Thursday, April 28, 2011

Star Lounge

2521 West Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL

I cannot sing my praises for Humboldt Park's Star Lounge loudly enough. I love everything about this bar-turned-coffee lounge; from their location, to their incredible coffee (which they roast themselves), to their very friendly, skilled, knowledgeable staff, to their spacious layout and backyard seating, to their (most importantly) incredible espresso drinks, Star Lounge really has it all going for them.

I'm just going to come right out and say it—Star Lounge is my favorite coffee shop in Chicago.

Currently, I am sitting at their bar with my laptop and journal, talking to a couple of the guys (former Peetniks like me, actually) about recipes and new concoctions. I just tried their Mayan mocha and was blown away. Now we're discussing possible ingredients for a "French toast latte"—we tasted one and it was good, but still missing a little something. Don't expect me to tell you what we put in there, though—I wouldn't dream of giving away a secret. A barista doesn't kiss and tell.

And, honestly, that's what I love most about this place—yeah, the coffee is fabulous, and, yeah, the location and the music they play are great; but what really sets this place apart for me is that their baristas are down to Earth, legitimately cool guys that really engage with their customers. It's one thing to "be engaging" from a corporate mindset ("Good afternoon, how are you? What can I get for you today? Would you like to add a pastry to that order? That'll be $10 please. Thank you, have a nice day."), but it's completely different to "be engaging" on a personal level. The guys that work here genuinely want you to have the best coffee they can make, so they ask you how your drink is. They'll talk to you about what they put in it, what their different roasts taste like, what new stuff they're working on...

Simply put: they have a genuine love and respect for coffee. And that is immediately apparent when you talk with them and taste their drinks.

For more information, please visit their website above to read about their commitment to great coffee, or stop in to talk with Jay and the rest of the team. They have a wonderful mission that every coffee enthusiast should get behind.


Come back to my table in the corner of the cafe often, because I'll be writing more reviews of their Dark Matter roasts in the future!

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