Get ya’ Caffeine On

Margaret and Linda on Coffee shops around the city (in Hyde Park and out)

Margaret coffee linda coffee

An Intro to what we hope will be a regular review of coffee shops:

Linda says: Upon my arrival to U of C’s campus I was a bit perplexed by the apparent lack of coffee shops and cafes. Upon further inspection and a few weeks here, though, I found that the University likes to keep its coffee shops and eateries hidden within the basements of buildings and on various other floors throughout campus. After making this discovery I soon realized that each place offered different things in terms of coffee, drink selection, food, and atmosphere—while at some places you can get a fancy latte and a delicious baked good, other places offer $1coffees and take-out from local restaurants, while still others offer freshly made sandwiches and a salad bar.
After being in Chicago for some time I also began to venture outwards to see other new and exciting places to get my caffeine fix and find a habitable workspace where I could park myself for hours.

Margaret says: I’m going to be romping around with Linda, doing my duty by munching on scones and commenting on lighting. We’re hoping that our coffee shop profiles will speed along your familiarity with your options for a latte & some Lacan. This way, you won’t be saying “woah, the C-shop!? Where have you been all my life?” come February. A confession: I’m not a bona fide, get-a-headache-if-I-haven’t-had-my-joe coffee drinker. So you won’t get any serious discourse on Nigerian blend versus French roast—what I’m looking for is an enlivening place to park myself while I try to get eddycated.

A statement of intent: From here forward in posts to follow, we give to you our personal run-down of the places we have encountered most, some of which we love, and some for which we continue to harbor a certain amount of disdain (probably for no good reason but our own attitudes (Margaret’s generally chipper and Linda’s sometimes surly). These comments are completely subject to our own personal opinions and study/eating/coffee habits.

Many of these and other Hyde Park options, including hours and locations can be found at

For an in depth on the “Student-Run” coffee shops, visit:

Intelligentsia Coffee

This flourishing Chicago-based coffee roaster makes a serious cup of joe. Barista Matt Riddle won the US Barista Championship last year & Intelligentsia’s coffee has been honored with bajillions of awards (check them out in the press section of their website at

If you want to venture up to Intelligentsia’s official coffee shops, enjoy the orange leather chairs at their Millennium Park location (on Randolph between Wacker & Michigan Ave), or go further north to their original store at 3123 N. Broadway, where it all started. Intelligentsia is a cool place to get work done or get coffee and snacks with friends—the noise level is loud enough to be social and nice background noise, but not too obnoxious/distracting. It is super easy to get there from Hyde Park—just take the #6 bus north to Randolph, walk half a block west, and you’re there!

Margaret says: Intelligentsia’s Millennium Park shop has a relaxed, chill atmosphere, with nice firm chairs and decor with some pops of color, all of which keep you from falling asleep. Annnd, the bathrooms have Excelerator hand driers, which totally rule. You get to watch the skin on your hands ripple after every bathroom break, and you’re back to your Benjamin in no time!
Linda says: Aside from the delicious coffee (especially the French Press of the day!) and espresso this place is close to Millennium Park, which means if you get a seat by the window you can take advantage of the city’s free wi-fi. Intelligentsia is also appealing because while it is a chain, it still feels small (when you start going often enough, the staff remembers your drink). Beware though, on weekends and in the summer there tends to be a good number of tourists—it’s usually not too bad, but if you’re doing hardcore work family debates about which museum to visit can be irritating. I have recently become a patron of the one on Broadway, which has some lovely outdoor seating while the weather is still nice and the space inside is much bigger than the downtown counterpart.

Classics Café: Intelligentsia in Classics!

classics cafe That’s right, kids. You can get Intelligentsia drip coffee at any of the Plum Cafes (as opposed to the student-run ones) on campus, one of which is located on the 2nd floor of MAPH’s very own Classics building. Classics Café is a nice small café with the U of C’s typical wood paneling and sexy gothic windows. Comes in handy especially after CORE lectures when many people migrate to Classics to eat lunch, have coffee, and chat. It offers some Plum Café fare (yogurt, pasta salads, salads, sandwiches), but unless you come early, options run out quickly. They also have candy, muffins, and scones if you’re absolutely starving.

Linda says: This is a nice study space, especially if you can get a place by the window and its location is super convenient. Many times though, it is crowded, and more than once I’ve had some particularly loud students come sit down at my table while I was trying to get work done. Also, beware of spoiled apples and stale gum, but do enjoy the good selection of tea.

Margaret says: Another perk is that it’s pretty well outfitted with plugs for your laptop, so you can check your email and get some work done while you crunch on a cookie.

While we might be set in our opinions (well, mainly just Linda), we would love to hear what you think!

4 thoughts on “Get ya’ Caffeine On

  1. Jed Dobson

    My vote after just two weeks would be Einstein Brothers in the Reynolds Club. They have the best bagel with lox (darn good) in Hyde Park from what I’ve been able to see.

  2. Conor O'Sullivan

    For my money, the best coffee on campus (combination of location and quality) has to be the Div School cafe. Plenty of food options, too!

    For the cheapest cuppa around, though, hit up Cobb.

    –the musings of an alum

  3. Geoff Stanbury

    Conor’s right, and it’s not like he has very much money to spend on coffee.

    If you’re easily distracted by the MAPH blog/Facebook/movie reviews/etc., check out the Bourgeois Pig, which charges something like seven bucks to get internet access. You can write half of your thesis draft there, free from any connection to the horrible outside world.

  4. Joel

    Hey, thanks for the great article. I was looking for a place to take a date for coffee after we went ice skating at Mil Park, and I think I’ll give this place a try.

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