Impossible to overdose on Kafein

    Writers’ Spaces is a series that reviews — you guessed it — spaces for writers. Whether writing is your lifeblood or you got stuck in Intro to Fiction, check out the best (and worst) places to practice your craft.

    Photo by the author / NBN

    I hate coffee. It’s a sad dilemma in my life as an aspiring writer. How do I sit in cafés for hours on end without a tasty beverage to keep the creative juices flowing? How could anyone sit in a café to study, talk, read or write without a silky smooth drink that goes down like lemonade on a steamy summer day? Sure, tea can do the trick, but for me at least, coffee and tea can only take a person so far.

    Which is where Kafein comes in. The violet purple awning outside leads into the bold, flashy writer’s haven that is Kafein. Murals fill up the otherwise yellow walls while booths and painted tables crowd around cushioned chairs and lamps for the late-night goers (Kafein is open till 1 a.m. on weekdays), and a small door leads outside to the patio for those willing to brave Evanston weather.

    One glance at their menu and any non-coffee drinker is in pure bliss. They’ve got everything from shakes, to sundaes, to big-ass cookies and (my personal favorite) fruit smoothies (pure fruit blended with green tea in perfect harmony).

    The many available concoctions at Kafein can accommodate everyone, but it is not for the fainthearted. Selecting the right drink is almost as difficult as finding a soul mate, and if you find yourself among the indecisive in this world, you may want to stick to lattes or basic green tea, or you could wind up with an amaretto chai tea latte on ice wondering what happened to good ol’ hot cocoa.

    Photo by the author / NBN

    Aside from the wondrous drink selection, Kafein really is for everyone: for the guy who wants to sit and read his political science homework, for the girl who wants to write the next great American novel, for the group of friends who come in thinking they’re going to study but really end up chatting about the weekend. The atmosphere is eclectic, with patterns on every table, music that absolutely no one has heard of, timeless paintings that have been converted into product placement and a church candle holder that now stands as a chic magazine rack in the center of it all.

    I love Kafein. Every sound, sight, and smell puts me in a place where I could write for hours on end. But there are those who will run from the place, so let me warn those people now: If you hate loud music, fun, or people in general, you’ll hate Kafein.


    1621 Chicago Ave
    Evanston, IL 60201
    (847) 491-1621


    • Menu: A+
    • Coffee: Sorry, I wouldn’t know.
    • Ambience: B+
    • Accessibility: A
    • Overall: A –


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