Best Coffee Shop That Is Nothing Like a Coffee Shop

Caffé Streets

Critics' Picks

Tired of huge rooms full of grubby layabouts sitting on color-clashing vintage furniture gazing into MacBook Matrix portals? Not to mention establishments that serve overpriced, muddy coffee to said layabouts and let them sit there all day? The first indication that Wicker Park's cozy Caffé Streets is nothing like those others is its obvious emphasis on design, with cleverly carved, oblong shapes mounted to the ceiling. The patterned wood is replicated in its boxy booths, stools, and tables, all of which create clean and symmetrical lines. Streetlamps jut out from behind the counter and light up the service side, while clumps of bulbs dangle like luminous bouquets and brighten up the other, which seats around two dozen. There are few electrical outlets, which might deter some people, but sometimes it's nice to go into a coffee shop where the patrons are looking at reality. And though it's pricey, the coffee is excellent. Preparations include espresso, pour-over, Chemex, and the futuristic-sounding Eva Solo and Syphon Vacuum Pot. The prize is the premium cold-brewed coffee in the summer, which may be five bucks but is also the best iced coffee I have ever had anywhere.