Located at an odd, triangle-like intersection on Lee Street and Graceland Avenue in Des Plaines, Brew Lounge is very easy to miss for newcomers as it is hidden inside an old restaurant, Sahil Grill and Lounge. The signs remain those of the previous restaurant, with no intention of changing them to make Brew Lounge “known.” The specific details about this hidden coffee shop are only located on their website and online menu, which adds to its mystery.
Brew Lounge is an enclosed space with a low ceiling and limited windows, preventing natural light from shining in as it would in a typical coffee shop. Before the COVID-19 restrictions on indoor dining, the setting lived up to the “lounge” part in its name, with comfy couches, chairs, shelves of board games and a pool table.
It may not give off study vibes, but it is a great place to catch up with friends, and the enclosed area with warm artificial lighting is just right for introverts who want to dive into a good book with a cup of coffee on the side.
Ever since discovering the place in March, my friends and I have been regular customers, trying new drinks every time we go. The first drink I tried was The Maurice, a chai latte with Nutella, espresso and whipped cream, both hot and iced. It’s rich, flavorful and strong. While I strongly dislike the concept of a chai latte because of my South Asian cultural background, its blend with the Nutella, espresso and whipped cream completely changes the flavor to one more tasty and indulging. The hot version of the drink feels almost like hot chocolate, something one would drink cozied up by the fire as they ponder on each sip. The cold version gives a flavor rush on an exciting day. Because of this, I would recommend The Maurice for first-timers. If I am trying something new, I make sure to get The Maurice as well to make sure my trip isn’t wasted.
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The substance and flavor seem to be a trend with the drinks I’ve tried, including the turtle latte and the white mocha latte. This was important to me as most coffee places I’ve tried are usually watered down. Until I found Brew Lounge, Philz Coffee was the only place I enjoyed with their variety of unique flavors which couldn’t be found anywhere else. While Brew Lounge and Philz seem strikingly different to me in terms of their menu, they both share the concept of unique flavors and substance, allowing the consumer to savor each sip and crave seconds. Brew Lounge collaborates with Mutiny Coffee Co. and is part of the Third Wave Coffee movement, a consumer- and manufacturer-led movement producing and appreciating the consumption of high-quality coffee.
Aside from coffee-based drinks, they also sell boba, tea and a variety of matcha drinks. Personally, boba and tea were not my favorites, mainly because I’m very picky about boba flavors and quality and tend to prefer homemade tea. Despite this, I make the 20-minute drive to Des Plaines regularly because Brew Lounge has the best caffeinated drinks, and for the same price as a classic Starbucks. For example, a 16-ounce Maurice with oat milk costs around $6.
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Brew Lounge is located at 1062 Lee St. in Des Plaines. It opens at 11 a.m. every day of the week, closing at 10 p.m. on Sundays through Thursdays, and 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Header image by Bridget Killian