wings, fries, and waffles. 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
Customers wait in line in a coffeeshop as a woman in a facemask puts two plastic cups on the countertop.
Cafe Jumping Bean has been serving Pilsen for more than 20 years.
Brian Rich/Sun-Times

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. There’s a second location in the Hyde Park Art Center.

3101 S Morgan St
Chicago, IL 60608

15. Back Of The Yards Coffehouse & Roastery

2059 W 47th St, Chicago, IL 60609
A tall white coffee cup holds an espresso drink with heart-shaped latte art.
Freshly brewed in Back of the Yards
Back of the Yards Coffee [Official Photo]

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. 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

17. Build Coffee

2912, 6100 S Blackstone Ave, Chicago, IL 60637
A cozy coffee shop interior with wooden tables and colorful art on the walls.
Inside Build Coffee
Build Coffee [Official Photo]

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

18. 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

19. 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

20. Afro Joes Coffee & Tea

8344 S Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60620
a wooden cafe counter with two menu boards hanging overhead and a glass partition in front of the cash register Barry Brecheisen

Afro Joe’s opened up last year in Auburn Gresham and sells its own special coffee blends, named for important Black Chicagoans like Harold Washington and Jean Baptiste Point du Sable. There’s also a full cafe menu, a rotating assortment of seasonal sandwiches (including the popular short rib grilled cheese), and special pastries called Afro Puffs.

8344 S Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60620

Related Maps