What separates this Northwestern-student hangout from other coffee shops is not its fare (although the low-fat muffins are a sweet find), but rather, its comfortable atmosphere. If you want to actually enjoy your coffee in the morning—instead of breezing in and out of a nearby Starbucks, this is the place for you. No Styrofoam cups here. Actual glasses, plates and utensils, paired with a stack of newspapers in the back, funky music and local art on the walls, contribute to the stay-a-while feel. Savor your latte and scone among the other loners absorbed in books, typing feverishly on their laptops or simply scanning the crowd.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Christine Tyler