It's hard to imagine the beautifully wooden space and spectacularly detailed coffee bar was once an empty, lifeless room. To the right of the coffee bar a red curtain drapes, blocking the doorway to the famous California Clipper bar (Hence "C.C.").
Before, they didn't know what would become of the back space that sat behind the bar. But restaurantuer Brendan Sodikoff, who you may know from Av Cheval and Gilt Bar, decided a coffee shop was in need.
The "Ferns" derives from old American slang for a bar that catered to the up scaled women of the 70's, according to DNAinfo.com. Cocktails of more plant like and fruit concoctions were made like the lemon drop and frozen daiquiris.
So, it only makes sense that the coffee bar also serves coffee spirits or "boozy steamers" in addition to the staple coffee menu.
I was instantly inchanted with the place the moment I walked in. The ceiling was incredible, their were wide circular tables with couches that made you feel like home. And to the right sat a beautiful antique glass case win a wide selection of cigars. Two inviting leather chairs faced each other as if Charles Dickens and Mark Twain were about to take a seat in a literary discussion.
But when the barista uttered the words "La Colombe coffee" I was whole-heartedly sold.
La Colombe was one of my first Chicago coffee experiences and I still consider it my favorite Windy City pour.
Learning this delicious fact, I got really excited because this meant I could experiment in my decision making. I already trusted the coffee.
So I obviously had to try a "boozy steamers" - which happen to be seven dollars. I sighed as I handed over the cash and told myself it's like ordering a cocktail.
The barista carefully poured me the Cuban Latte. The size was more on the espresso macchiato side than a latte, so I just hoped it'd be small, tasty & potent.
It was all those things and more. The caramel is a home made salt caramel and it's topped off with little fluffy clumps of cinnamon.
My first couple sips were of sweetness and warm aromas. It wasn't until I was in the home stretch I realized - I hit the rum.
I tossed the rest to the back of my throat and set down the glass with disappointment - disappointment in the fact that my sweet, Cuban experience was over.
But thankfully there was still and iced caramel latte to try. It was made with the same caramel and I kid you not, was the best iced caramel anything I've ever had. And perhaps the barista took pity on me, but that one was on the house. This arguably could have played a role in my taste buds.
If you're near Humboldt Park, Chicago - I'll let you be the judge.
The Coffee Nomad