A Locals Guide: 10 Best Cafes in Chicago

Do you feel overwhelmed when you see the number of cafes in Chicago? Even as a local, I never knew where to go. So I set out to find the very best cafes in Chicago to save as my go-to list and to share with you all. This post will keep on growing as I try more cafes in my hometown, but meanwhile here are the top 10 most delicious ones I’ve tried so far.

Best Cafes in Chicago

I do wish I would’ve done this blog post before the pandemic so I could’ve visited these cafes properly. Some of them have such inspiring interiors and beautiful latte art that I would have loved to capture with my camera.

Nonetheless, the project has been fun and the caffeine trip has been exceptional. Soon enough we’ll be able to safely sit indoors again. Until then, below are the standout cafes, latte art included.

1. Metric Coffee 

Metric coffee is a Chicago roaster that makes one hell of a latte. Their menu is simple, offering the basic espresso drinks with a side of freshly baked doughnuts. They have both coconut or oat milk as alternatives.

The coffee shop is tiny with a bit of counter space. They’re mainly pick up and go. They recently reopened their outdoor patio so you can enjoy your coffee outside during the warmer days.

I like Metric’s vibe and everything they’re roasting, I’ll surely keep going back.

Favorite drink: Vanilla latte with coconut milk 

photo: facebook.com/metriccoffee

2. Nomad Chicago

Gah this place is gorgeous! And I love everything they represent. Nomad Chicago is a “sanctuary for the wandering soul”. They are woman-owned and give back in a big way to underserved communities in the city.

They offer fresh-roasted beans from Metric Coffee, homemade syrups, and have oat and coconut milk alternatives. They also offer cold-pressed juices and fresh pastries from local bakeries. You can shop around while you wait for your order or just take in the beauty of the space.

I can’t believe we waited so long to try Nomad, but now we’re hooked. Our lattes were so good it seriously made our day. We’re already planning a trip back this week.

Favorite drink: Vanilla Latte with coconut milk

photos: facebook.com/nomadchicago

3. The Stockyard Coffeehouse

The Stockyard Coffeehouse brought amazing options to the Bridgeport neighborhood. I’ve lived in Bridgeport for several years now and the cafe scene seemed nonexistent until the Stockyard came around. I love having a place nearby to get delicious coffee.

The cafe is Latino-owned so you’ll find plenty of Latino-inspired coffees like Mexican mochas, horchata lattes, dulce de leche lattes, and they just put a new latte on the menu made with mazapan (a nut flavored Mexican treat).

Point being, their concoctions are delightful. I’ve loved all the drinks I just listed, the mazapan one is something else. All so good whether hot or iced. They also sell sandwiches and soups. It’s worth the drive if you don’t live nearby, and if you’re a tourist exploring the nearby areas definitely stop in.

Favorite drink: Mexican Mocha w/coconut milk, Horchata Latte w/coconut milk, Iced Mazapan Latte

photos: facebook.com/stockyardcoffeehouse

4. Caffe Streets

After visiting Metric and loving it, I decided to check out Caffe Streets because I had read that the co-owner of Metric is also the founder of Caffe Streets. I figured it’s gotta be good, and it is! It is!

I’ve loved it so much I’ve gone back numerous times within the last few weeks. Can you see why I said the caffeine trip has been great? Haha! They do have oat milk as an alternative, and some pretty unique drinks.

Jorge ordered a rose latte and it was surprisingly delicious. Sometimes you don’t know what you’re going to get when you order these out of the box drinks, but we were both happy with our choices.

They’re only offering takeout because of the pandemic (they have a takeout window), but I can’t wait till it’s all over so we can enjoy our coffee inside their cool space.

Favorite drink: Vanilla latte with oat milk

photos: facebook.com/caffestreetschicago

5. Big Shoulders Coffee

Big Shoulders Coffee has numerous locations in the city. My favorite has been their West Town (Chicago Ave.) location. They are a roaster offering “no-nonsense artisan coffee”.

I had seen photos of their marshmallow lattes floating around Instagram for months before I decided to check it out. Silly me. I missed out on months of delicious coffee.

The marshmallow latte is something I never realized I needed in my life. I love the presentation even when I have to take it to go. Anyone else missing the true cafe experience?

Favorite drink: Marshmallow Latte with oat milk

photo: yelp.com/kelseyh.

6. The Wormhole Coffee

This is one of the best-reviewed coffeeshops in Chicago. It’s located in Wicker Park. The interior has this cool retro vibe going on. They have some creative drink options and I believe they’re currently offering oat milk as an alternative. During the non-pandemic days, there’s plenty of space to sit down inside, work, and enjoy your coffee. Right now they’re only offering takeout.

Favorite drink: Cappuccino, but hoping to try their lattes soon

photo: facebook.com/inthewormhole

7. The Crepe Shop 

The Crepe Shop has the best crepes in the city, but did you know that their coffee is equally amazing? They have a handful of flavored lattes on the menu and they all taste excellent.

It’s a one-stop-shop for breakfast/brunch and they have the cutest space. Currently, with COVID season, the city shuts down the street that the shop is located on (Broadway) so they can offer street dining. I believe that only happens on weekends though.

Either way, whether your hungry or need a caffeine fix, don’t miss The Crepe Shop.

Favorite drink: Vanilla Bourbon Bean Latte with oat milk, Jorge loves the Cardamom Rose Latte and Citrus Flower Latte

photo: instagram.com/thecrepeshopchicago

8. Butterdough

I mentioned Butterdough in my post about places to eat in Chicago, but I’m listing it again because their coffee is great. One of their most popular options is the Cafe con Leche with their homemade cafe de olla syrup. I recommend getting it with regular milk, not their oat milk because the oat didn’t work with this drink at all. But this tiny bakery offers so much goodness that it cannot be missed. You’ll also find some of the best croissants in the city and delicious breakfast sandwiches.

Favorite drink: Cafe con Leche latte with cafe de olla syrup

photo: instagram.com/butter_dough

9. Fairgrounds Coffee and Tea

I’ve been visiting Fairgrounds for a while now and it’s one of my favorite places to get some work done and enjoy a good cup of coffee. They have tasty breakfast sandwiches as well. You can also order flights of coffee, tea, or kombucha to try a few different flavors!

So far the Fulton Market has been my preferred location. They’ve ventured out to other states as well, so if you’re in Milwaukee, Minneapolis or LA check them out.

Favorite drink: Vanilla Latte with coconut milk

photo: facebook.com/ourfairgrounds

10. Mojo Coffee

If you’re in the loop make sure to check out Mojo Coffee. They are a New Zealand roaster that set up shop in Chicago as their first USA location. They have a few cafes, all around the loop area serving hand-crafted New Zealand style coffee.

We visited the one on LaSalle St (linked in the title) and ordered vanilla lattes and a flat white. We ordered a flat white because apparently that’s the most popular NZ drink. You can tell they whip up some quality stuff. They also have gorgeous looking toasts and bowls available.

Favorite drink: Vanilla Latte with oat milk

photos: facebook.com/mojocoffeeusa

Whether it’s your first time in the city or you’ve lived here your whole life, I hope this post makes your upcoming caffeine trip a little easier. As mentioned, this list will keep growing as I keep trying all the amazing cafes in Chicago. If there’s one you think I need to check out, please let me know in the comments.

Interested in exploring other parts of Chicago? Here are some helpful guides

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4 Comments

  • Reply waitingforrain28 July 18, 2020 at 6:35 pm

    I have family in Chicago so I go with fair regularity. I am 100% going to add these to a list of places to visit. They all look so beautiful and tasty!!!

    • Reply Lily July 21, 2020 at 12:40 pm

      Glad I can help add new spots to your list 🙂 I’m sure you’ll love them!

  • Reply Cosette July 18, 2020 at 7:42 am

    Oh, these look like lovely places to sit down for a drink or two. Thanks for the list.

    • Reply Lily July 18, 2020 at 4:52 pm

      Thanks for reading! 🙂

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