Albuquerque
 Albuquerque
Atlanta
 Atlanta
Austin
 Austin
Boston
 Boston
Buick
 Buick
Charleston
 Charleston
Chicago
 Chicago
Dallas
 Dallas
Denver
 Denver
Detroit
 Detroit
Kansas City, MO
 Kansas City, MO
Los Angeles
 Los Angeles
Memphis
 Memphis
Miami
 Miami
Minneapolis
 Minneapolis
Napa
 Napa
New Orleans
 New Orleans
New York
 New York
Oakland
 Oakland
Philadelphia
 Philadelphia
Phoenix
 Phoenix
Pittsburgh
 Pittsburgh
Portland, ME
 Portland, ME
Portland, OR
 Portland, OR
Raleigh-Durham
 Raleigh-Durham
San Diego
 San Diego
San Francisco
 San Francisco
Seattle
 Seattle
Washington, D.C.
 Washington, D.C.
Chicago

Chicago

Something different every day.

Family Bonds

Family Bonds

Rediscovering architecture, art, history.

Culture Daze

Culture Daze

A vivid mosaic of culture and food.

Reunited

Reunited

Outstanding eats to outsider art.

Wisconsin Escape

Wisconsin Escape

Milwaukee landmarks, unique pub grub.

Roundtable

Roundtable

Hidden gems from Chicago's ultimate insiders.

A Guided Tour

A Guided Tour

A historical and architectural tour on the Chicago River.

Back to Business

Back to Business

Two young entrepreneurs make their mark.

Spin Cycle

Spin Cycle

Where to go for a night on the town.

Insider Profiles

Getting to Know Chicago Through Its Coffee Culture

Johnny Loftus"As I have gotten older, I have really gotten to see how Chicago embodies its own rhythms. There are certain intangibles of a city that you learn as you go around."


When Johnny Loftus describes his gig with Metropolis Coffee Company, he says it's "like working at a record company. It is an independent company and it exists at my speed." Loftus delivers coffee around town for the roaster, and also blogs for the firm's website. But he's not giving advice on java. "I'm more interested in the lifestyle side of coffee," he says.

Riding around town delivering beans, and writing for alternative papers like The Village Voice, gives Loftus lots of opportunities to explore the city's coffee culture, and few people are as qualified to give a Chicago coffee lifestyle tour.

Loftus grew up in the Chicago suburbs (raised as a White Sox fan), moved to Detroit, then returned to Chicago in 2007. "As I have gotten older, I have really gotten to see how Chicago embodies its own rhythms. There are certain intangibles of a city that you learn as you go around."

Loftus now lives in Logan Square, a hip, up-and-coming neighborhood on the city's northwest side centered around a public square of the same name. He hears the caffeinated rhythms of Chicago in its food and drink, music and bustling public spaces. "All these neighborhoods make a patchwork," he says.

In Logan he loves the Puerto Rican sounds, authentic taquerias — his hunt for the city's best taco allows him to practice his Spanish — and gastropub Longman & Eagle. "They have a ton of really good whiskeys and local art, and they are planning to have a place where touring bands can stay upstairs. I like places like that, with a nod to a city's past. It used to be like that — you could find somewhere to get a sandwich, a beer and a place to stay."

The owners of Longman & Eagle are also behind The Empty Bottle, which Loftus calls, simply, "my all-time favorite rock club." For roots and indie-minded music, he heads to long-time standard Schubas Tavern on West Belmont Avenue. Many of his favorite shows happen in what he calls "fly-by-night punk squats," the kinds of places where you get a text and show up, rather than see it advertised at a club.

His requisites for a good bar include a comfortable place to sit and decent beer prices. "I have put together a pretty good dossier on places that embody those requirements." On his list is Cole's, which has a good room for live music in the back, and Archie's, an "old man bar" in Ukrainian Village.

Of course, Loftus is partial to coffee shops that sell Metropolis coffee, but he has other criteria, too. The Wormhole has a sci-fi theme and "a contemporary sense about it. It is a comfortable place to hang out," he says. New Wave Coffee is another that makes his grade.

When Loftus wants to go for a stroll on a warm day, he heads to Rosehill Cemetery in Bowmanville on the north side. "It is from the Victorian era, with all these headstones of old mayors. It has a real sense of history. It is not spooky."

For a final photo op to wrap up Loftus' counterculture Chicago tour, he'd stop at the Nelson Algren Fountain where Milwaukee and Ashland avenues meet Division Street. "That corner is funny. It is always a real snapshot of the city."

Check out Johnny's Chicago.