When you’ve been a writer long enough, your favorite coffee shop becomes like a second home.
It takes time, but eventually you’ll find the spot that has it all: the best brainstorming vibes, the perfect clientele for people watching, and the most inspiring espresso you’ve ever had.
When you find it—and if you’re lucky—your new favorite coffee house might even land in the same neighborhood as your favorite center for writers.
If you have yet to find that spot, we’re here to offer up a few candidates—all in the vicinity of StoryStudio HQ. Next time you’re in the neighborhood, make sure to grab some liquid inspiration from one of our favorite local coffee shops.
Ch’ava Café (4656 N Clark St)
Go to Ch’ava when you need to have the delicate strains of excellent coffee linger on your tongue and inspire you to great thoughts.
Okay, they don’t guarantee great thoughts, but what’s great about Ch’ava is that they take their coffee and tea very, very seriously. And if that wasn’t enough, the space is filled with great light and just enough tables to always have a seat available, but not so many that it feels crowded.
Show up with the remnants of sleep clouding your brain and leave with caffeine and great energy propelling you onward.
The Book Cellar (4736 N Lincoln Ave)
The folks at the Book Cellar have created a bonafide writer’s paradise: books, booze, caffeine, and comfy furniture all under one roof. It’s hard not to be productive when you’re surrounded by so much positive literary energy.
Beans & Bagels (1812 W Montrose Ave – 2601 W Leland Ave)
Both locations are relatively quiet and spacious after the morning rush. Beans & Bagels has the best homemade cream cheese (get a sesame bagel with honey chipotle cream cheese when they have it). Talk about inspiration.
First Slice Café (4401 N Ravenswood Ave in the Lillstreet Art Center)
First Slice a great place to meet up with friends, talk art and writing, and get inspired by the great local art in the gallery and gift shop. Proceeds from the delicious coffee, lunch, and pie go to First Slice Cafe’s mission to provide food for homeless Chicagoans.
Julius Meinl (4363 N Lincoln Ave)
Our favorite part of Julius Café isn’t its Viennese vibe (although that is awesome too); it’s the fact that their baked goods are baked right next door to StoryStudio.
The Grind (4613 N Lincoln Ave)
The Grind is a cafe of regulars: knitters, writers, students, neighborhood eccentrics, and you! Don’t be intimidated by the tight seating area. Practice good table karma by ordering something to stay, even if a seat isn’t available. Breathe once or twice and watch a spot open up by the time you get your drink.
Perfect Cup (4700 N Damen Ave)
With free WiFi and a wonderful back room for writing and quiet meetings, Perfect Cup is the perfect place for SSC students to meet their writing partners.