Food & Drink

The 11 best patios for working remotely in Chicago

Published On 07/16/2014 Published On 07/16/2014
Christine Smith

The "from home" part of "working from home" is really more of a suggestion than a mandate. A mandate would be saying something like, "If you're gonna work from home, you have to do it on one of the 11 best patios for working remotely in Chi, which we're about to list out for you now. Don't let us down".

The Winchester 

The Winchester

East Village
This all-day restaurant doubles as a coffee shop during the day, when its light, airy interior (and quaint exterior) offers a sweet alternative to the standard coffee house mish-mash of questionably interesting art on the walls. Best of all? Because it's a little off the beaten/loud path, you can finally organize your neglected Gmail inbox without any excess distractions.

Facebook/Sportsman’s Club

Sportsman’s Club

Humboldt Park
Ditch the Wi-Fi and take a late afternoon business meeting in the new back patio of Sportsman’s Club. The space doesn’t fill up until later in the evening anyway, giving you time to mix one of the signature house cocktails with plans to take over the business world with a new investor.

Caffe Streets

Wicker Park
There are patios, and then there's Caffe Streets’ patio. Large and spacious, the front-facer offers some of the most pristine views of Division Street. And like its weirdly captivating interior, the patios' long communal tables and sturdy benches are equal parts striking and comfortable. 

Flickr/emilee rader

Uncommon Ground

Lakeview, Edgewater
Uncommon Ground both started and perfected the “alternative to coffee shop” trend, and it's got multiple locations to prove it. The barstaurants open at 9am during the week, and feature a variety of drink specials (Whiskey Wednesdays, $7 martinis), so you can turn your “long afternoon lunch” into an all-day drinking and working lunch.

Sean Cooley

Bang Bang Pie Shop

Logan Square
Is there anything better than pie for breakfast, or lunch, or dinner? Maybe... pie and biscuits for breakfast, or lunch, or dinner? Thought so. Enter Bang Bang, where you can both 1) get your fill on a big back patio, and 2) make all your co-workers supremely jealous that the majority of your Gchat is focused on your eating candied bacon outside.

Facebook/J.P. Graziano

J.P. Graziano Grocery

West Loop
This mecca of meat and Italian groceries has been a mainstay for West Loop residents and workers for years. Now, with a small, shaded side patio and free Wi-Fi, the space has become a hub for work-from-homers. Grab a delicious Italian sub and get to work… that is, if you’re not in a food coma.

Jupiter Outpost Cafe

West Loop
The loft-like layout of this open cafe is the perfect complement to the industrious landscape of the West Loop. Settle in during the late afternoon on the small patio seats for Wi-Fi and quick, early-evening access to the area’s always-intriguing nightlife.

Museum of Contemporary Art

Museum of Contemporary Art

If you’re not a member of the MCA, you should be. But if you’re looking for a little culture without dropping too many bucks, head to the museum on Free Tuesdays. The cuisine at Puck’s Cafe is your standard fare, and the Wi-Fi is solid, but the view of the sculpture garden is the real sell.

Facebook/Little Goat

Little Goat Diner

West Loop
It’s nearly impossible to get a seat at Little Goat in the evenings, but this refined diner is an easy-to-navigate jewel during the day time. Try to get a spot on the rooftop patio, where you can conduct an hours-long Hangout with your fellow telecommuting coworkers, all while dissecting a scallion pancake and taking long glimpses of the best skyline in the world.

Chicago Cultural Center

The Loop
The Chicago Cultural Center is one of those buildings that you regularly walk by, admire from afar, but never enter. Thing is, you probably should: The Randolph Square and the outdoor steps section is a lively area of the center that's close enough to wherever the router is to get connected, plus sports some of the city's best people-watching.


Harold Washington Library

The Loop
Once you’ve gotten your fill of the Harold Washington Library’s exterior (Gothic gargoyles! Imposing red brick!), step inside of this majestic and massive structure and find a cozy corner to get to work. Though not technically outside, we’re especially in favor of checking out the ninth floor, home of the Winter Garden -- a little mini-oasis in the middle of the Loop.

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Britt Julious is a born and bred Chicagoan with a love of dance floors and cider. Follow her witticisms and criticisms @britticisms.

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1. Caffe Streets 1750 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60622 (Wicker Park)

Armed with a DJ booth and a modern industrial vibe (streetlight-esque fixtures, a...modern industrial Synesso espresso machine), CS is focusing on beans from specialty roasters (including a house blend made specially for them by Intelligentsia), and ditch

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2. J. P. Graziano Grocery Co. 901 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607 (West Loop)

An old-school Italian grocery and importer, distributing all over the city since 1937, made the evolution to sandwich shop and gave the fourth-generation store a new life. People line up outside the door for a bite. It’s a busy scene among shelves of canned and pickled provisions: a meat slicer on overdrive, plastic-gloved counter workers slopping macaroni salad into little plastic cups, stuffed hoagies (made from D’Amato bread) being rolled to-go in paper. The classic Italian is a mainstay, but go for the Mr. G: hot sorpresata, prosciutto, genoa salami, sharp provolone, fresh basil, grilled and marinated artichokes, vinegar-oregano tossed lettuce and (here it comes) truffle-mustard-balsamic vinaigrette.

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3. Bang Bang Pie Shop 2051 N California Ave, Chicago, IL 60647 (Logan Square)

Logan Square's Bang Bang Pie Shop is a reminder of a simpler time, when everyone's favorite neighbor Ethel would let her pies cool on the windowsill. The pies at this bright and buzzy corner bake shop are handmade daily using the freshest seasonal ingredients, and their comforting scent alone will have you floating through the entrance. There are classics like key lime and apple, plus unique recipes like butterscotch meringue and maple bourbon pecan. You won't want to miss the small-batch sour cream biscuits either, which are served with ginger-sage sausage, gravy, a poached egg, and a side of seasonal jam.

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4. Uncommon Ground 1401 W Devon Ave, Chicago, IL 60660 (Edgewater)

Known as one of the "greenest restaurants in America," Uncommon Ground rocks delicious dishes like strawberry-rhubarb pancakes, and blackened catfish with dill sauce. Comforting fare like chorizo-loaded chilaquiles and breakfast sliders are made wholesome thanks to locally sourced and family farmed ingredients, and there are several vegetarian/vegan-friendly options, too.

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5. Little Goat 820 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607

Right across the street from its upscale sister Girl & The Goat, Stephanie Izard's Little Goat is an all-day upscale diner that serves insanely creative takes on classic American comfort food. Split between a sit-down restaurant and a bakery, Little Goat is the place to go for over-the-top breakfast (breakfast spaghetti, banana peanut butter waffles), exceptional burgers (you can choose between a beef, goat, and veggie patty), and crazy desserts (smoked pork & toffee crunch milkshakes, Cheez-It sundaes). If you can't sit and stay -- or handle the long weekend waits -- then hit the "Grab and Goat" take-away area.

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6. The Winchester 1001 N Winchester Ave, Chicago, IL 60622 (Ukrainian Village)

Serving up breakfast, lunch and dinner, The Winchester features a rotating seasonal menu with market-fresh ingredients. Local ingredients always make for a more satisfying and delicious meal.

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7. Chicago Cultural Center 78 E Washington St, Chicago, IL 60602

The beautiful Chicago Cultural Center draws people from all over to come to it's public events. Bonus: it's also a great spot for outdoor WiFi.

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8. Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago 220 E Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

This is one of the best contemporary art museums in the US. People from all over can witness great art from living artists.

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9. Jupiter Outpost 1139 W Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607 (West Loop)

This independently owned cafe has a cool vibe, free wifi, delicious snacks, quality coffee, and a sweet patio -- everything you need to enjoy a relaxing afternoon of work.

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10. Harold Washington Library 400 S State St, Chicago, IL 60605 (Loop)

The Harold Washington Library’s got a badass exterior (Gothic gargoyles! Imposing red brick!), but you can also find a cozy corner to get to work. Check out the ninth floor, home of the Winter Garden -- a little mini-oasis in the middle of the Loop.

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11. Sportsman's Club 948 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60622 (West Town)

Sportman's Club is dedicated to highlighting the best of lesser-known spirits, and to do that, it offers four different cocktails each day, whose ingredients are decided upon by whichever bartenders are manning the bar that night. What you drink one night probably won't be available the next, but that's what makes drinking here such a unique experience. Aside from cocktails, there's a well-curated selection of wine and beer, the latter of which includes Polish varieties that pay homage to the bar that formerly occupied the Ukrainian Village space.