While you know it's cheaper to brew your own cup o' joe, you're not ready to break up with your barista either. But with a slew of independent java shops in Chicago, you don't have to. Not only have these spots proven to be more charming than the big boys on campus, they're often cheaper, too. If you're into shop-hopping like we are, there's a new place for you to get your caffeine fix and save some serious coin.
Ready Coffee in Wicker Park is the brainchild of recent grad Adam Banks, who based his senior business plan on (you guessed it) coffee — but not just any kind of coffee. We're talking high-quality brews with a price point of just $1 to $3 a cup. To make this dream a reality, Banks tapped bean expert Greg Stivers to create the shops' 10 global all-Arabica coffee blends that can be enjoyed as hot or iced (with coffee cubes) pour-overs — single cups of coffee made using special drip filters. And when it comes to eats, nothing goes better with coffee than doughnuts — in this case, Dinkle's (diet be damned!).
Those looking to get a little work done will be thrilled to find numerous power outlets, super high-speed Internet, and numerous table configurations (including a large community option) that can be arranged into two-tops, four-tops, or more. But hear this: If you take anything with you — aside from your joe-to-go — get yourself a $5 piece of art from the Art-o-Mat machine. The refurbished vintage cigarette vending machine dispenses small pieces of art (wrapped in cigarette boxes) for just $5 each. Try finding that at a chain shop.
Ready Coffee, 1562 North Milwaukee Avenue (between Damen and North avenues); 773-360-7041.
Photo: Courtesy of Kurman Communications