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Evanston Coffee Shop Guide

As a sleep-deprived college student, coffee is a staple of my daily routine. One of the first things I did when I first moved to Evanston was research local coffee shops, and visiting them all has been a highlight of my first few quarters here. All of Evanston’s coffee shops have something a little different to offer, so here’s a rundown of the cafes nearest to campus and what sets them apart.

Jordan Hickey / North by Northwestern

Backlot Coffee

1549 Sherman Ave. & 2006 Central St.

Backlot is a little further from campus than a lot of the other coffee shops in Evanston, but it’s well worth the extra walk. It’s quickly become my favorite cafe in town with its calming, aesthetic atmosphere, phenomenal menu of drinks and friendly staff. The Oatmeal Cookie Latte, Backlot’s signature drink, is probably the most delicious coffee I’ve ever had and is an absolute must-try.

Jordan Hickey / North by Northwestern

Newport Coffee House

622 Davis St.

Prior to the pandemic, Newport was the ultimate coffee shop/study spot. The clean and sleek white decor is somehow both calming and inspires focus, and the coffee house music that’s always playing is very soothing. The coffee sizes are small for the rather steep prices Newport charges, but everything I’ve tried has been incredible and worth almost every penny. Newport’s pastries are also delicious and make the price point even more worth it.

Jordan Hickey / North by Northwestern

Colectivo Coffee

716 Church St.

Colectivo was my first Evanston coffee love. As soon as I tried their Dulce de Leche latte, which is unfortunately no longer on the menu, all I wanted to do was taste all of their fun flavored lattes (which I did last fall). During non-pandemic times, Colectivo is another prime study spot, especially if you’re the kind of person who thrives in a busy and bustling environment. A lot of Colectivo’s drinks and pastry items are really high in sugar, so it may not be the healthiest coffee shop option. However, Colectivo offers one of the widest selections of drinks I’ve seen and definitely has something for everyone.  

Christine Potermin / North by Northwestern

Philz Coffee

1030 Davis St.

My go-to coffee shop orders always involve espresso (think lattes, cappuccinos, etc.), so I stayed away from Philz for far too long given they only offer drinks with black coffee. Ever since I got over my trepidation, though, I haven’t been able to stop going back. With its huge windows and fun signs, Philz is bright and colorful, and it has an extensive coffee menu that would satisfy any aficionado. Philz isn’t for the faint of heart, though: even with the highest milk and sugar levels, their drinks still taste strong and bitter. Philz is also decently far from campus, but it seems to inspire an unmatched dedication among its customers that I haven’t quite been able to figure out, so it may be worth the extra trek if only so you can see what all the hype is about.

Christine Potermin / North by Northwestern

Coffee Lab

910 Noyes St.

Coffee Lab: the one coffee shop all you north campus-ers can realistically visit on a frequent basis. A five minute walk from Tech, the name itself seems to suggest this cafe was built for our more STEM-minded students (which apparently includes journalists now). I haven’t been to Coffee Lab all that much since I basically never venture north, but every time I have, it’s been delightful. The atmosphere is somehow relaxed despite the tables of stressed students doing problem sets, and it also seems to be a more social cafe compared to many of the others near campus. Coffee Lab has a pretty classic menu of food and drinks, but their pastries are some of the best around and are not to be missed. They’re constantly experimenting and trying out new pastry flavors, and the doughnuts they get from a local shop on Saturdays are simply delectable. Coffee Lab also displays local art, so you can peruse the cafe for some new dorm or apartment decorations while enjoying your drink.

Christine Potermin / North by Northwestern

Cupitol Coffee & Eatery

812 Grove St.

Like Colectivo, Cupitol has an extensive menu with so many options you won’t know what to try first. You really can’t go wrong, too: everything I’ve tried, from the french toast to the oat milk cappuccino to the Nutella latte, has been delicious. Cupitol’s modern design and abundance of space also make it an ideal place to both socialize and study at any time of day. Cupitol is especially perfect if you’re craving breakfast later in the day since they serve their brunch menu until closing time!

Christine Potermin / North by Northwestern

Patisserie Coralie

600 Davis St.

Transport yourself to Paris by going to this adorable bakery and coffee shop just a few blocks from campus. Patisserie Coralie has a delightful menu of food and drinks that are delicious with just the right amount of sophistication. French music only adds to the Parisian atmosphere, making Patisserie Coralie the perfect place to visit if you (like me) are very much missing the possibility of travelling.

Starbucks

1734 Sherman Ave.

Also known as Sherbucks. Aside from the unique nickname, it’s exactly the same as every Starbucks you’ve visited.

Christine Potermin / North by Northwestern

Peet’s Coffee

1622 Chicago Ave.

Also known as… just kidding, this one doesn’t get a cute nickname. But, like Sherbucks, it’s similar to every other Peet’s location.