Start Your Day on the Right Foot at These Bustling Cafes
Treat yourself to a cappuccino and cheesecake.
You’re a busy person. You wake up early in the morning, get dressed, sit through traffic, maybe even go to the gym, all before finally arriving at work. Therefore, you are going to need a cup of coffee to help kick start your day. Or maybe you are a writer who needs a new place to open up your laptop and dig in on your latest draft. Maybe you want to become better acquainted with a colleague outside of work. Either way, you need a coffee shop that serves only the best coffee to help you kickstart your day. Chicago is filled with plenty of those, but if you want to know what the best coffee shops in Chicago are, keep reading.
Need to find a gift for the coffee-lover in your life? Buy them a GiftYa virtual gift card. GiftYa cards are perfect for any occasion, including birthdays, graduations, or just because! They can be used at any of the below coffee shops. This gives your loved one the perfect opportunity to try out different coffee shops around Chicago before finding their go-to place.
Looking for the best coffee in Chicago? Look no further. Image courtesy of The Infatuation
215 E Chestnut St. Streeterville, Near North Side
Located in the heart of the Loop, Cafecito offers up cups of fresh Cuban coffee and plates of savory food unmatched by any other coffee shop in the city. Customers are surrounded by the sounds and aromas of Latin America the second they step inside. Cafecito only uses fresh, all-natural ingredients so customers can savor the true flavors of their dishes. Both breakfast and lunch are served here.
The cafe also hosts Palladium night every Wednesday. Guests can take a free lesson to start off the night before finishing with a full Cuban meal.
“Perfect 5 stars! Such a neat little restaurant in a great location. We had the LaCosta and Jamon sandwiches. The bread was so soft and not greasy at all. The size was perfect and everything tasted so fresh. Service was fast and food was delivered to our table very quickly.” - Yelp review
Have you ever had a bacon donut? Try one here! Image courtesy of LTHForum.
50 W Randolph St. The Loop
For years, donut lovers have flocked to Do-Rite for their unique and creatively fashioned donuts. Candied Maple Bacon, Michigan Apple Fritter, Pistachio-Meyer Lemon, and Blueberry Crumb are just a few delectable options for customers to choose from. Gluten-free and vegan options are also available. Donuts are made every hour throughout the day so that customers can ensure they are receiving the freshest donuts possible.
“MESSAGE TO ALL FELLOW VEGANS - when traveling to Chicago please be sure to check out Do-Rite Donuts!!! Literally such an amazing experience. It's very traditional American stand up counter and presents itself in the most humble of ways, yet the doughnut experience was definitely one for the books.” - Yelp review
Chat with a friend or finish some work. Image courtesy of The Wormhole Coffee.
1462 N Milwaukee Ave. Wicker Park, West Town
Only the best coffee, roasted by the top artisans in the Chicago bean community, is served here. The Wormhole offers seasonal specialties as well as a weekly-rotation of new espresso and java options. Vegan pasties are also available for purchase.
As you walk throughout the cafe, you will notice a wide array of 1980s artifacts and Star Wars figures. They even have a life-sized replica of the DeLorean car from the film Back to the Future.
“This is one of the coolest coffee shops in the city. First, the coffee is awesome. They do the basics very well, and have a wide verity of interesting and creative coffee and tea drinks.” - Yelp review
Sip a coffee under the lights. Image courtesy of Sawada Coffee.
112 N Green St. West Loop, Near West Side
Sawada Coffee is owned and operated by Hiroshi Sawada, a world-renowned barista and latte art expert. Under his careful eye, expertly crafted espressos and matcha drinks are served daily. Their most popular items include military lattes, cortados, cappuccinos, and boozy steamers. Customers usually order a Doughnut Vault to accompany their drink. Classic Buttermilk, Triple Chocolate, and Salted Caramel are a few of their most popular flavors.
“I have been meaning to come here after seeing beautiful and enticing Instagram posts from a coffee-aficionado friend endorsing the establishment. The two drinks we ordered surpassed even my expectations! The black camo latte (hojicha with a shot of espresso) and military latte (matcha with a shot of espresso) were equally delectable; the black camo latte was richer and the military latte was light and delicious.” - Yelp review
The orange-colored walls and retro sign will make you feel like you’ve been transported back in time. Image courtesy of Thrillist.
2521 W Chicago Ave. West Town, Humboldt Park
Good vibes and a communal soul are a hallmark of this popular Chicago cafe. In a world overrun by technology, the Dark Matter Coffee Star Lounge Coffee bar seeks to ground every visitor that walks through its door. Whether it is through their unique, retro decorations or carefully brewed coffee, the cafe hopes to create a sense of community amongst its visitors.
The shop is also devoted to partnering with organizations such as the Fair Trade Alliance and the Rainforest Alliance to promote sustainability. They have also partnered with farmers in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Mexico. This allows them to directly source their beans from the plant to your cup.
“The hype is real. This place is really good and soooo cozy. I have heard good things about this cafe for a while and when my friend wanted to meet here I was excited.” - Yelp review
Sit down and stay awhile at this classic cafe. Image courtesy of Dining Chicago.
3601 N Southport Ave. Lakeview
The story of Julius Meinl Cafe is a long one, tracing back all the way to the Ottoman Empire. 150 years after the Meinl family brought their premium coffee to the states, the Julius Meinl Cafe continues to serve as a go-to destination for Viennese coffee.
Vienna specialty coffees include Franziskaner, Einspanner, and Ubersturtzer Neumann. Both traditional Viennese desserts and classic American delights are also served at the Chicago patisserie. Try out their Opera Torte if you like almond cake, or the Black Forest Torte if you are a chocolate lover.
“Julius Meinl has some amazing coffee and a nice selection of pastries. I've enjoyed their beverages here for many years and they are always consistent in producing quality output.” - Yelp review
Peruse through the cafe’s books and unique crafts while you wait for your coffee. Image courtesy of Yelp.
5317 N Clark St. Andersonville, Edgewater
The idea for creating Kopi Cafe was inspired by the owner’s passion for travel as well as the culture of Southeast Asia. House coffee, Mexican hot chocolate, Viennese coffee, Thai iced tea, and Irish coffee are some of their most popular items. If you stop by in the evening, make sure you check out their beer and wine menu.
Along with its extensive menu of coffee and pastries, Kopi Cafe offers a small section of unique items. The boutique area functions as a treasure trove for items hailing from around the world. Earrings, books, scarves, and art can be found there.
“What a unique cafe! They have a little shop area on back with all kinds of items. I ordered the hot drinking chocolate...never had that before anywhere. I loved it, very rich and thick!” - Yelp review
Try the tuna salad sandwich with sweet potato fries. Image courtesy of Yelp.
2200 N Clybourn Ave. Sheffield
The Cornerstone Cafe is a casual neighborhood coffee house that serves specialty coffees, breakfast, and lunch every day. Omelets, pancakes, waffles, crepes, salads, and sandwiches are offered on the menu, along with dessert. As an added bonus, they also offer free wifi!
“Great diner for brunch and lunch! The portions are large and reasonably priced. I personally love how you can choose pancakes or french toast with your omelette instead of the standard toast options. They are also very accommodating with special requests.” - Yelp review
Chicago houses dozens of bustling, unique coffee shops to choose from. Which one is your favorite? Tell us in the comments!