I recently had the pleasure of stopping into Nitecap Coffee Bar, a new spot in Pilsen serving Metropolis coffee just steps off of the 18th St. Pink Line.
Aaron Marsh, the owner, was able to take some time out from the kitchen to give me the low-down on this new community spot. Nitecap doesn’t just have great coffee in common with Metropolis; we share the values of providing a welcoming space for community building, offering quality food to compliment coffee, and a commitment to doing these things in a sustainable way.
Nitecap just soft-opened in March, offering coffee, espresso, in-house baked goods and sandwiches, and vegan options. They’ve welcomed community events from poetry slams to full-moon drum circles in the space. Being a gathering place for Pilsen residents is important to Aaron, who, himself, is a neighborhood guy.
He found himself often traveling up to Wicker Park and Bucktown search of good, locally-roasted coffee. When the opportunity to take over the 18th St. space and open a place in his own beloved neighborhood, he jumped on it, and so Nitecap Coffee Bar came into being.
The interior of the coffee bar is inviting, with ample seating, free wifi, and whimsical murals on the wall inspired by Maurice Sendak and the vintage comic strip Little Nemo in Slumberland. Candies you’ll remember from childhood accompany the specialty drinks. Nitecap seeks to create an environment
evoking the whimsy of cartoons. They’ve definitely succeeded.
The pastry case is a sight to see. Delectable cupcakes are delivered from neighboring Skinnie Piggy (www.skinniepiggy.com), but almost everything else is made on-site, including the house chocolate and all the flavored syrups at the espresso bar. Vegans can rejoice that about a third of the sandwich menu and many of the sides are vegan-friendly!
Aaron’s got big plans for the future. He’d like to expand the food offerings to eventually include brunch. There are also plans to keep Nitecap open later hours and host more evening events. There is already a monthly poetry night sponsored by a woman from the community; Aaron would like to see even more guest artists and an open night for music in the space (consequently, if you’re interested him being involved organizing the open mic night, get in touch with him!). Nitecap is working toward green certification due to a commitment to sustainability. They’re already using fully bio-degradable, plant-based cleaning solutions and energy efficient lighting. That’s good not just for the neighborhood, but the whole planet.
Nitecap Coffee Bar is planning its grand opening for sometime in the near future, or just stop by next time you’re in Pilsen– they’re about good things over there!