Beverly Bakery & CafeYou know you’re in a neighborhood favorite when a cop stopping in for his “usual” knows the name of the stroller-pushing mom who’s come to pick up her sister’s birthday cake. The couple running this sparse but cheerful daytime-only spot take it all in stride—they may have only opened in 2004, but their Beverly roots go back plenty. That would explain the careful local sourcing, from sage-rich breakfast sausage to thick, applewood-smoked bacon and 21 varieties of house-roasted coffee. 10528 S Western Ave (773-238-5580). Tue–Fri 7am–2pm; Sat, Sun 8am–2pm (closed Mon). Average baked good: $2.
Bridgeport Coffee HouseThe coffee-roasting operation on the corner of Morgan and 31st Street is a point of pride for Bridgeport and a source of jealousy for almost every other neighborhood. Housed in a prototypically warm-toned, wood-heavy coffeehouse (only without the fleabag couches and drum-circle vibe), Bridgeport Coffee sets itself apart by roasting its own beans and brewing them with levels of respect usually reserved for presidents. The pour-over here is a revelation—bright and clean and smooth. The fact that the expert staff and comfortable digs make you want to spend the day in the place is just a bonus. 3101 S Morgan St (773-247-9950). Mon–Fri 6am–9pm; Sat 7am–9pm; Sun 7am–8pm. Average cup of coffee: $2.
Intelligentsia CoffeeThis local coffee chain is all grown up, with outposts across the country, including a coffee bar in L.A.’s scenester bull’s-eye, Silver Lake, and a “lab” in Manhattan. Back home where it all started in 1995, baristas keep it real with brisk service, perfect cappuccinos and meticulous cups of pour-over. Basic pastries fill a small case, but most devotees aren’t here for sustenance—they’re here for non-Starbucks fuel in a neighborhood increasingly dominated by national chains. 3123 N Broadway (773-348-8058). Mon–Fri 6am–10pm; Sat, Sun 7am–10pm. Average cup of coffee: $3.
IpsentoThe owners of this neighborhood coffee shop seem to have ambitions far larger than the tiny (and seemingly unfinished) space would imply. Baristas are superfriendly; direct-trade beans are roasted in small batches weekly and offered in a variety of brewing methods (such as pour-over and French press) that turn out lovely cups of coffee; and straightforward sandwiches, such as the Garrison Keillor (turkey, cheddar, avocado, apple and honey mustard on wheat), are named for storytellers. 2035 N Western Ave (773-904-8177). Mon–Fri 6:30am–10pm; Sat 7am–10pm; Sun 8am–8pm. Average cup of coffee: $2.50.
Metropolis Coffee CompanyLoyola students may think of this as merely their local coffeehouse. But anybody who knows coffee knows that, in fact, this humble spot is the gateway to one of the city’s biggest coffee-roasting operations. Come here to shop for coffee beans such as their signature Redline espresso (or, if you’re into home-roasting, the unroasted Greenline espresso). Or take a seat: The café serves a mean cup of java, as well as premium-grade teas and a small, but tasty, café menu. Second to the food and drink: the other coffee-swilling cuties. 1039 W Granville Ave (773-764-0400). Mon–Fri 6:30am–8pm; Sat 7am–8pm; Sun 7:30am–8pm. Average cup of coffee: $2.
Star LoungeJesse Diaz has turned this West Town café into a coffee destination. Sidle up to the “bar” for a taste of Dark Matter coffee, which is roasted in eight-pound batches above the café in unusual flavor profiles that have caught the attention of area restaurants. Diaz’s unconventional roasting approach extends to iced coffee, which achieves its delicate flavor using heat-extraction rather than trendy cold-brewing. No clue what we’re talking about? One of the baristas can walk you through it. 2521 W Chicago Ave (773-384-7827). Mon–Thu 7am–9pm; Fri 7am–8pm; Sat, Sun 8am–8pm. Average cup of coffee: $3.