If your spirit needs a boost from the overcast doldrums of Chicago's cold months, Pilsen's Café Jumping Bean will give you a reason to rouse from hibernation. This quaint coffee shop is flooded with natural light, Prozac-infused hues, and the delicious scent of percolating coffee to stave off sluggishness and turn that frown upside down.
Local artists' works are showcased on adobe-hued walls while photographs and other media cover the rest of the inerior, all the way up to the sunny yellow crown molding. Even the pressed tin ceiling is painted a vibrant teal. Clientele consists of locals, students and artsy kids looking for a caffeine fix.
If you're solo, pull up a stool to the mosaic-tiled bar for a rendezvous with freshly-squeezed orange juice, a turkey focaccia sandwich and the newspaper. The tomato bisque soup provides just the right amount of richness if your hung-over self can't handle a full meal. Vegetarians are shown the love, too, with sandwiches, pizza and salads galore.
Couples can challenge each other to a game of chess (compliments of the cafe) while sipping a decadent choco-espresso at one of the painted dining tables, which line the perimeter of the cafe. The winner can bask in victory with a thick fudge brownie or a spicy chai tea with a splash of soy milk.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Jen Hazen