Dark Matter Opens First Coffee Shop Downtown with Meddle


Dark Matter Coffee sees itself akin to a rock ’n’ roll band. They just release concept cafes instead of albums.

But don’t take this from me. Take this from the coffee wizards themselves.

And in the age of sudden album drops, Dark Matter stealthily opened a new cafe in the West Loop two weeks ago. The new Meddle Coffee Bar sits at the intersection of Jackson and Jefferson, just over from Union Station.

Like any growing band, Dark Matter has extended past its familiar territory — and in this case literally, since Meddle is their first location in the downtown area.

When stepping into Meddle, the deep, heavy scent of liquor might waft past you. But you’ll most likely first notice the different forest green patterns and Jason Brammer’s mural work that spills out of and erupts from the walls.


Even the floor’s washed out swirls of blue, purple, and yellow look like it could have been concocted by the classic design group Hipgnosis or by some merry prankster. Meddle is psychedelic and it brings a countercultural, bohemian vibe to a corporate side of town. The Dark Matter folks referred to Meddle as “the world’s first psychedelegance coffee shop.”

Like their other venues, Meddle features cold-brew coffee, a lot of iced-coffee options, barrel-aged coffee, and if you order a cup of something they’ve brewed, you get free refills (and they’ll offer to-go cups to further heighten our caffeine addictions).

The space itself fits a mighty handful of tables and cushioned benches, and at the same time Meddle doesn’t feel small.


Most coffee shops strive for the minimal, Scandinavian atmosphere. Dark Matter goes full-on maximal. In Kanye terms: other cafes emulate Yeezus while Dark Matter embraces My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. But regardless of the production value or glossy album cover, you’re here for the hits: their damn good coffee.

The hours here are shorter. And people visiting this cafe seem to spend less time than the other locations. Meddle’s a pitstop for sending a few emails during downtime and it’s a watering hole for catching up friends or coworkers after work.

Just like the Hemingway short story, Meddle is a clean, well-lighted place where you can finally a moment of chill downtown.

Photos courtesy of Dark Matter Coffee.


601 West Jackson Blvd, Chicago IL 60661


Mon – Fri 6:00am – 6:00pm

Saturday & Sunday 8:00am – 3:00pm

Colin S. Smith
Colin S. Smith

Colin Smith thinks that Chicago right now is the place to be for music. He works for Illinois Humanities, is a freelance writer, and plays psychedelic-pop songs with his band.