Fish: Ranking Evanston’s 7 best coffeehouses


Maggie Fish, Columnist

Sound like a Buzzfeed article? Well it’s not, because Buzzfeed doesn’t know you like I do, Northwestern. You need a cozy place to study and you don’t want to spend money. You want to impress that girl without buying coffee that will make you want to hurl (Buzzfeed doesn’t rhyme as well as I do, isn’t that true?). But here I am, your NU coffee connoisseur, to rank the coffee shops in order of “sucky” to “much less sucky.”

7. Norbucks: Don’t. Ever. Go. Here. Willingly. The risk of running into people you are trying to avoid is through the roof. The staff is great but the noise is not, and also the place just screams, “LOOK AT ME, I ATTEND NORTHWESTERN!”

6. Cafe Mozart: This place isn’t so bad. I only rank it lower because it tailors to cougars (not the animal) and weekly bridge games. Not that I have anything wrong with eavesdropping on who went with whom to the elderly prom at the Mather last weekend, but you’re not going to see many people born in your era to share the moment with.

5. Kafein Cafe: Kafein, Kafein, Kafein. Where would we be without your late-night hours, your crazy Zombie drinks, and your “Look, I’m a hipster!” decor? You might as well be a landmark like The Arch or Tech to NU with how many years of passive aggressive service you’ve given us. Go here for one date, play some Trivial Pursuit, then never come back. The service is infamously slow and atrocious, and even under new management, this place is just trying way too hard. You know those middle schoolers who only wear Abercrombie and Hollister because they’re afraid of not fitting in? Slap an “I’m too cool for school” facade on them and you’ve got Kafein. Plus, you have to order something if you’re going to stay and do work there. So, no thanks.

4. Starbucks (Not Norbucks): Really? I put Starbucks in front of Kafein? Yes. Yes I did. And here’s why: With Kafein, your entire experience depends on what side of the bed your server woke up on. Starbucks is all about conformity and order, and I can dig that. Same menu as every other Starbucks, the staff is willing to jump a rainbow for you, friendly faces and cool professors, SOON TO SERVE ALCOHOL. You can’t beat that. If you don’t want to waste time, this is a great option to chill and do work — and they’ll have all your favorite drinks waiting for you if you get a little sleepy.

3. Unicorn Cafe: This place is a staple of those studying the arts at NU. A haunt of theater majors and the like, this place has a great atmosphere and a laid back attitude. It’s got fantastic treats and sandwiches to go with that wonderfully brewed black coffee or a craftily whipped-up chocolatey drink. Got a one-on-one meeting? This is the place to go.  A larger group will have much more trouble getting comfy here, but its perfect for when you want things intimate.

2. Peet’s Coffee & Tea: Peet’s is da They have delicious drinks and teas, and their black coffee has a distinctive strong taste all it’s own. Yes, it’s a chain, but their coffee tastes like a Colombian woman took beans from outside her window and pressed it to your liking. The large windows are PRIME people-watching real estate, and the place is always bright and cozy. The staff is great, and I can post up there for hours.

1. Brothers K: Is this hands down the best coffee shop around? YES IT IS. Last time I went, they played an entire Fleet Foxes album all the way through without interruption, just because a customer asked them to. They care about you, and the atmosphere is everything you want in a shop. Eclectic but friendly. Twenty years from now when you are being interviewed about your latest novel, you will be proud to say this was where it was written.

So with that, take my advice and drink up me hearties yo ho!

Correction: A previous version of this article misstated the location of Brothers K. The Daily regrets the error.

Maggie Fish is a Communication senior. She can be reached at [email protected]. If you would like to respond publicly to this column, send a Letter to the Editor to [email protected].