Working remotely has its perks - like not having to deal with that strange smell coming from the office garbage can, and being able to decide where you want to go to stare blankly at your laptop every day. And while Chicago has plenty of work-friendly coffee shops, sometimes nothing goes better with spreadsheets than a glass of wine. So we made you this guide to the best places in Chicago where you can have a drink while you work.
Nighthawk is a coffee shop/dive bar hybrid in Albany Park. So while someone here might be on their third Old Style at 10am, there’s also WiFi, lattes, and booths with outlets so you don’t have to ask the bartender if you can plug your phone in behind the bar. Plus, it’s BYOF, so you can order delivery and finish up those RFPs without needing to leave for lunch.
When everyone else in your office is done for the day, but you’ve got another two hours of Company-Mandated Screentime ahead of you, bring your laptop to Fulton Galley. This West Loop food hall has a long bar with plenty of outlets, and on weekdays from 5-7pm all drinks are half-off. You can order the cacio e pepe from Italianette instead of relying on the smashed granola bar in your bag to get through all the spreadsheet reorganizing you have to finish.
Freelancing is stressful - you have to be disciplined enough to be your own boss, and you don’t know if you’re actually going to get paid for the work you’re doing. So put Ipsento into your rotation of coffee shops. There are high ceilings, lots of natural light, and a full bar to help you relax while you send strongly-worded emails about overdue invoices.
Pilot Project is a taproom in Logan Square that’s kind of like a beer WeWork, meaning it has multiple start-up breweries in one place, and plenty of communal tables, leather couches, and places to plug in your computer. You’ll find things here like Spanish tea IPAs and wine-beer hybrids, plus cookies from Mindy’s to keep you motivated.
If the fluorescent lighting at your West Loop office is giving you a migraine, then working in the lobby of the Hoxton Hotel is a good alternative. It’s low-lit, and also has lots of comfortable chairs and open space. There’s a full cocktail bar, along with coffee and Mediterranean bites that are light enough you won’t feel like you need to check into a room for a nap after having a snack.
To say that 3 Greens in River North is versatile is an understatement. It has a great salad bar, a hot bar, Small Cheval burgers, baked goods, lots of tables, and comfy couches. So it’s not very surprising that the coffee bar also sells cocktails. All in all, this is one of our favorite spots in the city to get things done - so much so that we’ve considered just forwarding our mail here.
If one more day of listening to a noisy espresso machine while reading passive aggressive emails about vacation time from your boss is going to make you throw your soy latte across the room, you might need a break from coffee shops. Go to Beermiscuous in Lakeview. It’s a bar that’s designed to feel just like a cafe, but with craft beers (along with a few wines) instead of half-caf macchiatos.
Working in the center of Restoration Hardware’s giant atrium might sound like hanging out at a mall food court, but the space at 3 Arts Cafe in the Gold Coast is actually very impressive. You’ll find glass ceilings, couches, and a water fountain underneath a giant crystal chandelier. Come here to work, and also to enjoy the expensive furniture without feeling pressure to buy anything. And if you get hungry, you can get a truffle grilled cheese - just don’t eat it before you touch that $12,000 couch.
The taproom of Half Acre Beer Company in Lincoln Square isn’t trying to be a coffee shop, but it’s still a very comfortable and relaxing spot to spend the day. Plus, they have a short food menu consisting primarily of some very good burritos. When you find yourself Googling homebrew recipes instead of finishing that PowerPoint presentation, you might want to switch to coffee - which, conveniently, they also serve.
The Allis is the restaurant and coffee shop attached to Soho House in the West Loop. The space is large and comfortable, with lots of chairs, couches, and tables to spread out on - plus the food is good, and there are plenty of kind-of healthy options, like grain bowls and salads. It’s the kind of place that will give you the motivation you need to finally get your parakeet’s website up and running. Once someone realizes what his tiny paintings are worth, you’ll even be able to afford a Soho House membership.
If you want to pretend you live and work in Paris, and spend the afternoon sipping wine and taking breaks to eat delicious French food, do so at Cafe Marie Jeanne in Humboldt Park. The large diner-type counter has plenty of seats with power outlets, so there’s space to hang out, work, and eat everything from croissants to steak tartare. Spend a few days working here and you’ll completely forget about your regular coffee shop in the West Loop.
The Coffee Studio in Andersonville is very small, and has the feel of a shared work space, with brick walls, wooden tables, and a few plants. Little-known fact - they also serve beer and wine here. This means that if your coworker walks by and sees you through the window, there’s a good chance he’ll think your hard at work with an Americano instead of your second glass of wine.
C.C. Ferns is a coffee shop in Humboldt Park that also serves boozy steamers (like scotch and honey, and a hot White Russian). The space looks like a retro rec room, but with more wifi and less Mom bothering you. This means that you can come here to multitask and play video games on your laptop while you manage your Thundercats eBay store. Just know it closes at 3pm during the week.
Slightly Toasted in the West Loop serves alcohol. It also (unsurprisingly) serves a variety of toasts, along with salads and sandwiches. The space is casual, and it’s good for getting a bite to eat, and then just deciding to stay the rest of the day to work. As a bonus, from 11am to 2pm they have a lunchtime Happy Hour - with $5 draft beer, $6 Old Fashioneds, and $7 glasses of wine.
This bar in Bucktown is a good spot for day drinking, but it’s also an ideal space for hanging out while you finish up some things you need to do. The space feels like a typical old-school Chicago bar, the bartenders are friendly, and there are maps on the walls (hence the name, we assume). So it’s also a good place to research pirate treasure locations when you get bored of filing expense reports.
Hotel bars downtown are generally quiet places that are good for working solo. But right around check-in time, they can get overrun with nametag-wearing business people. Two Zero Three, the coffee shop/wine bar at the ground level of the Virgin Hotel, doesn’t have that kind of atmosphere. This place stays low-key all day, and has couches, counter seating, and tables that make it easy to work. At night, it turns into a full-on wine bar, with a food menu of charcuterie and cheese.
Sawada is the coffee shop attached to Green Street Smoked Meats, and it’s owned by the same people as 3 Greens Market and C.C. Ferns. Come here for a boozy coffee drinks or other steamers (that are also available iced) - and if you need a food break, don’t forget that there’s excellent BBQ close by.