There are a number of coffee shops in this part of town but Heritage Outpost sets itself apart with a few unique subtleties. Firstly, it's nestled in the lobby of an apartment building (which may have once been a hotel?). So, foot traffic is heavy but not overwhelming...in fact, it's one of the quietest cafes I've visited on Chicago's Northside. Huge windows make this place a great spot for afternoon reading, drawing or organizing your monthly bills. Coffee offerings are direct and to the point with welcomed Soy and Almond milk alternatives on tap. If you're planning on discussing the latest episode of "INSERT FAVORITE SHOW HERE" with your bestie, I would probably find another spot but if you want a quiet place to get some real work done then grab a spot on the sofa or one of the workbenches and make yourself at home for a bit. Oh, there's also a cool tandem bicycle clinging to the wall for the two-wheel enthusiasts.
Located in the lobby of The Freehand Hotel this unsuspecting café offers a cozy environment for patrons looking for a place to study, eat a better than decent meal and enjoy a real mug of coffee. The espresso drink selection was exceptional and paired well with the food menu that was equally as impressive. To be honest I didn't know what to expect when I arrived but my experiences with hotels have often times lead to quality coffee but a lackluster environment, Café Integral scored high in both categories. There was an interesting split between tables more suitable for serious study and an area for lounging and more casual engagement. We found a very comfortable sofa with a matching coffee table to enjoy our almond milk lattes while taking photos of the unique decorations. The decorations included a vintage piano and Spanish inspired carvings and plants. As with most cafés there is a price to pay for internet access even if it's not monetary...but I think most of our used to pimping out our e-mail address for an hour or so of access to the inter webs. Would I recommend this spot? Absolutely, just be sure to take an Uber because parking in River North will blow your coffee budget.
City Grounds Coffee Bar! So it was time to find a place to read and edit photos and I had heard about this coffee bar from a friend that boasted about the cool patio. We got there late afternoon on a Sunday on what turned out to be an unseasonably warm day for November. The famed patio was packed, as I expected, and I could see that there were groups of people eagerly awaiting an opportunity to swoop down on the next available sofa. So we decided to grab a seat inside and ordered an Americano and a Latte…that was probably a bad idea because the coffee was a bit of disappointment. At this point we’re having mixed feelings about the space but we really like the patio and although the upstairs is “library” quiet its’ very comfortable and reminds me of well-furnished living room.
Most weekends we're always on the look out for good places to have coffee, edit photos and do a bit of reading and research. So I Googled "top Chicago cafes" and The Coffee Studio floated to the top of the list. I have to admit that when we arrived I was expecting to see another cafes that I had driven pass countless times on Clark st. That being said I was happy to drop my bags at a well lit table and get to work. The atmosphere is bright, the coffee tiene fierce and most importantly the baristas were on top of their game. If you're wondering around in Andersonville and have grown tired of 'Kopi' and 'La Colombe' The Coffee Studio is a welcomed alternative.