fairground coffee & tea

your friendly local 3rd wave cafe

To be honest there’s not much to say about Fairground. It kind feels like a 3rd wave urban version of your favorite suburban chain coffee shop. It feels inviting, neighborly, in a way. Maybe it’s the bright turquoise branding. Maybe it’s the copper accents and hearty wood furniture. Even though the first time I encountered Fairground was in LA, it didn’t feel like an LA cafe (read: Alfred at The Line), so I guess it makes sense. I guess what I’m trying to say is the only way I know how to describe this place is a very Midwestern 3rd wave cafe.

My favorite location is the West Loop / Fulton Market location. It’s a bit of a walk from restaurant row, inside what I assume is an office building. The cafe is hardly a lobby cafe though, it’s extremely spacious and has a quirky industrial ever-so-slightly over designed Pinterest aesthetic with tons of seating. Seriously from bar seating to leather sofas to tables, there is no shortage of space to settle in with some colleagues.

Plus, they boast a truly extensive menu of coffees and teas and sweets and foods to keep you caffeinated and satiated, so it’s great for working.

the details

Addressseveral locations, 3 in Chicago (West Loop, Loop and Wicker)
YelpWest Loop | Wicker Park | Loop
Hoursslightly vary among the locations, but 6:30a-8pm on weekdays in West Loop and Wicker, with shortened weekend hours. Loop location is 6am-9pm daily 
Price$-$$ – your usual café prices, drinks around $3-5, foods around $5-10
Aestheticquirky industrial ever-so-slightly over designed Pinterest aesthetic

good to know

Go here for: a coffee meeting, a lunch meeting, a work session (you get it)

Order this: a breakfast sandwich and one of their seasonal elixirs

Amount of time to spend: depends on the location, settle in for an afternoon of work, or grab coffee to go and get on with your day

When to come: whenever, because Chicago cafes never get too crowded, and because they have great weekday hours

Getting here: all three Chicago locations are easily accessible from CTA stations

  • Loop: just around the block from Washington/Wabash station
  • West Loop: located between Ashland and Morgan stations, though slightly closer from Ashland (about a 7 min walk)
  • Wicker: right around the corner from Damen station

Other things to note: 

  • The Loop location is in the lobby of the Chicago Athletic Association, and more of a to-go place.
  • They also have locations in the burbs (Oak Park, Vernon Hills), in the fellow Midwest cities (Milwaukee, Minneapolis) and, bizarrely, in LA, at the lobby of The Mayfair Hotel, which is itself in a strange location in MacArthur Park.
  • West Loop location also serves alcohol.

Last visited: August 2019

Last updated: October 2019

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