Wicker Park arguably has the best neighborhood selection of coffee places in Chicago. Options abound from the ubiquitous Dunkin’ Donuts/Starbucks (they don’t deserve a spot in this review because plenty has been written about both of these places) to one of the only outposts in the midwest (Bagel on Damen) that has the much revered Stumptown coffee.
Here is a rundown of what’s out there and what each brings to the table for today’s discerning coffee drinker and/or anyone that’s ready to break away from the bigger names in coffee. This tour is necessary because those unfamiliar with the neighborhood may not be aware that the place with the best drip coffee (for me, Bagel on Damen) doesn’t have any kind of cappucino to offer. The ins and outs of the local establishments are, for lack of a better description, kind of complex. I will even endeavor to add some tea notes for the non-Javas out there.
Today’s Entry: Filter
Filter is a sit-down coffee shop where you are meant to kick back and write a screenplay that nobody will ever read or pretend to do school work while, texting, checking Facebook, and sending inane tweets. The decor is a triumph of reclamation replete with a collection of old, garish Goodwill chairs and sofas as well as salvaged, painted doors on the walls. As far as plain coffee goes, it does not hold up to Bagel on Damen, but they do have all of the espresso drinks on hand. They do an ok, but not great job with them.
Filter does sport a full menu and all of the little coffee-shop type items you would expect to find. Wifi is available for customers, but cell phone reception is spotty at best. They have a reasonable tea selection, but it’s loose leaf tea that they purposely bag, which purists might not go for. If you do need to spend a fair amount of time having coffee and doing coffee-related activities (like stroking your goatee in contemplation), it is a very comfortable spot for that.
Upcoming Reviews: Bagel on Damen, Caffe Streets, Buzz, Wormhole (and taking further suggestions).