Rogers Park is nothing but not diverse-- especially for an area housing an extravagantly priced private university. And, quite frankly, the park has soul, which can be something or a rarity this day and age. At Rogers Park, however, there is certainly a number of very unique people and places that create a different sort of charm.
A little gem worth checking out on the far north end of Rogers Park is a little cafe called Royal Coffee. The first thing worth mentioning about this place is the huge outdoor seating area they have. Now, this is just an estimate, but there seems to be 15 tables in an enclosed outdoor space that can contend the nicest beer gardens of the city. Also worth mentioning is that it is BYOB, a policy they're even very liberal on.
The décor is every bit as bohemian as the patrons. The walls are lined with various nicknacks from around the world. The windows provide great natural lighting, which illuminates the room to just the right degree and really brings together the complimentary colors of the red walls, wooden tables, and black and white checkered floor. Smooth jazz is always playing on the radio, and the leather sofas that line the wall are always sparsely filled with people reading, writing, or just taking advantage of the wifi. All these cliches add up to a relaxing atmosphere.
They have all the usual coffee house trappings at bargain prices. A most interesting face is that the place is operated by an Ethipian family, therefore opening up the menu selections to some very unique food items. Make it a point to try the Ethiopian bread-- a spongy wrap that tastes almost like sourdough, although mere words can't really do it justice. They also have wraps with chopped vegetables and your choice of meat, inclusive of lamb.
The service is never without a smile. Not only will they ask for your feedback on your selection, but it seems as though they are geniunely interested in your opinion. They are very accommodating and always open for a little chit chat.
This little quaint oasis hosts a variety of events throughout the week that are mostly music related. One of which is a three hour open mic held every Monday from 7-9pm. If you have a guitar, a decent voice, or some insightful revelations you wrote down while you were high, you should consider stealing a few minutes on the mic. However, if you're too shy, sit back and enjoy the performances as you guzzle down a reasonably priced cup of whatever in a great atmosphere.