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Chain coffeehouses dominate most city blocks, but look a little closer and you’ll see independent coffee shops with more character offering up quality cups of joe. When you’re ready to grab your next mocha, latte or cold press (i.e. tomorrow morning), try out one of these unique Chicago establishments:

Caffe Streets

This independent coffee shop in Wicker Park serves as a welcoming community space for freelancers, families and socializers alike. Through a partnership with Metric Coffee Co., Caffe Streets offers coffee staples alongside interesting brews like Thai iced coffee and spicy hot chocolate. The croissant and scone selection is equally interesting. Don’t miss the bacon parmesan and scallion scone.

Big Shoulders Coffee

Big Shoulders Coffee works to uncomplicated the complex coffee ordering process. With four standard coffee options – all offered in a 16-ounce cup – you can rest easy when you reach the counter. This ultra-industrial coffeehouse is located directly off of the Blue Line at the Chicago Avenue stop, making it a convenient go-to and a Chicago favorite.

Jackalope Coffee and Tea

It’s all about rock and roll at Jackalope Coffee and Tea in Bridgeport. Concert posters line the walls of this two-room café. The front room turns out quality coffee drinks, loose leaf teas and locally-made treats from Bridgeport Bakery and Glazed and Infused. In the back room, you’ll get a more low-key vibe, perfect for your next study group or book club.

Ipsento Coffee House

When Ipsento opened in 2006, the owners wanted to create a relaxed environment and authentic community, making a stop at this funky coffee shop one-of-a-kind. Baristas at this small coffeehouse in Bucktown are known for conjuring delicious brews like the Nutella latte or the Ipsento latte, made with coconut milk, honey and cayenne.

Star Lounge Coffee Bar
Star Lounge Coffee Bar in Humboldt Park looks more like your average dive bar than a coffeehouse. A part of the Dark Matter Coffee group, this cool space is made up of a long bar surrounded by dark-orange walls and out-there art. All coffee beans come from sustainable suppliers and are roasted directly by Dark Matter coffee, making a purchase here as green as it gets.