Summer is here in Chicago, and as of last Friday, the city is fully open. That means fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask inside according to phase 5 of the COVID protocols, though please note that businesses may still require all patrons to wear them. Since it is up to each business’s discretion as to whether to require masks, I’ve populated this list with coffee shops in Chicago that I’ve confirmed will allow you to sit inside without a mask if you are fully vaccinated and have ordered food or drink. 

 

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Colectivo Coffee – Wicker Park, Damen & Division 

Located on a beautiful stretch of Damen in Wicker Park, this is a popular spot for creative types, students, and anyone whose work requires them to tap away on the laptop for a few hours every day. There is a spacious patio, plenty of indoor seating (including an awesome loft space upstairs where the windows are open during the summer!), outlets galore, and plenty of good coffee and food. You will pay slightly higher prices here than at other spots on this list by nature of the neighborhood, but the staff are great and the environment is really conducive to longer stays. You can find a quiet corner under the stairs or in one of their half-inside, half-outside rooms that are really cool and settle in for a while. 

8A5E (BASE) Coffee & Tech – Bridgeport, Racine & 35th

This spot is excellent for a laundry list of reasons. Not only is the coffee amazing (their CBD lattes are quite popular) and their sandwiches scrumptious, but they have best-in-class tech support that will keep your remote work laptop running like a dream. They can fix smartphones, consoles, computers, and tablets — they can even help you set up your website! The location is spacious and ideal at the beautiful Bridgeport Arts Center, with both indoor and outdoor seating and plenty of outlets available in “normal times.” As of my visit last week, they still hadn’t opened up the inside for work, but I know that there are plans for indoor seating to return in the near future. Watch this space! 

Hexe Coffee – Lakeview, Damen & Diversey 

This popular spot on the outskirts of Lakeview and Lincoln Park has an expansive patio, coffee and cocktails available depending on the time of day you want to visit, and breakfast/lunch sandwiches that go above and beyond the sometimes low-effort fare of other coffee shops in Chicago and big cities like it. There are also fresh pastries baked in-house every day to add that extra touch of sweetness to your meal if a sandwich doesn’t quite satisfy you. They have seating available indoor and outdoors. 

Map Room – Bucktown, Hoyne & Armitage

Probably the most eccentric inclusion on this list, Map Room deserves to be here despite the fact that for most hours of the day, it’s a bar! Open until 2am, they serve up a bunch of global beers on tap and have daily food specials to boot. It’s a popular place for day drinking in the late afternoon, when you can lounge among all of their maps and browse through dozens, if not hundreds, of travel books — I mean, I had to include a travel-themed coffee lounge and bar. But more to the point, they open at 6:30 am on weekdays to serve freshly-roasted Intelligentsia Coffee, delicious baked goods from Bennison’s, and sandwiches from Goddess & The Grocer.   

 

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South Shore Brew – South Shore, Lake Shore Drive & 71st 

I always want to talk up South Shore because it is a stunning lakefront neighborhood with a ton of hidden gems, the perfect place to ride your bike to via the lakefront trail and full of colorful, quirky buildings for photo ops. The coffee is perfect for a pick-me-up after your ride, but the food here really steals the show. The chicken jerk panini is a favorite, and their grilled cheese with kale and red onions is a unique spin on this staple sandwich that will offer vegetarians something a little different. Note that this place is only open 8am-1pm daily, so it’s best to make this your morning spot. Plus, Barack Obama is a customer, so you know it’s good, right? 

La Malinche Coffee House – Pilsen, Halsted & Cermak

This place is a relative newcomer to the Pilsen neighborhood and remains a real hidden gem across from some popular spots on this stretch of Halsted like Pleasant House Pub and Del Toro. I loved this place instantly because I ordered a drip coffee and it was as strong as rocket fuel, but others may want to request that they leave some room for cream and sugar! The paninis are well-priced and pretty yummy, if a little bit on the small side, but I hear that the Cubano here is really good. Overall, it’s a super chill spot good for an hour or two of work, but note that it does lack outlets. 

The Perfect Cup – Ravenswood, Damen Brown Line Stop 

This place is as cozy as its name suggests — cash only, bright walls, and plenty of that lovely Ravenswood light flowing in through the windows. They added some more indoor seating a few months ago to complement their free WiFi, but note that there is a 3 hour limit. There’s also a small patio available for people watching on this busy stretch of Damen, or just for enjoying one of their waffles or ham & cheese croissant sandwiches. 

 

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‘L’Cafecito Jumping Bean – Pilsen, Damen Pink Line Stop

This is one of the smallest coffee shops on the list, the little sibling location to the slightly larger original Café Jumping Bean in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago — you could sit indoors at the 18th Street location before the pandemic, but I’m not sure when that option will return. On the surface, this isn’t the best option for remote work strictly speaking, with no outlets available and the outdoor seating being fairly limited. I wanted to include it nonetheless for a few reasons. First, it’s my “home” coffee shop located in one of Chicago’s coolest neighborhoods, and it’s literally built into an “L” stop if you do decide to commute here. Second, the food and drink here is really budget friendly; I can come here every day during the week and not feel like I’m shooting myself in the foot. All their coffee hits the spot, while food offerings like the “morning bagel” and veggie focaccia are delicious. 

Bridgeport Coffee House – Morgan & 31st 

This spot is quite small on the inside, but they have excellent coffee and good, reasonably-priced food (the black-bean burger wrap being a personal favorite) and plenty of outdoor seating for soaking up the Chicago summer. 

 

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Honorable Mentions:

Foxtrot Market (Multiple Locations) 

Goddess & The Baker (Multiple Locations) 

Chiqueolatte – Logan Square, Kedzie & Milwaukee 

Ritual Coffeehouse – Ravenswood, Irving Park Ave & Ravenswood Ave (really close to Begyle and Dovetail Brewing!) 

Is one of your favorite coffee shops in Chicago not on this list? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter

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Originally from Tennessee, Joseph Ozment is the editorial manager at Passion Passport and a musician whose relationship with travel was shaped by growing up between the Southern U.S., Wales, and Hong Kong.