On the trendy corner of Augusta and California in Humboldt Park, you'll find C.C. Ferns, a laid back shop serving superb coffee drinks with a couple of surprises.
OUR ARTICLEBY: Christopher Blatner Contributing writer
To appreciate C.C. Ferns is first to understand its unique name. Was C.C. Fern a famous Chicagoan, or some world-renowned botanist that made a significant contribution to coffee growing? Well, it’s not quite that deep. The shop takes part of its name as a tribute to the cocktail bar it shares a roof with, The California Clipper and part of its name in homage to classic fern bars of the ’70s (C.C. + Ferns).
three giant humidors filled with a curated selection of cigars from the finest makers out of the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and Honduras.
The nod to fern bars starts with the minty-green painted exterior and extends inside to the comfortable vintage decor. Of course, there is a large leafy plant near the entrance that lends an extra dose of warmth. The walls are clad with weathered barn wood and adorned with classic Pan Am travel posters inviting you to “Fly to South Sea Isles”, tin tiles with a beautiful patina blanket the ceiling, and the furniture looks like it was taken straight out of The Roper’s apartment from Three’s Company. That’s to say, it’s perfect and invites you to sit with a few friends and hang out for a while. There are also several tables and a few lounge chairs scattered about the room if you want to hunker down for a productive day of work. The vibe is super chill with a soundtrack of Latin-jazz and world music wafting from the speakers and mixing with the coffee aroma to instantly give you a feeling of calm.
C.C. Ferns serves up coffee from legendary Chicago roasters Metropolis Coffee. The beans are some of the highest quality, and the baristas help it shine by pulling excellent shots of espresso while crafting some of the most beautiful latte art you’ll see in the city. You really can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. The offerings include strong drip coffee, macchiatos, cortados, cappuccinos, chai, and the previously mentioned latte’s. If we had to endorse just one, go with a latte, ask which housemade syrups are available, and get creative with your drink. If you’re feeling a little peckish, there is a daily assortment of old fashioned doughnuts from sister company Doughnut Vault or oatmeal cups from local café Milk + Honey.
Sharing a roof with a cocktail bar is not insignificant. The liquor license from the Clipper just happens to extend to C.C. Ferns, revealing its first surprise: Boozy Steamers. If you don’t need to be anywhere important and can take some time to settle into Mrs. Roper’s couch, you should order one. May we suggest the Scotch & Honey? It’s a superb blend of Famous Grouse, almond, and honey. The boozy menu extends to 5 other offerings using whiskey, vodka, rum, or bénédictine.
The other surprise from C.C. Ferns is it’s three giant humidors filled with a curated selection of cigars from the finest makers out of the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and Honduras. The baristas are happy to walk you through all of your choices. As a nice touch, every cigar comes with a custom-made cedar spill for your lighting pleasure. But you’ll have to take the smoking outside.
C.C. Ferns delivers an exceptional array of coffee drinks in a comfortable atmosphere and provides a few surprises along the way. It’s an ideal spot for a day-hang with friends or to tap out a few work emails.
Start your day at C.C. Ferns and end it with some live music and cocktails at its sister bar The California Clipper
Eclectic shopping abounds just down the block; grab unique home goods from Humboldt House, a succulent from Adams & Sons Gardens, or a mystical book at Space Oddities
Stop in at Rootstock for one of the best burgers in the city and a glass of wine from one of the tightest curated lists
Explore the lagoons and trails in Humboldt Park, the hidden gem for which the neighborhood is named
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