Excerpted from The 500 Hidden Secrets of Chicago by Lauren Viera. Copyright © 2023 by Lauren Viera. Published by Luster Publishing.

1. Plein Air Cafe

5751 S Woodlawn Avenue
Hyde Park

Located adjacent to Frank Lloyd Wright’s famed Robie House, this charming French-inspired cafe knows its espresso drinks, but there’s so much more. Stay for hearty sandwiches, yummy hand pies, perfectly flakey pastries, and a nicely curated list of wines. If it’s nice out, find a spot outside at the lushly landscaped communal table to people watch.

2. Hexe Coffee Co.

2000 W Diversey Avenue

Though it opened with the intent of focusing on cold brew for afternoon pick-me-ups, this unique spot has been embraced for its all-day espresso (and coffee cocktails), down-to-earth service, and housemade pastries and sandwiches. The indoor cafe is cozy, and the vast patio space accented with native perennials buzzes with pollinators in the summer months.

3. Brew Brew

3832 W Diversey Avenue

This modern Mexican cafe serves a variety of espresso drinks made with family-owned Factorum Coffee Roasters, including mochas made with Mexican chocolate and hot Oaxacan-style horchata. Quaint and quiet, it’s worth getting comfortable and staying for lunch: the sauteed mushroom torta with creamy poblano rajas is a must-try.

4. Bourgeois Pig Café

738 W Fullerton Avenue
Lincoln Park

Celebrating its 30th anniversary, this European-inspired cafe hasn’t changed much other than improving the quality of its food. The range of espresso drinks is expansive in part to serve the neighboring university crowd, and when paired with one of the Pig’s ridiculously large brownies, it’s worth settling into a velvet-clad armchair or settee to treat yourself.

5. Sawada Coffee

112 N Green Street
West Loop

It’s easy to walk right past the graffitied door to this all-day coffee shop/eatery. Operating from the front of a large dining hall it shares with Green Street Smoked Meats, Sawada serves a neat selection of espresso drinks and heavenly doughnuts. Stadium and communal seating and a great soundtrack make good reasons to stick around.