As popular and quirky as “Orange is the New Black,” coffee shops are the new home office with just enough caffeine, treats and mellow atmosphere to get your work done with a smattering of people watching for occasional distraction. These independent shops stand out among the lot for plenty of plugs, robust joe, table space and kind staff.
Bridgeport Coffee Company
3101 S. Morgan St.
Chicago, IL 60608
What more can you want? Plenty of seating, mellow roasty aromas, jaw-droppingly good java and a welcoming home-away-from-home atmosphere are the main reasons you’ll want to set up your office at Bridgeport Coffee. That and the fact that the WiFi is free and street parking is actually possible. There’s outdoor seating and you can bring your beastly assistant – staff will even provide a water bowl for your pup. Bridgeport Coffee Company is pretty close to perfect.
Overflow Coffee Bar
1550 S. State St.
Chicago, IL 60605
An independent shop in the South Loop, Overflow is ironically not packed with people. It’s a sweet spot to get some work done, the staff is friendly and prices are nice. You needn’t go on a hunting expedition for outlets (there are plenty) and expect an enchanting design floating in your latte before the first sip. Sandwiches, salads and pastries will keep you fueled and as if you need another reason to visit, know that Overflow Coffee Bar puts profits back into the community and promotes fair-labor and a healthy environment, which is nice for the entire planet.
1710 N. Wells St.
Chicago, IL 60614
A great little escape in the middle of Old Town, Delightful Pastries’ name actually doesn’t say it all because there’s also free WiFi, around eight tables and a long counter at which to work and the menu is delightful. Expect fresh-baked pastries and bread; breakfast items like omelets, eggs Benedict, carrot cake, pancakes and quiche; salads, sandwiches, soup and even fresh pierogis. Try getting that at your corporate coffee stop. You can find a table and really settle in for the day, with enough variety to keep you satisfied and motivated to work.
Metropolis Coffee Co.
1039 W. Granville Ave.
Chicago, IL 60660
This coffee roasting company and retailer offers a sweet, spacious shop for those missing their heady college days when all they had to worry about was tomorrow’s paper and where to begin their weekend on Thursday. Try the “cup of the day,” French press or pour over and set up shop, indoors or out, which is never a dilemma because seating goes on and on. Since it’s a big player in Chicago roasters, expect a sturdy cup and a staff that knows its beans.
Heritage Bicycles General Store
2959 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60657
Bicycles and coffee? Before you say “how Portland,” consider this: it’s bright, offers free WiFi, serves seasonal offerings from Stumptown Coffee and scrumptious sweet and savory goods from local purveyors like Southport Grocery and Bang Bang Pies and organic looseleaf teas. That you can get a flat fixed or pick up a new helmet is just the cherry on the cake. Heritage Bicycles General Store’s friendly staff may just become your new home office assistants.
Jacky Runice has been a columnist with the Daily Herald Chicago since grunge music and flannel was the new black. Her fingers and gray matter have been busy as travel editor of Reunions Magazine; penning a column that was syndicated around the nation via Tribune Media Services. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.