top of page
  • Writer's pictureLFaits

Caffeinate to Concentrate: 10 Places to Study for Boards

With the dust of the National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO) part I settling, and after taking a few weeks to recuperate, I can reflect on what I’ve learned- that is, both academically and also about where to caffeinate and concentrate in Chicago, IL. I’ve assembled a top 10 list of places I HIGHLY recommend to boost your energy, morale, and productivity. These are not listed in any particular order. Happy studying!

  1. Dollop Coffee Company – When you find yourself in need of a place where the lighting is just right, the cherry pie is flaky and scrumptious, and the ambience is that of productivity, look no further than Dollop Coffee Co. in the Streeterville area of Chicago. You will be amidst those looking to work as hard as you. Also, the Instagram capability is infinite.

  1. Goddess and the Baker – When you want to settle down to study in a place right in the heart of Chicago, look no further than this location. With a honey-wildflower latte in one hand and your highlighter in the other, be prepared to get a lot done (and don’t forget to order the avocado toast!)

  1. Lovely: a bake shop – When you’re in need of a cutesy place that’s just good for the soul, head over to Lovely. It’s never too crowded, but it’s always TOO CUTE. Try the blueberry muffin accompanied by Ipsento brewed coffee. You will not be disappointed!

  1. John T. Richardson Library – When you need to be productive, but the Internet is distracting you, take an Uber over to this library nestled in Lincoln Park (a part of DePaul’s campus.) This is truly one of my absolute favorite places to bring a coffee and put my phone/laptop/iPad away because there is no Internet if you are not a DePaul student. It will make you stay on task. (Also, if you get hungry, hop across the street to Branko’s Sandwich Shop for a Bacon Grilled Cheese!)

  1. The Bourgeois Pig – When you’re an intellectual and you want to be surrounded by other intellectuals, this little gem offers a quiet airy atmosphere. They open up full-length windows in the Summer to feel that ‘Summertime Chi’. Filled with dozens of books and a cozy fireplace, before taking NBEO part I, this place will give you all the feels.

  1. University of Chicago Library – When you’re looking for an ultra-sunny place with free Internet access, you cannot do better than this bubble of a library with sunlight filling every nook and cranny. You’ll be alongside other students striving for maximum productivity.

  1. Spinning J Bakery and Soda Fountain – When you’re looking to immerse yourself in somewhere a little more… unique, check out this pearl offering a wide variety of old-time treats from a Rosy Plum Phosphate to strawberry scones (to die for). You’ll be transported back in time!

  1. University of Chicago Harper Library – When you want to feel like you’re a wizard studying for a potions exam at Hogwarts, this is the place to be. It mixes contemporary and architectural aesthetics with rustic and castle-modeled nuances. It’s the perfect place to look over your charms and potions spells… or your KMK book!

  1. The Spoke & BirdWhen you’re an early morning studier and you want to kill two birds (pardon the pun) with one stone, or spoke in this case, you’ll find wide tables that are both ideal for spreading out your books and your French toast in bourbon syrup (because why not?)

  1. Intelligentsia Logan SquareWhen all you want is a good cup of coffee and place that is dependable and consistent EVERY TIME, Intelligentsia will not disappoint you if you’re looking for a quiet noise with that classic “coffee-shop vibe.”


bottom of page