Third places in Chicago?
June 8, 2011 1:17 PM   Subscribe

I just moved from Philly. What parts of Chicago have high concentrations of "third places" easily accessible from Union Station and the L lines? I'm looking for coffeeshops, bars, food courts, and other cool places that wouldn't mind 6-14 paying customers hanging out for a couple of hours and talking at moderate volume.

I typically like to hold stuff from 2-4pm on Saturday in a coffeeshop and then subset of attendees go and find a bar for drinks and dinner.

It's better if you point me to both specific venues and whole neighborhoods because places (coffeeshops, at least) that meet criteria for meetups tend to go out of business within six months (no joke).

If there are community centers that don't require a huge deposit and would welcome ~$2-3/person/week for a bunch of low-key people hanging out on couches and at tables and possibly being a bit loud (and sometimes talking about controversial and even X-rated topics), that could work, too.
posted by zeek321 to Human Relations (5 answers total)
Rogers Park has a lot of great community hangouts--Heartland, No Exit come to mind. Ennui would have been perfect for you, but sadly it's closed. But there are plenty of other coffee shops. Just take the Red Line north from State Street. There are a lot of interesting bars in Edgewater. Rogers Park is a bit far north, but I've found that coffee shops there are generally a lot less crowded than those closer to the Loop, in places like Lakeview and Lincoln Park. And I used to live there--it's a great, diverse neighborhood that prides itself on being the anti-Lincoln Park.

Union Station's food court isn't much to write home about, but Northwest Station/Ogilvie Transportation Center (across the street) has a really good food court, and now they have a French market (with yummy sandwiches and macarons!) next door.
posted by tully_monster at 5:02 PM on June 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Rogers Park and Edgewater are great, interesting, diverse neighborhoods, but neither has a particular street with a high concentration of coffee shops and bars--you have to be willing to seek them out. In Andersonville (Berwyn red), Lincoln Square (Western brown), West Lakeview (Southport brown), and along the blue line from Division to Logan Square, you'll find plenty without looking too hard. The closer-in red line stops have plenty of stuff too, but that doesn't sound like the crowd you're looking for.
posted by hal incandenza at 8:34 PM on June 8, 2011

Off the Jarvis red line stop there is a coffee shop (Charmers), a bar (Poitin Stil), and two restaurants (Gruppo D'Amici, an upscale italian place and an Indian place and also a fast-food grill that closes at I think 8). They are both small low-key places. If you go here there's nothing really to "seek out" for quite a few blocks but i think there's at least one bar one stop down the red line at the Morse stop. It wouldn't hurt to call them and see if your arrangement would be suitable.
posted by bleep at 9:44 PM on June 8, 2011

Second the Blue Line between Division & Logan. Specifically, the area around the Damen stop has a huge concentration of coffee shops (check out Filter, specifically), bars & restaurants.

That stop is in the middle of Wicker Park, which is very young/hipster/progressive, so you're certain to find plenty of places that will have no issue with the content of your conversations.
posted by graphnerd at 5:45 AM on June 9, 2011

Response by poster: Thank you everyone! I'm going to start scouting.
posted by zeek321 at 7:51 AM on June 9, 2011

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