The Best Thinking Spots and Places to Meet for Informational Interviews in Chicago

By now, you should know that informational interviews are the perfect way to get industry insight, and connect with contacts that could help lead you to your next career move.

Even if you’re still a student, or recent grad, it doesn’t hurt to get guidance on your job search—but getting a “yes” to meet with the person you admire isn’t the most important piece to the networking puzzle. You’ve got a nice business casual outfit to pick, questions to prepare, and most importantly—a spot to pick!

Fortunately, the windy city has tons of cafes and eateries that you can use to get work done, or have a comfortable, career-focused conversation. Check out our list of top picks below!

Avondale

 

Brew Brew Coffee & Tea

Location: 3832 W Diversey Ave (b/t Avers Ave & Springfield Ave)
What you can get there: Coffee & Tea, Breakfast, Lunch
What makes it a good spot? They’ve got lots of tables to work on and plenty of cozy areas to relax in. Enjoy their gluten-free baked goods as you tackle your workload or build a key relationship—even if it happens to be with your sweet tooth!
Wifi: Yes

Photo cred: printwithme

Cafe Tola

Location: 3224 North California Ave (b/t Belmont Ave & Melrose St)
What you can get there: Coffee & Tea, Lunch
What makes it a good spot? If you think the outside is crazy cool, you’ll be pleased to hear that inside has just as much to offer. Amazing Mexican food, exceptional service, and an artistic vibe that’ll get your creative juices flowing, or keep your meet-ups lively—because how could you not bond over a great ambiance and mouth-watering empanadas?
Wifi: Yes

Photo cred: dnainfo.com

La Farine Bakery & Cafe

Location: 2909 N Milwaukee Ave (b/t Gresham Ave & Drake Ave)
What you can get there: Coffee & Tea, Breakfast
What makes it a good spot? Try their macaroons and you’ll see why locals are obsessed. Actually, go for their entire menu. Their breakfast briochetta and sandwiches are divine, so be wary of having informational interviews here—you may be too busy paying attention to the great food instead of the great person you’re meeting with!
Wifi: Yes

Photo cred: timeout.com

 

Humboldt Park

 

CC Ferns Coffee Bar & Spirits

Location: 2806 W Augusta Blvd (b/t Mozart St & California Ave)
What you can get there: Coffee & Tea, Breakfast, Brunch, Alcohol
What makes it a good spot? This spot may be on the smaller side, but if you don’t get seating when you first arrive, there’s a good chance that’ll change by the time you get your Cuban Cortado or “boozy streamer.” Caution: it’s on the quieter side too, making it an ideal place to do work—not so much to have a work meet up.
Wifi: Yes

Photo cred: timeout.com

Cup & Spoon

Location: 2415 W North Ave Chicago, IL 60647
What you can get there: Coffee & Tea, Breakfast, Lunch
What makes it a good spot? Since it’s connected to a gallery, the space is super artistic. Best of all, they not only have vegan pastries, but homemade pop tarts. It’ll be easy to grab a parking spot and park yourself in here until closing time, especially if you treat yourself to their decadent Lumberjack Latte.
Wifi: Yes

Photo cred: workroom.co

Hyde Park

 

Sip & Savor

Location: 5301 S Hyde Park Blvd (b/t 53rd St & 54th St )
What you can get there: Coffee & Tea
What makes it a good spot? Can’t get enough of cool mugs? Wait until you taste what you can put inside them! Try the honey and banana mocha—one for you, and whoever you decide to bring here!
Wifi: Yes

Photo cred: sipandsavorchicago.com

Dollop Coffee

Location: 345 E Ohio St Chicago, IL 60611 b/t Fairbanks Ct & Mc Clurg Ct Near North Side, River East
What you can get there: Coffee & Tea, Breakfast, Brunch, Alcohol
What makes it a good spot? University of Chicago students flock to this killer coffee shop, and not just because they serve savory almond croissants and honey cinnamon lattes. Bring a companion, group, or day’s worth of work—and most importantly, your appetite!
Wifi: Yes

Photo cred: yochicago.com

 

Logan Square

 

Cafe Mustache

Location: 2313 N Milwaukee Ave (b/t California Ave & Belden Ave)
What you can get there: Coffee & Tea, Breakfast
What makes it a good spot? Aside from their fun name—they’ve got cool mugs, awesome music (indie and jazz jams play frequently), and delicious beverages like the popular Black Pepper & Vanilla Fig Latte. Need we say more?
Wifi: Yes

Photo cred: timeout.com

 

Gaslight Coffee Roasters

Location: 2385 North Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
What you can get there: Coffee & Tea, Breakfast
What makes it a good spot? Aside from being an awesome place to study and get sh*t done, locals rave about the decor as much as they obsess over the espresso and yummy scones. The noise level can be quiet to moderately noisy, so bear that in mind if you’re meeting up with a company contact.
Wifi: Yes

Photo cred: brewedweekly.com

 

Damn Fine Coffee Bar

Location: 3317 W Armitage Ave (b/t Kimball Ave & Spaulding Ave)
What you can get there: Coffee & Tea, Breakfast
What makes it a good spot? Small, comfy, and convenient. You’ll have no trouble finding parking or a spot to enjoy your choice of good vibes and baked goods. Just make sure you try their cold brew for an extra energy kick!
Wifi: Yes

Photo cred: dnainfo.com

 

The Loop

 

Intelligentsia Coffee

Location: 53 W Jackson Blvd (b/t Wabash Ave & Michigan Ave)
What you can get there: Coffee & Tea, Breakfast, Lunch
What makes it a good spot? Take note: if you’re meeting someone, give yourself enough time to wait in line—there can be a long wait at times, but it’s worth it for the vegan eats, high quality coffee, and super extroverted, kind baristas. Best part? It’s located right by Millennium Park if you’re looking to get some fresh air after satisfying your taste buds!
Wifi: Yes

Photo cred: pintrest.com

 

Goddess and the Baker

Location: 33 S. Wabash Avenue, Chicago, IL 60603
What you can get there: Coffee & Tea, Breakfast, Lunch
What makes it a good spot? If you attend the Art Institute of Chicago, you’ve probably already gorged yourself on gluten-free cookies and vegan cupcakes. Their wide variety of goodies will compliment any conversation you have, personal or professional!
Wifi: Yes

Photo cred: godessandthebaker.com

 

Hero Coffee Bar

Location: 439 S Dearborn St (b/t Van Buren St & Congress Pky)
What you can get there: Coffee & Tea, Breakfast, Lunch
What makes it a good spot? If you’re in dire need of a bagel, coffee, and some R&B tunes, this place will save the day. However, since it’s on the smaller side, we recommend heading there solo, and enjoying your meal and Delicate El Salvador roast in peace.
Wifi: Yes

Photo cred: chicagoeater.com

 

Lincoln Square/Ravenswood

 

The Grind

Location: 4613 N Lincoln Ave. 60625 (b/t Eastwood Ave. & Wilson Ave.)
What you can get there: Coffee & Tea, Breakfast, Lunch
What makes it a good spot? If you don’t fall in love with their super friendly staff (let’s face it, you will), you’ll find yourself in fresh-food heaven with their assortment of vegan treats, salad, smoothies—and a customer favorite: quiches!
Wifi: Yes

Photo cred: timeout.com

 

Oromo Cafe

Location: 4703 N Lincoln Ave (b/t Leland Ave & Giddings St)
What you can get there: Coffee & Tea, Breakfast
What makes it a good spot? Ask yourself: could you resist artisan coffee and specialty drinks that sound as good as they taste, like the Horchata Latte and Iced Masala Chai? Of course not. Bring an old colleague you’ve been meaning to reconnect with or a study buddy, and enjoy!
Wifi: Yes

Photo cred: royalorganogold.com

 

West Town/Wicker Park

 

Wormhole Coffee

Location: 1462 N Milwaukee Ave.
What you can get there: Coffee & Tea, Pastries
What makes it a good spot? They don’t have a 4.5 rating on Yelp for nothing. Customers can’t get enough of this quaint coffee shop, that’s been dubbed Wicker Park’s best coffee spot in Chicago. Bonus: according to locals, there’s usually plenty of seats available, so you’ll have plenty of space to chat or work.
Wifi: Yes

Photo cred: thewormhole.us

 

Volumes Bookcafe

Location: 1474 N Milwaukee Ave (b/t Evergreen Ave & Honore St)
What you can get there: Coffee & Tea, Breakfast
What makes it a good spot? Book lovers, rejoice! After you get career advice from an awesome pro, go ahead and scour the shelves for a recommended read. Or, simply enjoy wine, beer, or cider while taking your pick of tables—they have bigger and smaller options depending on whether you’re there to study, network, or simply take refuge in a cup of Irish coffee, among other selections.
Wifi: Yes

Photo cred: chicagoparent.com

 

Uptown

 

Everybody’s Coffee

Location: 935 W Wilson Ave (b/t Hazel St & Sheridan Rd) – located inside Wilson Abbey
What you can get there: Coffee & Tea, Breakfast, Lunch
What makes it a good spot? It’s right below an art gallery, so there’s tons of cool artwork to admire, making it the perfect ambiance to lose yourself in conversation. But if you plan on doing work on your laptop, come early. This cafe is so popular that the outlets get snatched fast!
Wifi: Yes

Photo cred: news.medill.northwestern.edu

 

Heritage Outpost

Location: 1325 W Wilson Ave (b/t Beacon St & Malden St )
What you can get there: Coffee & Tea, Breakfast
What makes it a good spot? Simple, elegant, and nicely designed. You won’t be able to get enough of their lavender latte or coconut chai, but proceed with caution if you decide to meet anyone here—it’s relatively small, and there’s a lot of foot traffic by the elevators since it’s a part of an apartment building.
Wifi: Yes

Photo cred: pintrest.com

River North

 

Caffe Umbria

Location: 346 North Clark St
What you can get there: Coffee & Tea, Breakfast
What makes it a good spot? They recently launched a rewards program, so if you’re trying to load up on freshly baked pastries prepared on the daily, look no further! And of course, you can actually get work done here. This is the “it” spot for students—who can easily head to the House of Blues located nearby, which will be where Hustle Summit is taking place this summer!
Wifi: Yes

Photo cred: dailycoffeenews.com

 

Fabcakes

Location: 714 N Wells St
What you can get there: Coffee & Tea, Breakfast, Brunch
What makes it a good spot? There’s nothing more impressive than mod designs and majorly flavorful treats and beverages, all wrapped up in one kick ass cafe. Indulge in some crafty snacks and gluten-free options, and get ready to take your munch game— and pro status, depending on who you meet here—to the next level.
Wifi: Yes

Photo cred: timeout.com

 

Pilsen

 

Nitecap Coffee Bar

Location: 1738 W 18th St
What you can get there: Coffee & Tea, Breakfast, Lunch
What makes it a good spot? Vegan eaters and variety lovers, unite! With item names like “Pesky Wabbit” and “Daytripper,” their menu options will keep you on your feet—or at the very least, fully entertained, and full, after an afternoon spent working, studying, or networking!
Wifi: Yes

Photo cred: springrewards.com

 

Bridgeport

 

Jackalope Coffee and Tea House 

Location: 755 W 32nd St
What you can get there: Coffee & Tea, Breakfast
What makes it a good spot? Bacon buns, sugar skulls, Smore’s lattes—oh my! This eclectic shop is full of great eats, eye-popping art, and plenty of space to eat and chat your way to new opportunities!
Wifi: Yes

Photo cred: chicagotribune.com

 

Which spot are you most excited to try? What spots are your favorite to hit in Chicago? Share in the comments!

 

 

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