When a neighborhood is dominated by a university the way Hyde Park is dominated by the University of Chicago, there are some upsides. Perhaps best of all, there is an abundance of coffee shops fueling academic minds; here’s our choice pick.
Cafe, Restaurant, American, Fast Food, Vegetarian, Pastries, Dessert, Gluten-free, $$$
Attached to the Seminary Co-Op Bookstore, the Plein Air Cafe is located just off the University of Chicago campus. Although the cafe does offer a small menu of delicious European-style food, coffee is its main draw. The cafe features both indoor and outdoor seating. It has a perfect atmosphere for getting some work done over a coffee.
Coffee Shop, Coffee, American, Fast Food, Vegetarian, Tea
Located in the basement of Cobb Hall on the University of Chicago’s quad, Cobb Cafe is hard to stumble upon if you don’t know it’s there. Its decor is similar to a college apartment that no-one’s ever moved out of. There are tube TVs playing movies from the cafe’s large VHS selection, posters over posters on the walls, and a music selection provided by the students that run the cafe. This cafe has the quirky, nonchalant coolness many strive for in their youth. With a thoroughly casual atmosphere it is a great place to hang out over coffee. The cafe also has food for purchase from local restaurants.
Hallowed Grounds is on the second floor of the University of Chicago’s Reynolds Club building. The first thing you’ll notice is the Neo-Gothic architecture of the building’s interior with a large stone fireplace and arched windows. After that you’ll notice a lived in atmosphere that transforms what could be imposing into friendly and casual. With pool tables and well-broken in couches this shop is a great place to meet friends. The shop also hosts live musical performances on occasion.
While other cafes might be the embodiment of a college student in coffee shop form, Grounds of Being is its more grown-up brother pursuing a doctorate. Some of this might have to do with its location in the University of Chicago Divinity School (which also inspires the shop’s name). The cafe recently had a hefty renovation, polishing its coolness but without losing its edge. Be aware that this establishment is cash only. You might want to bring more than for just a cup of joe as the shop also sells iconic T-shirts and mugs.
Bar, Cafe, Coffee Shop, American, Fast Food, Vegetarian, Coffee, Tea , Gluten-free
Cafe 53 is good few of blocks from the University of Chicago campus, away from the crowds of students desperately seeking a caffeine fix. This place is thoroughly laid-back with a surprisingly idyllic outdoor patio in addition to indoor seating. Cafe 53 is our top pick for when you’re looking to relax while sipping a warm beverage. The entire menu is halal featuring paninis, sandwiches and gelato, in addition to a full espresso bar.
For when you want a pastry to go with your coffee, the Bonjour Cafe should be your top pick. Unsurprisingly from the shop’s name, this French-style bakery has a changing seasonal selection of fresh baked goods. They range from rose-flavored macarons, eclairs, and croissants. The shop also decorates both its goods and interior for various holidays creating an elegantly festive atmosphere.
All of Sip & Savor’s coffees are certified fair-trade and they consider themselves to be “Globally Local”. This means you’re getting the best coffee from all over the world paired with tasty pastries from local bakeries. This is a brightly lit space with calming colors and s just around the corner from Lake Michigan. Sip & Savor is a wonderfully relaxing space to grab some piece of mind in the form of responsibly produced coffee.
Bridgeport Coffeehouse at the Hyde Park Art Center
Cafe, Coffee Shop, American, Fast Food, Vegetarian, Coffee, Tea
Located within the Hyde Park Art Center this Bridgeport Coffeehouse is a simple coffee shop using beans from a local coffee roaster. This means you’re guaranteed to have delicious coffee. Thanks to its location in the Hyde Park Art Center, it’s certain to help get your creative juices flowing.
Cafe, American, Vegetarian, Coffee, Fast Food, Vegan, Pastries
This coffee shop is a few blocks south of campus and just outside Hyde Park. Located in Chicago’s Woodlawn neighborhood, Greenline Coffee is a new specialty coffee house that offers free- and direct-trade coffee. It seeks to establish itself as a space for local entrepreneurs. Best way to describe Greenline: simple but classy.
Robust Coffee Lounge might be one of the coolest coffee shops in the city. Located in the Woodlawn neighborhood this shop’s interior decor is a mixture of industrial and the warmth of a den study, that somehow works perfectly. Their menu is a mixture of sweet and savory bites. These are either sourced locally or made in-house, but delicious either way.