Whether you want to sip cold coffee tonics in a hip coffee studio or gulp mochas topped with whipped cream, the Windy City caters to every coffee whim.
Walk around the West Loop. Stroll about the South Loop. No matter the neighborhood, you’ll find quality coffee drinks. But first, check out our guide to the best coffee shops in Chicago.
The 15 Best Coffee Shops in Chicago: 2023 Update
1. Metric Coffee
This Chicago-based specialty coffee roaster opened in 2013 and has been taking the Windy City by storm ever since.
Want to see how it all measures up?
Take one of Metric’s public roasting tours to catch a glimpse of the company’s cast-iron roaster. They also offer workshops and training labs for true coffee fiends. But the industrial chic cafe is also a great place to enjoy a brew.
It doesn’t get much fresher than enjoying a cup of joe at the place where it was roasted. Feeling peckish? Grab a pastry, sandwich, or cold pressed juice. And before you leave, stop by the store and stock up on some beans for brewing at home.
You’ll find Metric’s roasts in several cafes across Chicago. (Including a few shop’s on this list!) But for ultimate freshness, visit the roastery’s cafe in West Town (2021 W Fulton St).
The menu focuses on classic espresso drinks to showcase its roasts. Heads up. Metric doesn’t classify their roasts using the usual color gradient.
So don’t look for light, medium, or dark. Instead, they categorize by flavor: radiant, balanced, or classic. Syrups, soy, and coconut milk are available in addition to dairy.
2. Nomad Chicago
Want to escape the industrial coffee shop aesthetic?
Look no further than Nomad Chicago. Founder Lara Moynihan set out to create a sanctuary, and indeed she has. Dried eucalyptus and other leafy plants soften the shop’s industrial features.
Rose-hued interiors create a warm yet spacious atmosphere. Plush fabrics juxtapose white marble countertops.
This beautiful, female-founded business operates as a cafe, retail, and event space. The boutique features pick-up global artisan gifts while Metric Coffee provides the beans.
Wander around Chicago’s River North neighborhood and find Nomad at 820 N Franklin St.
Take a moment to enjoy a lavender latte and escape the stresses of everyday life. And if coffee isn’t your drink of choice, try the cafe’s ceremonial grade matcha.
3. The Stockyard Coffeehouse
Local coffee shops can provide a vital community hub.
The Stockyard Coffeehouse is owned by Bridgeport coffee fanatics who live in the neighborhood they serve. So you can bet they know a thing or two about what makes a Chicago coffee bar thrive on the south side.
The small space keeps it simple with a black and white color scheme. A selection of various macaroons brings some delightful colors to the coffee bar.
Want to make Stockyard your new Bridgeport coffee spot? Visit this neighborhood gem at 558 W 37th St.
The Stockyard is the perfect place to grab a quick cup to go before starting your day. But if you have a little more time to sit indoors, try their Mexican mocha for a chocolatey treat.
4. Caffe Streets
Caffe Streets serves Metric Coffee in a stylish atmosphere. Forget the intricate swirls of latte art. The ceiling at this coffee bar is a thing of beauty.
Wood ceiling panels nest to evoke the best of 1970s interior design. Disembodied street lights provide lighting over the coffee bar.
The whole place grooves to a funky charm. But if you’re looking for some fresh air, enjoy sitting out on their outdoor patio. Either way, enjoy delicious coffee along with freshly baked vegan and gluten-free goodies.
Find Caffe Streets at 1750 W Division St in Wicker Park.
When you swing by, be sure to grab a monkey latte. This specialty drink combines coffee with banana, molasses, and agave. From first to final sip, it’s a flavor that will make you go ape.
5. Big Shoulders Coffee
Poet Carl Sandburg called Chicago the City of Big Shoulders for its working class contributions to the city.
Chef Tim Coonan has founded a coffee bar that lives up to its namesake. Big Shoulders now brings “no-nonsense artisan coffee” to six locations across the city.
These coffee bars embrace an understated industrial vibe. Exposed ductwork and bulbs accenting these spacious cafes.
Looking for a low-fuss caffeine fix? Grab a delicious coffee at one of Big Shoulders’ coffee shops:
- West Town ( 1105 W Chicago Ave)
- Gold Coast (858 N State St)
- The Loop ( 213 W Lake St)
- Wacker (311 S Wacker).
- They even have locations in the Chicago Board of Trade (141 W Jackson Blvd) and Midway Airport Terminal A (5700 S Cicero Ave).
If you love to sip on a specialty latte, you won’t want to miss their milky beverages flavored with house-made syrups. Try a caramel, cardamom, or marshmallow latte.
Who said good coffee couldn’t be fun? Big Shoulders also offers a selection of loose leaf teas, breakfast bites, and pastries.
6. Sawada Coffee Shop
When it comes to latte art, you won’t find anywhere in Chicago that does it better than Sawada.
That’s because this shop hosts the talents of world-famous latte art expert Hiroshi Sawada. To complement the wrist action, Sawada has collaborated with Metropolis Coffee Company.
With Metropolis, Sawada has created his own blend called PROJECT X, a pitch black roast without the usual acridity. If Hiroshi Sawada wasn’t such a maestro of latte art, the cafe’s interior features might feel gimmicky.
Here you can enjoy a pinball machine, punching bag, or a sleek all-wood ping pong table punching bag. The rustic industrial aesthetic includes a wall of windows and a custom-painted coffee machine.
Located at 112 N Green St, the Sawada shop sits inside a restaurant called Green Street Smoked Meats.
After all that punching, ponging, and pin-balling, you’ll have earned a pick-me-up. Grab a Military Latte for an espresso drink blended with demure green tea, vanilla syrup, and cocoa powder. Pair it with a camouflage doughnut from Doughnut Vault for ultimate power.
7. The Wormhole Coffee
This lively coffee shop is an unabashed trip to the 1980s. Fuel your nostalgia needs with Star Wars figurines and a life-size replica of Back to the Future’s DeLorean.
But don’t let the silly decor and themed coffee beverages fool you. The Wormhole is still a place to get quality java, using beans by Halfwit Coffee Roasters.
Ready to go down the Wormhole? Jump in at 1462 N Milwaukee Ave in Wicker Park.
When you visit the Wormhole, try their mocha puffs cereal. Forget breakfast sandwiches. What’s a surer way to turbocharge your day than pouring milk mixed with espresso over cocoa puffs?
8. Sputnik Coffee
Sputnik roasts with an aim to create delicious coffee at affordable prices. And they’ve been doing that since 2017.
In fact, their process is so streamlined that they offer just one blend of down-to-earth coffee. Their cafe interior reflects this casual culture rooted in accessibility. Roasting equipment sits in plain view of the counter. Canvas bags of coffee beans lounge on pallets.
There’s also the usual exposed brick and dark hardwood floor. But here, these features feel lived in rather than sterile.
Land at Sputnik’s cafe and shop at 2057 W 51st St in Back of the Yards (a historic Chicago neighborhood).
The menu is refreshingly simple: drip coffee, latte, tea, or cold brew. Pick your preferred drink. Then enjoy this blend of Brazilian, Colombian, and Indonesian Arabica beans.
9. Bad Owl Coffee Roasters
Bad Owl has flown all the way from their home city of Las Vegas, NV to bring their beans to the south side coffee scene. These bean birds started as a Harry Potter cafe.
But they have since developed an independent but still playful brand identity. The cafe’s small seating space keeps things very simple. Only a few hanging plants and marble tabletops interrupt the minimal design.
Check out their first-ever Chicago location at 3315 S Morgan St, a treelined street in Bridgeport.
Bad Owl may have said RIP to the Boy Who Lived, but the shop still enjoys a magical menu. Try one of their many signature drinks: orange chiffon latte, second breakfast latte, or a banana cold brew latte to name just a few.
Feeling indecisive? Get a first year’s flight to sample Bad Owl’s most popular sips.
10. Four Letter Word Coffee
Four Letter Word focuses on single-origin coffees, but they have roots in both America and Turkey. Stateside? It’s definitely worth checking out the Chicago space, designed by co-owner Kevin Heisner.
Although the space is a small 500 square feet, it is a thing of beauty. Dark accent pieces compliment the herringbone wood floor. Every detail tells a story, from found decorative objects to a wooden bench plucked from a former bowling alley.
In the back of the shop sits an unusual tiered table, designed by Heisner himself. At the front of the shop are standing tables, allowing customers to enjoy quick espressos.
Find Four Letter Word’s Chicago shop in Logan Square at 3022 W Diversey. (Visit the roastery by appointment at 1400 W 46th St.) If you find yourself in Istanbul, be sure to visit them in Burgazada.
It probably goes without saying that Turkish-style coffee is the drink to try at Four Letter Word. If you want a little nibble as well, try a pastry by Cellar Door Provisions.
11. Mojo Coffee
Kiwis will recognize this New Zealand roaster’s popular chain of craft coffee shops. With over 32 locations in New Zealand, Mojo Coffee opened its first Chicago cafe in 2017. (But they’ve been operating in New Zealand since 2003.)
Each cafe is a little different. What unites them is a clean, spacious aesthetic complimented by beautiful stained wood furniture. Plus, a commitment to quality brews.
Find Mojo at one of its three Chicago locations: 33 N Lasalle, 200 South Wacker, or 330 N Wabash Ave, River North.
Don’t miss Mojo’s modbar coffees. A newfangled Steampunk coffee machine serves up these strong, dark cups. You’ll also want to check out their all-day breakfast menu.
12. Atmos Coffee Shop
Lofi hip hop and friendly baristas make the atmosphere in Atmos Coffee both chill and welcoming. The shop’s clean design is open, bright, and airy.
A teal trimmed border, mustard yellow chairs, and various house plants elevate the tasteful minimalism. Best of all, the owners are eager to make a community impact. They provide free barista training to help local youth gain skills for future employment.
Hang out with the cool folks of Atmos at 2415 W North Ave.
The menu features an array of tasty specialty drinks, tea, and pastries. Don’t miss Abuelita’s latte for a delicious mix of espresso, Mexican chocolate, cinnamon, cayenne, pepper, and steamed whole milk. They also cater to non-dairy folks with tasty coconut milk.
13. Intelligentsia Coffee
Doug Zell and Emily Mange opened the first Intelligentsia roaster and cafe in 1995. After over 25 years in the business, Intelligentsia now serves tens of thousands of customers a day.
You can find their roasts served in Los Angeles, Austin, Boston, and New York. But it all started in Chicago.
So check out one of their five locations in the Windy City:
- Broadway Coffeebar (3123 N Broadway)
- Monadnock Coffeebar (53 West Jackson Blvd)
- Millennium Park Coffeebar (53 East Randolph St.)
- Wicker Park Coffeebar (1609 West Division),
- Logan Square Coffeebar (2642 North Milwaukee Avenue).
- Tour their Chicago Roasting Works at 1850 W. Fulton St.
Want to spice it up? Try the avena latte for a flavorful combination of black cat espresso, ginger, cinnamon, vanilla, and orange peel. Add a sprinkling of cayenne for an extra bit of spice.
14. Backlot Coffee
Backlot Coffee opened its Chicago location in 2017. Shortly after that in 2018, they started roasting their own beans.
At first glance, the cafe’s aesthetic gives you the usual dark wood features and clean white surfaces of modern coffee shops. But don’t miss unique touches like a flying squirrel mural by Jay Ryan.
Backlot’s roots are in Evanston, IL. In Chicago, you can find Backlot at 3982 N.Avondale Ave in Old Irving Park.
In addition to the usual standards, Backlot Coffee offers a rotating selection of seasonal specials. (Oatmeal cookie latte? Yes please!) Also, check out the cardamom rose latte and the honey cinnamon cortado.
15. Metropolis Coffee Company
Founded by father-son duo, Jeff & Tony, Metropolis Coffee Company started with a humble 12 kg roaster.
It has since merged to a roasting operation that requires 18,000 square feet. They boast the title of being the larger roaster of certified fair trade coffee in Illinois. Want to find your new favorite brew? Take their online coffee quiz.
Then visit the flagship location in Edgewater (1039 W Granville Ave). Or grab a few bags at the Factory Store.
Metropolis showcases its roasts with the usual classics. But if you’re looking for something different, try their green tea latte.