When a caffeine craving strikes, proximity is key. For residents of NEMA Chicago, the new Downtown Chicago rental residence, a hot cup (or frosty glass) of coffee is just a quick walk away. Catch up on a novel, sheltered from blustery weather, or soak up some sunshine outdoors, iced coffee in hand. Here are some of our favorite neighborhood spots for handcrafted coffee.
The Spoke & Bird | 205 East 18th Street
For coffee with a side of fresh air, stop by The Spoke & Bird. When the weather warms, winter-weary Chicagoans flock to the city’s patios and decks, making it difficult to find a table. This is not the case at The Spoke & Bird. Beneath a canopy of old-growth shade trees and bistro lights, the sprawling patio feels more like a courtyard than the cramped outdoor spaces common to many urban cafes. Should a spring rain descend, duck inside and grab a seat at the window bar and wait it out. The café sources their coffee from Counter Culture, a beloved roasting outfit based in North Carolina. Light, fresh, locally sourced options dominate the menu, as The Spoke & Bird embraces a farm-to-table philosophy. For a bright spring morning, we recommend the Apple Cider Oatmeal, a concoction of local heirloom oats, apple cider, candied pecans, and seasonal fruit.
Dollop Coffee | 801 South Financial Place
If you’ve been in Chicago long enough, you’re probably familiar with Dollop. With locations across Chicago, the self-described “roasters of beans and bakers of bread” have garnered a reputation across the city for high-quality coffee and chic eats. The South Loop location is encased in floor-to-ceiling glass and embraces a modern, minimalist aesthetic. A long bar lines the window, and plenty of large tables make it an ideal place for meeting up with friends or working on a group project. For some excellent people watching, grab a seat on the patio. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, try the Nutella Mocha or Honey Cinnamon Latte, both made with the smoothest espresso around. We also recommend getting there early, before the last slice of seasonal quiche is gone.
Peet’s Coffee | 41 East Eighth Street
Peet’s Coffee has gained somewhat of a cult following. Perhaps it’s the emphasis on dark, bold flavors that draws coffee lovers to the national chain in droves, or maybe it’s the company’s dedication to socially responsible sourcing and environmentally friendly practices. Whatever it is, the Peet’s Coffee South Loop location is often bustling, drawing a diverse crowd of people in search of caffeine. For coffee, we recommend trying the Golden Café Latte, a warming elixir made of espresso, turmeric, honey, and ginger. You can grab a quick, hot breakfast here if you’re in a hurry, like Chicken Chorizo Flatbread or Bacon and Cheddar Brioche. You’ll also find a pastry case stocked with artisan baked goods and some grab-and-go options, making it a reliable stop on busy days.
HERO Coffee Bar | 439 South Dearborn Street
Each of the seven Chicago HERO Coffee Bar locations has a slightly different style, from the narrow brick hideaway at 22 East Jackson Avenue to the modern, wood-paneled shop at 439 South Dearborn Street. However, they all have something in common: a playful, spunky atmosphere and top-notch coffee. The bagel sandwiches are fresh and satisfying, and the skillet burritos are not to be missed. With maxims like “Hustle, sip & never quit” and “Born to be real, not to be perfect” stamped on their cups, HERO is infused with a sassy, in-your-face optimism, a feeling that pairs perfectly with a skillfully crafted latte.
It couldn’t be easier to enjoy some of the best coffee in town when your home is NEMA Chicago.