The remarkable shift toward remote work allows employees to do their jobs anywhere they please. While working from home can be convenient, they sometimes prefer to go to a coffee shop and plug in for increased productivity. With free WiFi connections, convenient space, and a dose of caffeine, it’s not surprising that coffee shops are quickly becoming an ideal shelter for remote workers.
You probably have to catch up on emails during your tour and need to stop at a café while visiting museums or shopping in Chicago. You might need a space to complete a term paper or finish your tasks outside your home. Thankfully, it isn’t hard to find the best coffee shops to work from in Chicago that can provide a haven for freelancers and students.
Most cafés we’ve included in this list have bright spaces, a welcoming ambiance, plenty of outlets to plug your laptop into, and communal tables, offering patrons the perfect place to work. Just bring your essentials and leave the rest at a luggage storage service in Chicago.
Star Lounge Coffee Bar
Star Lounge Coffee is the flagship coffee bar that belongs to Dark Matter Coffee, a small independent coffee chain in Chicago. It is located in the unique Ukrainian Village, a west side neighborhood filled with historical houses in the city. It is only a short walk from the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art and the Ukrainian National Museum, so it’s an excellent stop during your cultural adventure in the area.
This coffee shop isn’t the largest venue on the list, but it’s a popular spot among digital nomads and students. It is cozy, light, inviting, and has plenty of seating. Besides the tables for meetups and groups, its counter seating is spacious enough to hold your computer, coffee, and snacks. The friendly staff doesn’t mind the customers sitting with their laptops for a few hours.
While there, don’t miss the chance to taste their freshly-brewed coffee, breakfast sandwiches, and other tasty snacks. You’ll definitely feel comfortable working here, enjoying its laid-back atmosphere and savoring the coffee’s solid flavor and aroma.
2521 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL
Osmium Coffee Bar
Osmium Coffee Bar is another Dark Matter coffee shop, so you can guarantee excellent service, a fantastic latte menu, and great-tasting beans. It is situated in the beautiful Lake View neighborhood near the Belmont subway station. Although the area is known for its vibrant coffee scene, the coffee bar has established itself as one of Lake View’s top coffee shops.
The indoor setting at this local coffee shop is cool and vibrant. The massive glass windows allow natural light, making the space bright and lively. It also has tons of tables and chairs for work and study inside, while the small, colorful patio at the back can accommodate a small group.
What’s more? There’s free WiFi for freelancers who need a strong internet connection to complete a task online. And if you get hungry, they have light snacks and doughnuts to appease your palate.
1117 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL
Located in the hip Wicker Park neighborhood is another beloved coffee shop among remote workers, digital nomads, and students. Collectivo Coffee offers an urban oasis and a relaxing respite for anyone looking for a comfortable working space outside the traditional office environment.
The building has two levels and heated indoor/outdoor spaces, so you’ll have plenty of spots to set up your laptop. If you prefer working in an open-air area, check out the large outdoor patio with plenty of chairs and tables and pretty greenery. It doesn’t have a lot of power outlets outside, but if you’re only sending a quick email or checking on some work updates, this refreshing outdoor setting is your best bet.
Before settling in your chair, pick from its full espresso menu, smoothies, or teas. There are also featured drinks and even beer you can sip when you’re done working. Its food menu is just as impressive. Of course, there are café pastries to enjoy, but you can also choose from its all-day breakfast menu. Every item is only under $10 and includes gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, and vegetarian options.
1211 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL
The Wormhole Coffee
Also located in the bustling Wicker Park, just a nine-minute walk from Collectivo is The Wormhole Coffee. It’s a stone’s throw away from the urban Wicker (Charles, Joel) Park, making it a brilliant stop during your neighborhood adventure.
As soon as you walk into the café, the decommissioned DeLorean will surely catch your attention. It also features Star Wars action figures, old movie posters, and mismatched chairs, giving it a vintage ‘80s style. You’ll even find an old computer that will take you back in time. If you love this vibe, you’ll undoubtedly be inspired working here.
Wormhole Coffee is one of the highly recommended Chicago coffee shops to work from, so don’t be surprised to find lots of laptop users here. Besides its regular customers and numerous coffee lovers, it’s often filled with busy working patrons while sipping delicious coffee and munching on snacks.
1462 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL
Robust Coffee Lounge
Perched at the south corner of the University of Chicago campus, Robust Coffee Lounge has always been a favorite hang-out and study space among students and residents. Its strategic location, close to the University in the center of the Woodlawn neighborhood, makes it an important Chicago coffee shop. It not only serves great coffee and delicious dishes, but it also provides community members and students with a tranquil and convenient space to boost their productivity.
Robust Coffee Lounge lives up to its name. Besides offering espresso drinks, it provides a social experience where you can meet up and discuss. It’s also a place where you can sit and relax with a cup of coffee and some pastries while working on your laptop.
It isn’t a fancy café. But the industrial-style décor, excellent food and drinks menu, and welcoming ambiance will make you want to come back for more.
6300 S Woodlawn Ave, Chicago, IL
Fairgrounds Craft Coffee & Tea
Fairgrounds Craft Coffee & Tea has numerous locations throughout the city, including Bucktown, River North, Fulton Market, Hyde Park, and more. It ensures you’ll find a perfect spot to work remotely and taste flavorful craft coffee and teas sourced from around the world.
The newest Fairgrounds Coffee and Tea location is at the beautiful campus of the University of Chicago in Hyde Park. It features comfy chairs and couches, table spaces, and counters. It is often crowded with community members and students sharing mouthwatering pastries, drinking some good coffee, and bent over their laptops.
If you come on a rainy weekend morning, you’ll find that nearly all seats are taken in the coffee shop. The best time to come is before or after peak lunch hours to ensure you have a spot to plug in your laptop and get your work done.
5500a S University Ave, Chicago, IL
Don’t worry. You won’t be standing while drinking a cup of espresso or vanilla latte at this café. Located in Noble Square, one of Chicago’s most walkable neighborhoods, Standing Passengers started as an indie film company in 2002. Eventually, it emerged as a Coffee House and Art Gallery, displaying world-class works of art while serving sweet treats and quality drinks.
After ordering one of their specialty coffee drinks, take the time to admire every unique masterpiece in the gallery. It has excellent lighting, bright and spacious with individual and communal tables. There’s also a lounge area where you can chill with friends, discuss, or read books. Homey décor, pleasant ambiance, free WiFi, and excellent service – what else could you ask for from a coffee shop in Chicago?
1458 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL
Dollop Coffee Co.
If you’re exploring downtown Chicago and looking for a coffee shop to work from in the city’s beating heart, head to Dollop Coffee. It started as a little café in the Uptown neighborhood but now has fourteen shops throughout the city. One of its sites is housed inside the Fisher Building City Club Apartments, nestled within the Loop, and is minutes from Soldier Field, Navy Pier, and more.
Dollop Coffee roasts its own coffee and bakes its bread and pastries at its bake shop. It means everything you order here, from its specialty coffees and teas to the treats and baked goods, is made with love and passion. The place is cozy, inviting, and open, with a high ceiling and large windows. There’s complimentary WiFi and plenty of power outlets, perfect for freelancers and students.
343 S Dearborn St, Chicago, IL
Gaslight Coffee Roasters
Located in the multicultural Logan Square neighborhood, Gaslight Coffee Roasters is a café and specialty roaster offering an impressive food menu and drinks. Since its inception a decade ago, this coffee shop has been a beloved social hub where patrons can enjoy coffee and a close community it built.
Guests love its cool vibe, friendly atmosphere, and hospitable staff. When you come here, you will be inspired to work while smelling freshly roasted coffee beans and sampling delightful pastries.
But instead of the usual cakes or doughnuts, Gaslight Coffee offers more to its customers. Its extensive menu includes homemade pickles, local cheeses, duck eggs Benedict, and more. When it comes to drinks, its lattes, cortados, and cold brews won’t disappoint you. Everything is served at a reasonable price in a bustling atmosphere.
2385 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL
Hexe Coffee Co.
Hexe Coffee isn’t your typical coffee shop in Chicago. It’s a quiet and tranquil space ideal for working remotely during the day but transforms into a lively entertainment venue at night. If you’re here on a Thursday, stay until 10 PM and enjoy live music, wine, cocktails, cheese, and more. Be sure to check out its events schedule if you’re visiting to see what else they have to offer.
This place does everything so well, from offering great coffee and an ideal workspace to providing guests with a fun party venue at night. It has excellent pastries you’ll crave when you leave, flavorful coffee, friendly staff to accommodate your needs, and serves booze and creative cocktails. There is also no shortage of events here, including Jazz nights and tarot readings.
You don’t have to move to another place in case you get hungry. Lunch sandwiches are available in the afternoon, and you can pick from a large selection of fresh pastries, including cookies, biscuits, pies, scones, cakes, and more.
2000 W Diversey Pkwy, Chicago, IL
Sip & Savor
Another work-friendly café you can check out in Chicago is Sip & Savor. It’s a great spot to hang out with friends, organize a group meeting, or even for a date in a spacious coffee house. It is very roomy, open, and bright, with large glass windows and excellent lighting. It’s located in the serene East Hyde Park neighborhood, right across Harold Washington Park, a few miles south of the downtown area.
Sip & Savor loves its coffee, which you’ll see from its excellent coffee selection. It has a full menu of traditional coffee, mochas, lattes, and blended drinks. If you’re looking for non-caffeinated beverages, you can always order teas, smoothies, or hot chocolate. There are also light bites like sandwiches, cookies, bagels, scones, and brownies.
5301 S Hyde Park Blvd, Chicago, IL
Work and enjoy coffee
As more people are now working from home and more jobs can be done remotely, cafes and coffee shops have become a favorite destination among employees and students. Digital nomads no longer have to stay at home or endure cramped living spaces to get their job done. Thanks to cozy and welcoming coffee shops in Chicago, you can now enjoy working in a comfortable area while sipping a cup of latte or a glass of refreshing iced coffee. Be sure to take breaks for fun, too and see neighborhoods like Lincoln Park and the nearby zoo.