Students buzz about nearby coffee houses

Adele Nicholas

Caffeinated beverages, classy atmospheres and eclectic music are among the features that attract Northwestern students to Evanston coffee houses to study, read and socialize.

Kafein, 1621 Chicago Ave., is a favorite hangout for late-night caffeine fixes and weekend social gatherings. It has the latest hours of operation of the local coffee shops – from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., Sunday through Thursday, and until 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights.

Kafein serves a variety of trendy beverages, sandwiches and bakery items, such as the new chai latte shake and “Big-Ass Cookie.” The menu is regularly updated to include new drinks and dessert items.

Of the coffee shops in town, Kafein is one of the most expensive – coffee is $1.25 and 60 cents for refills. But it’s also the only one to offer sit-down service.

Kafein makes an effort to maintain a hip image. With its funky second-hand furniture, heavy burgundy drapes and wide range of music, Kafein attracts a packed house of students and Evanston residents nightly.

But some students said they prefer the quieter ambience of other Evanston coffee shops.

Many students agreed that Unicorn Cafe, 1723 Sherman Ave., is a relaxing place to study and spend time with friends. Unicorn is open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 12 a.m. Friday and Saturday, and 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday.

Unicorn is crowded regularly with NU students until closing, especially on weeknights.

Moreover, its prices are some of the lowest of the coffee shops in the area – a cup of coffee is 93 cents and refills are 40 cents.

Show a Student Advantage card and Unicorn also will take 15 percent off orders exceeding $6.

Cafe Mozart, 600 Davis St., has an ambience similar to Unicorn Cafe, with soft music and a simple decor.

Starbucks Coffee, 1724 Sherman Ave., offers popular frappuccinos, lattes and cappuccinos.

The selection of Starbucks’ bakery items changes from day to day, and its coffee is the most pricey of all local coffee shops – a “tall” coffee costs $1.52.