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Big Shoulders Coffee Lake St. Review

Big Shoulders Coffee Lake St. is a cafe located in the central business district neighborhood of Chicago–The Loop. The cafe caters mostly to people working or meeting in The Loop. Read on to learn everything you need to know about Big Shoulder Coffee (Lake St.).

Review Summary

  • 12oz Coffee $2.70; 12oz Latte $3.50 (pre-tax)
  • Good cafe for working with headphones
  • Cafe can be crowded but sees pretty quick turnover
  • All day breakfast sandwiches ($5.75) available
  • Mobile Order is available

Location and Hours

Big Shoulders Coffee (Lake St.) is located at 213 W Lake St and is open Monday through Friday, 6AM to 6PM and Saturday 7:30AM to 2:30PM. It is closed Sunday (like much of The Loop). The location prominently faces the street and is hard to miss on Lake between Wells and Franklin.

Menu and Prices

On the beverage front, Big Shoulders offers range of coffee and tea options. Espresso and tea beverages are available in two sizes (12 oz and 16 oz). Drip coffee and iced beverages come in a single size. A small selection of “signature” (flavored) lattes are available.

Notable menu items include the Marshmallow Latte, Cardamon Latte, Cold Brew, and Nitro. We had an Horchata Latte and a Nitro White, both were good.

At the small (12oz) size, some pre-tax prices are:

  • Coffee – $2.70
  • Latte – $3.50
  • Signature Latte – $3.75
  • Cold Brew (one size, 16 oz) – $3.75
  • Tea (one size, 16 oz) – $4

The cafe also offers a limited selection of donuts, scones, and breakfast sandwiches. The breakfast sandwiches ($5.75) are available all day. Donuts come in both “classic” and “fancy” style, though I didn’t see any notable fancy donuts.

Whole bean coffee is also available, as is a variety of merchandise.

Cafe, Wifi, and Power

The cafe is located on Lake Street between Wells and Franklin. It has its own street-facing entrance and also has a door to the adjacent Linea Apartment building.

Space is limited. There is indoor seating for about 15 people and a standing window bar with room for four.

Wifi is password protected, but the password is prominently on display. The speed clocked in at only 19 Mbps. This is good for most tasks, but less than the speed recommended to stream Netflix 4K.

There are outlets throughout the cafe, though not every seat is immediately adjacent to one.

Cafe Experience

Big Shoulders is a modern coffee chain, with a clean cut, minimalistic aesthetic. Because of its location in the Loop, it sees a ton of foot traffic and people tended to come in to quickly grab a coffee, maybe have a meeting, and be on their way.

Between the music and the foot traffic, this is not a quiet working space. However, the design and location clearly encourage it as a spot to hang out and work for a bit. It would not be good for meetings of more than two people.

Big Shoulders has its own app that allows for mobile order at its cafes. Service was a tad slow when we visited, but it was quite busy and the baristas may have been busy preparing mobile orders.

About Big Shoulders

The Big Shoulders chain started in River North in 2012 and now has 7 cafes in Chicago (including a Midway Airport kiosk). They operate a roastery and sell coffee beans at roughly $18 per 12 oz ($24 / lb).