This spacious, relaxed coffee shop and lounge on the second floor of the Reynolds Club, the student center at the University of Chicago, goes way beyond lattes and laptops. While the front resembles a fairly traditional cafe (a coffee bar behind half a dozen tables with chairs), the bulk of the space is occupied with foosball and pool tables, with the back offering comfy leather couches and televisions. You can do almost anything here and still blend in (except talk during the Simpsons, watched by the loyal fans each night, when Hallowed Ground (the former Uncle Joe's) sells soda for a slim 35 cents). No surprise that the crowd here is mainly students, though the pool tables are a big draw for neighborhood residents too young to play in 21+ venues.
Convenience isn't the only thing luring people to the food at Hallowed Ground. The coffee drinks are made on a traditional espresso machine, with a daily special for those tired of their standard cup of joe. There are more than enough candy and energy bars, but the box lunches are your best option for taste, with restaurants delivering daily. Whether it's a pita stuffed with cauliflower and hummus, a small sushi platter or pad thai, a meal here won't set you back much more than $5. Chicago Diner also delivers daily, with vegan boxed lunches and baked goods aplenty.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Kate Rockwood