Not your average brew: The Wormhole (Coffee Shop, Wicker Park)

You can’t walk three blocks in this city without seeing that Medusa-esque Starbucks sign. So it may seem nonsensical of me to trek across the city (hopping on two different buses – a 40-50 minute trip one way) to sit in a neighborhood coffee shop in Wicker Park that is awkwardly far from my home base in Lakeview. But when I found this place with a Delorean in the window, 80’s memorabilia plastered on the walls, and a chill hipster crowd, I was hooked. Simply put, I think the Wormhole is the best coffee place in Chicago.

A couple blocks south of the Damen Blue Line stop sits this little gem. The Back-to-the-Future car in the front is the first taste of the 80’s vibe in here. Movie posters of the decade’s classics line the walls – Ghostbusters, The Goonies, Weird Science to name a few.

Patrons enjoy free wi-fi, which is the only feature of this place that links it to your run-of-the-mill coffee shop. The relaxed and quirky atmosphere feels more like a hip friend’s giant studio apartment, with hard wood floors, lamps on the occasional side table, and an assortment of comfortable couches and chairs. Star Wars memorabilia sit in one corner, and an old-school Nintendo sits in the back. So, grab your nerd buds, order a bottomless cup of the daily brew, and make an afternoon of gaming. If Mario Brothers isn’t your scene, curl up with a soy latte and Harry Potter in an over-sized chair.

With drink names like “Drunken Citrus Mocha” and “Honey Bear Latte,” it’s clear management kept the creative wheels turning when they crafted the menu. Their food selection complements a range of diets, too. Items cover the vegans (organic vegan chocolate chip oatmeal cookies) to the kids at heart (cookie crisp cereal).
A popular coffee choice is the bottomless cup, which as the name suggests is all-you-can-drink of the daily brew. And you’ll get it in a different cup every time. They don’t have standard mass-produced mugs here.

Of course a review of the Wormhole is incomplete without mention of the typical patrons. This is the epitome of the (undefinable?) hipster culture. Tight flannel shirts, glasses with no lenses, and throw-back Converse can be seen at every other table. And because it’s so popular it can be hard to find a seat, but you can easily stay occupied waiting for one to open; the place is like an 80’s museum.

If you’re a child of the 80’s, a bonafide hipster, or simply a fan of good coffee, the Wormhole has your digs.

About Cheryl Thomas

Cheryl grew up in rural northern Indiana, where everyone is somehow related to a farmer and horse and buggy stations are in the Wal-Mart parking lots. She moved to Chicago a few months after graduating from IU and has since fallen hopelessly in love with the city. She likes trying new deep dish places, exploring used bookstores and dive bars, chatting with strangers on public transit, and all sorts of writing - especially fiction and playwriting.

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