1462 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL, 60622
Acting as the main storefront for Halfwit Coffee Roasters, The Wormhole is one of very few places to get their coffee prepared professionally. With a DeLorean in the rafters and a Mac SE on the counter, this shop is a window back in time to a 90’s nerd oasis with an impressive amount of attention paid to the little things. Serving up awesome espresso alongside some nostalgia inspired house specials, The Wormhole will send you on a Triforce (espresso) powered trip down memory lane.
In my mind, Chicago is one of the top coffee cities in the world right now. The demand for high quality coffee is strong enough to support a different roaster on every corner and allows passionate and talented people to do amazing things. The Wormhole stands out as some of the best espresso I’ve had in the city despite this fierce competition. They serve up Halfwit coffee and add a little personal flair with a Teddy Graham palate cleanser. The signature and seasonal drinks are memorable with adventurous experiments like the Country Grammar (a ginger and curry latte) or the Crucial Taunt (Early Grey, Cayenne, and Lemon) and the pricing is friendly to all budgets.
As I mentioned in my Best of 2016 post, I hate Starbucking. Starbucking is the trend toward design uniformity within an industry. You’ve already noticed it even if you haven’t been able to put a name on it. Brick walls and industrial vibes. Baristas in professional attire puling shots on a stainless steel espresso machine modeled after some sports car. Wormhole shatters this and establishes an atmosphere that uniquely conveys the culture they’re aiming for. The attention to detail goes from “Boba Fett styled”espresso machine, to 8-Bit inspired drink names, to the ninja turtle staring out the front window. The theme to the decor is “Things We Love” which creates an instant home for many, myself included.
Wicker Park, where the shop is located, is one of Chicago’s many cultural centers. North Milwaukee is lined with boutique shops, creative food options, and coffee shops creating a diverse and thriving vibe to this part of town. Even in 12 degree weather, these streets draw pedestrian traffic as loyal customers brave the elements to get their fix.
Point lost for terrible music selection on occasion (i.e. cat themed house music).
Wormhole is one of the few shops outside of Houston where I’ve spent enough time to get a solid read on their staff over multiple visits. Always helpful and excited to help, I have yet to have a bad experience with the people here. The staff here mirrors the culture the atmosphere creates wearing geeky tee shirts and talking about the latest Netflix original they binged on their day off. I’ve seen staff members come in on their days off which is always a great indicator of a cool place to hang out.
The Wormhole has always been a special place for me. When I started this blog in 2015, The Wormhole made my first ever “best of list”. This place embraces everything I think the craft coffee movement should be. It’s a group of people getting paid to do what they love in a place where they can express their creative side and share it with the world. The personal touch goes a long way here. When paired with their excellence in all things coffee, this place has the magic recipe to stand out from the crowd.