Chicago is known as the “The City that Works” and the “City of the Big Shoulders” because of its history as a place where its people put in a hard day of work using creativity and determination while facing responsibilities head on. Better said: Chicago gets things done. Metric coffee embodies that Chicago spirit and is fueling the hustle of those that get things done.
OUR ARTICLEBY: Christopher Blatner Contributing writer
Metric Coffee was born out of sheer determination and creativity. They know a thing or two about what it takes to make it in this husky, brawling city. They almost never got off the ground after some unfortunate circumstances surrounding the purchase of a coffee roaster they were planning to use to create their signature coffee roasts. The machine they purchased from a European seller arrived in Chicago as a heap of unusable metal. But with grit, resourcefulness, and ingenuity the owners rebuilt the roaster themselves in a tiny rented garage over the course of a year. From that heap of metal, Metric emerged ready to serve Chicago.
It’s fitting then that the Metric café and roasting works are located in an industrial corridor among small manufacturers, flower distributors, distillers, brewers, and coffee roasters. Within a community of creators and doers working together, focused on making a lasting impact on Chicago. An area where you’re more likely to encounter forklift traffic darting in and out of loading docks than actual automobile traffic. These streets are for the people doing the work and Metric is their stop-off for some of the finest coffee to fuel their pursuits.
Grab a cup, feel the energy of the neighborhood, and be inspired to charge toward your goals. Time to hit the concrete.
When visiting you’ll find a steady flow of workers from the nearby industrial operations mixed-in with a few white collars from the growing number of businesses that have relocated to the area.
Enter the café through the barn doors and right away you can witness the origins of Metric on display. Over the shoulders of the baristas, you can see the storied coffee roaster and the entire roasting operation at work. Metric roasts all of their direct trade beans out of this facility supporting both their retail offerings as well as their wholesale accounts across the city.
The café is intimate and maintains the industrial vibes of the building with long wooden slats across the ceiling, butcher-block countertops, and metal and wood shelving throughout. There are a few stools and a shallow counter to sit and enjoy your brew.
In warmer months, there is a sizeable coffee garden out front with a number of tables to lounge at while catching some rays and observing the constant buzz of the neighborhood.
On the menu, you’ll find Metric’s house blend, a rotating selection of single-origin coffees, espressos, and a “barista’s choice” that is poured over a Chemex. They also offer their standout cold brew, called Hellion, on draft and on nitro. A selection of locally baked goods is available daily.
Metric may be a bit off the beaten path but most things worth checking out usually are. Grab a cup, feel the energy of the neighborhood, and be inspired to charge toward your goals. Time to hit the concrete.
Happy Hour: Head across the street to the Rhine Hall tasting room for cocktails featuring their wide selection fruit-derived brandy
CYTIES pick: Don’t pass on the Hellion cold brew. Order it on draft or take some bottles to go
Get down: Catch a rock show at the nearby venues Cobra Lounge or Bottom Lounge
Coffee Roast: Metric Coffee