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two zero three

proof that hotel lobby cafes can be trendy too

Coffee bar by day, wine bay at night, Two Zero Three is not your typical hotel lobby Starbucks. Located in the Virgin Hotel (at 203 N Wabash, hence the name), Two Zero Three is a popular space for locals to stop by too.


It’s a simple, cozy spot tucked into the corner of the building. The seating is comfortable, outlets aplenty, and you sure as hell feel a lot cooler plugging in here than at one of the many chain coffee shops around the area. Sitting by the window on a weekday, you’ll watch a constant stream of people walking to and from (probably) State/Lake station. Despite its central location, in bizarre Chicago fashion it’s usually not too crowded (for LA standards at least), so it’s a great spot for getting some work done. Their menu is simple: a large selection of caffeinated drinks (including some creatively-named coffee “cocktails”), and some pastries and light fare for a quick bite. It’s one of those places oddly reserved for locals who are in the know, and visitors who happen to be staying at the hotel. But all in all, it does a few things well, which makes it a gem in my book.

the details

Address203 N Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL
Hours6am to 6pm everyday 
Price$$ – typical fancier café prices
Aestheticpretty much what you’d imagine from a Virgin branded hotel, with a little Chicago mixed in 

good to know

Go here for: a midday coffee break, a cafe work session

Order this: they have a bunch of specialty drinks that are very popular

Amount of time to spend: despite the constant flow of people grabbing coffee to go, it actually doesn’t get super packed, so you can definitely plug in for a few hours comfortably

When to come: whenever you need to refuel 

Getting here: it’s about a block away from State/Lake (Brown, Green, Orange, Pink, Purple lines) and just a block and a turn away from Lake (Red line), pretty central, just a couple blocks from Michigan Ave.

Other things to note: 

  • They serve Dark Matter coffee, a well-loved local roaster.
  • Free wifi and plenty outlets, so it’s great for working.
  • The bathroom is located outside the cafe, accessible through the hotel.

Last visited: August 2019

Last updated: January 2020

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