Top 5 Spots for Hyde Park Coffee Chats

It’s that time of year. In true pay-it-forward fashion, second years are meeting up with first years for a ton of “coffee chats” to talk recruiting, summer internships, and all things Booth. After sitting on both sides, I know two things for sure: there aren’t enough tables in the Winter Garden for all ~1100 of us, and every chat is better with good food and drinks.

If you’re looking for a change of scenery, here are my top five Hyde Park meet-up locations, all within walking distance from the Harper Center.

1. True North (pictured above) – 1323 E 57th St

Distance from Harper: 4-minute walk

What to expect:

  • Industrial-cool vibe
  • Lots of coffee, tea and blended drinks
  • Breakfast and lunch menus with fresh ingredients and interesting veggie options
  • Order at the counter and they bring it to your seat while you chat
  • Room to get on the wi-fi and stay a while

What to order:

  • Kale Me Maybe Smoothie 
  • Loaded bagel with goat cheese, tomato and arugula

2. The Pub (@ Ida Noyes) – 1212 E. 59th St

Distance from Harper: 30-second walk

What to expect:

  • Dim pub lighting creates a grungy, yet charming, vibe for a relaxed chat in the basement of Ida Noyes (right next to Harper!)
  • Surprisingly lengthy draught list, plus traditional pub fare
  • Grad students from all over the University, and trivia some afternoons
  • Pool and shuffleboard tables
  • You need a UChicago ID to get in, and the first time you go each year, you have to register and pay the $5 annual membership fee

What to order:

  • Tater tots
  • Local beers like Revolution’s Rosa

3. Te’amo Boba Bar – 1155 E. 55th St

Distance from Harper: 10-minute walk

What to expect:

  • Turn your coffee chat into a Bubble Tea chat instead
  • Jars filled with tapioca balls submerged in colorful tea
  • Modern decor and plenty of space to sit and talk
  • Bonus: there’s another location at 520 N. Michigan if you want to do your chat in the Loop instead

What to order:

  • Jasmine Milk Tea
  • Macaroons

4. The Nile – 1162 E. 55th St

Distance from Harper: 10-minute walk

What to expect:

  • If you have the time to make your coffee chat a (platonic) professional lunch date, the Nile is perfect
  • Quick turnaround Middle Eastern sit-down restaurant
  • Best value lunch special in Hyde Park (sorry, Kovler)- $8.75 for a an appetizer and an entrĂ©e

What to order:

  • Hummos app (it’s huge)
  • Fattoush salad (omnivores can add Chicken!)

5. Seven Ten Lanes – 1055 E. 55th St

Distance from Harper: 11-minute walk

What to expect:

  • An activity-based chat is definitely a way to switch things up as you discuss future life paths– this place has pool tables and bowling lanes in addition to a bar/restaurant area
  • Super friendly staff and not very busy during the day, so you can hang out for a while
  • If you actually bowl, you have to keep track of score by hand

What to order:

  • Build-your-own pizza with up to four ingredients at the same price
  • Root beer float or Thursday wine specials

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