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10 Hottest Coffee Shops in Chicago

By Sarah Freeman
February 24, 2014

The art of the perfect java joint involves a combination of homey touches, comfortable seating and, of course, great coffee. Bonus points go to those businesses roasting their beans locally (and sometimes even in the same facility), but the best brews also come down to the loving hands that combine hot water and fragrant grounds into a cup of deliciousness. For Zagat's Coffee Week, here are 10 of our favorite coffee shops around Chicago.

Don't see your favorite coffee shop on the list? Don't worry, we didn't forget about it. Come back later this week for 10 must-try coffee drinks.

  • Asado Coffee Co.

    Since 2009, this Irving Park coffee bar has been roasting its own beans in its tiny shop decorated with a wall of accolades. Last year, it expanded to a second location in Ukrainian Village with the same coffee in a more contemporary space, complete with a white-tiled bar, plush chairs and a row of two-tops.

    1651 W. Chicago Ave.; 773-703-3658

  • Bad Wolf

    Taking inspiration from the BBC’s Dr. Who (there's even a TARDIS inside), this quaint coffee shop is covered in vibrant art. While the coffee is excellent, the pastries are the selling point. All made in-house by owner and chef Jonathan Ory (Momofuku Ko in New York and Schwa), these expertly crafted sweets include a perfect canelé and flaky kouign amann.

    3422 N. Lincoln Ave.; 773-969-2346

  • The Coffee Studio

    For the past five years, this has been the place for superb coffee in a chic atmosphere. The shop combines a passion for locally roasted coffee and art in an exposed-brick and wood-paneled space. Communal tables and an assortment of two-tops quickly fill with coffee drinkers and mobile-office users.

    5628 N. Clark St.; 773-271-7881

  • Bow Truss

    Fun fact: this coffee roaster is named after the architectural element that supports an arched ceiling, and you can spot the inverted structure in its coffee-cup logo. And that's not the only design element going into both the Lakeview roaster and its River North cafe. Reclaimed wood, chalkboard menus and cup-shaped tables adorn the spaces that serve their own coffee blends.

    406 N. Wells St.; 312-222-1306

  • Dollop Coffee Co.

    Since opening its original location in Buena Park, this little coffee shop that could has expanded to Streeterville, Lakeview and Evanston. The last location brings together two standouts - Metropolis Coffee and Hoosier Mama Pie Company - in a bright space that caters to the suburban crowd. We love the lattes with a slice of seasonal pie from the in-house bakery, but it's tough to beat the coziness of the Uptown branch (which offers pie as well).

    4181 N. Clarendon Ave.; 773-360-1366

  • Elaine’s Coffee Call

    Set inside the Hotel Lincoln, this beautiful little coffee shop is packed during the summer, when Green City Market-goers stop by for a caffeine fix. During the winter, it's a scenic escape across from Lincoln Park with La Colombe coffee drinks, savory items by chef Paul Virant and sweets by Perennial Virant’s pastry chef Elissa Narrow.

    1816 N. Clark St.; 312-254-4665

  • Gaslight Coffee Roasters

    Hipsters flock to this Logan Square coffee spot, where the motif is taxidermy-chic and the coffee is roasted in back. Follow the smell of roasting beans to the corner shop, and sit at the counter to see the tattooed baristas at work. You can opt for a pour-over and a plate of assorted meats and cheeses with housemade pickles.

    2385 N. Milwaukee Ave.

  • Heritage General Store

    Proving that hot coffee and custom bikes are indeed the perfect pair, this coffee shop doubles as a bicycle shop with repairs happening in the back. Upfront, it’s all about Stumptown Coffee and local goodies from Southport Grocery, La Fournette, and Glazed and Infused. Last year, the team opened a second location for the little bike riders, called Heritage Little’s, replacing coffee with milk and cookies.

    2959 N. Lincoln Ave.; 773-245-3005

  • Intelligentsia

    The company has come a long way since opening its first location in Lakeview in 2005. Even with six locations, it manages to give each a unique feeling that fits into the neighborhood where it resides. Logan Square has a diner feel, with coffee milkshakes and Floriole Pastries, while Old Town has a little extra room for strollers. All serve spot-on coffee with free WiFi and friendly service.

    2642 N. Milwaukee Ave.; 773-945-1690

  • La Colombe

    This import coffee chain has done a lot to prove that Chicago can be its home away from home, from roasting beans right inside its West Loop cafe to opening a second location in Wicker Park. It even has plans to open two more locations and a warehouse in the next few years. There's no slowing down this high-end, fair-trade house of joe.

    1552 N. Damen Ave.; 800-563-0860

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