Cup of joe: Some of Chicago’s coolest coffee shops are found on Milwaukee Avenue
There are hundreds of coffee shops all over Chicago, but some of the coolest are found on Milwaukee Avenue in Logan Square and Wicker Park
By Jina Bute
Photos by Kimberly Rensburg
1373 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Background: Established in Wicker Park for more than 10 years, Filter is more than just a coffee shop. Serving breakfast all day, this café has a menu full of specialties, appetizers and sandwiches for whenever your hunger calls. If you have a long day of work ahead, you don’t have to worry about losing your spot to take a quick lunch break.
Décor: The vibrantly colored walls and furniture catch your eye immediately. With plenty of sofas, Filter is definitely a place to not only work, but hang out with friends too.
Atmosphere: If you are looking for more of a busy café instead of a quiet coffee shop, Filter is your best bet. With guests sitting on sofas and at tables throughout, you can’t help but immerse yourself in its lively atmosphere.
What caught my eye: What stood out to me wasn’t in the actual coffee shop, but rather, on the outside of it. Simply just a door on the outside, the place is so easy to accidentally walk by, making Filter almost feel like a secret spot.
The Wormhole Coffee
1462 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Background: With its extensive hours, Wormhole provides the perfect combination of work and play. With retro décor all around, you almost feel like you’re traveling back in time.
Décor: From chairs to bar stools and sofas, you can sit wherever fits your need. There’s old-school tin lunch boxes aligned above the coffee bar, an old car propped up above the back wall and even a clunky television in the back corner.
Atmosphere: Providing both a social and work-oriented atmosphere, Wormhole allows customers to take a step back from their daily grind. With its variety of seating and retro décor, you will feel like making yourself right at home.
What caught my eye: Be sure to head to the back to find a classic Nintendo video game system from the 1980s. With a variety of games, such as franchises from The Legend of Zelda to Super Mario Bros., this is definitely the coffee shop’s best feature.
You find yourself absorbed by the Chicago music scene at Cafe Mustache. And if you need a break from your laptop, check out some classic board games in the corner.
2313 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Background: Coffee shop during the day and bar at night, Café Mustache is perfect for music fans. Becoming a 21-plus event venue after 6 p.m., Café Mustache is a great place to support your local music scene.
Décor: Surrounded by vinyl records, CDs and cassettes, you find yourself absorbed by the Chicago music scene. Furthermore, if you need a break from your laptop, check out some classic board games in the corner.
Atmosphere: During the day, Café Mustache provides a delightful atmosphere of relaxation. By night, enjoy a taste of nightlife with live music, an alcoholic beverage and being wi-fi free.
What caught my eye: While the focus on the local music scene definitely impressed me, my favorite feature was the variety of classic board games. It’s fun to take a break from work to play a game and then stay through the evening to enjoy some live music.
Gaslight Coffee Roasters
2385 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Background: Serving both breakfast and lunch, Gaslight in Logan Square is an appealing spot for work and conversation. Want something to bring home for yourself or a friend? Gaslight also displays packaged coffee bean bags for purchase.
Décor: With brick walls, elegant wallpaper and small wooden tables, Gaslight’s décor provides you with the comfort of home. There is also a model of an old-fashioned coffee grinder that makes you feel like time is standing still.
Atmosphere: The low noise level throughout the shop provides the perfect atmosphere to do work or catch up with a friend. The archaic décor also makes you forget the busy city life that is happening outside its doors.
What caught my eye: As mentioned before, part of the décor included a coffee grinder that was used decades ago. It was this specific piece that tied together the atmosphere to make it feel like you were in a coffee shop located in a small town.
Boasting brightly colored tile floors and elaborate artwork throughout, New Wave’s variety of tables and sofas almost has the feel of a college campus communal area.
New Wave Coffee
3103 W. Logan Blvd.
Background: One of the first independent coffee shops in Logan Square, New Wave provides plenty of space for long study sessions and socializing in large groups. Serving a variety of coffee beverages and sandwiches, the extensive hours also allow guests plenty of time to enjoy their stay.
Décor: Boasting brightly colored tile floors and elaborate artwork throughout, New Wave Coffee is a great place for young people to spend their day working or relaxing with friends. The variety of tables and sofas almost has the feel of a college campus communal area.
Atmosphere: The large number of tables provides you enough options to choose where to work, while the sofas are a perfect place to relax. The abstract artwork is a plus — and an appeal for young people.
What caught my eye: As odd as it may sound, it was the design in the restroom that grabbed my attention. On every wall, you see graphics, quotes and other graffiti from corner to corner, making it very clear that New Wave Coffee is all about expression.