Sip Hot Chocolate in These 4 Historic Spots

Cozying up with a mug of hot chocolate is an absolute must in the midst of a long Chicago winter. So why not check out some fascinating historic architecture while tracking down that mug of bliss? Here are four places to enjoy excellent hot chocolate in fascinating historic spots. Cheers!

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L.A. Burdick Handmade Chocolates

Tree Studios Building Chicago River North hot chocolate historic spots
L.A. Burdick Handmade Chocolates, in the historic Tree Studios Building, is one of Chicago’s best historic spots for hot chocolate. Image via Wikimedia

The fine folks at L.A. Burdick Handmade Chocolates “expertly blend shavings of single-source chocolate into steaming milk for a truly rich cup.” Which sound delightful and I may just stop writing this post right now to go grab a cup.

Okay, now that I’m back, it was also lovely getting to visit the Tree Studio Building while sipping my hot chocolate. The Queen Anne-style building, which fronts North State, dates back to 1894. Judge Lambert Tree’s eponymous studio was a working and living space for European artists in Chicago. It still serves that purpose today, with artists living upstairs. Which is why you can sip delicious hot chocolate in this historic spot on the ground floor. You can also swing by for a stronger drink at Watershed after a custom private tour.

Revival Food Hall

Revival Food Hall Chicago Financial District
Revival Food Hall’s atmosphere and edible options make it a big favorite in Chicago’s Financial District. Photo by Alex Bean.

You can grab a mug of the good stuff at Mindy’s Hot Chocolate in Revival Food Hall before starting a Downtown Bucket List private tour, which begins next door in the Marquette seven days a week. Revival is one of the trendiest dining spots in the Loop, filled with hip restaurants and vendors. The name itself, pleasingly, is a nod to historic architecture.

Revival is in the old Commercial National Bank Building, designed by Daniel Burnham and Co. in 1907. It was their first skyscraper bank building, employing the signature tripartite design of Burnham’s Classical Revival look. (Hence, Revival Food Hall–get it?) Notably, the attached Corinthian columns along the second floor marked the banking floor’s location. This set the template for many other grand bank buildings along LaSalle Street.

Intelligentsia at the Monadnock

Monadnock Building Intelligentsia coffee hot cocoa
The Intelligentsia inside the Monadnock matches the historic building’s spirit. Photo courtesy of Intelligentsia Coffee.

The Intelligentsia in the Monadnock Building is the closest spot for hot chocolate in Chicago to our office. It’s also the spot closest to our hearts! (xoxo – please give us a discount now?) As with all their drinks, the hot chocolate at the Intelligentsia downstairs is a rich and complex delight.

Their space on the Jackson Boulevard frontage of our historic skyscraper is a wonderful throwback. Intelligentsia renovated the space in 2017 and made use of its historic location and details. They retained the original marble flooring and oak window frames, matching the Victorian vibe from the other ground-floor tenants. Look for other vintage touches like historic photos while sipping hot chocolate in this historic spot.


My favorite hot chocolate in a historic spot in Chicago is the Aztec “bean-to-cup” chocolate at Xoco. The chile and allspice give it a warm, spicy zing that is absolute perfection when there’s a chill in the air. Of course, one should expect any and everything at Xoco to be divine. Like its neighbors, Topolobampo and Frontera Grill, it’s one of famed chef Rick Bayless’s signature River North restaurants.

Sipping hot chocolate outside Xoco presents a priceless opportunity to drink in some historic architecture as well. Located at 449 North Clark, it’s right in the midst of one my favorite blocks in downtown Chicago. The area around Clark and Hubbard seems to have downtown’s largest collection of post-fire buildings. 449 itself was built in 1872 right after the fire, making it a glorious example of what the city looked like before the skyscraper age. Its bracketed cornices and rounded windows with incised hoods are textbook examples of the Victorian rage for architecture referencing Renaissance-era Italy.

Go Architecture Hunting!

In all honesty, this quest for hot chocolate in historic spots is just an excuse. We’re always trying to justify the impulse to wander around the city and admire its wonderful architecture. No matter the season or the reason, there’s always beautiful buildings to admire. If they happen to contain delicious drinks, well, all the better.

– Alex Bean, Content Manager and Tour Guide


Chicago Detours is a boutique tour company passionate about connecting people to places and each other through the power of storytelling. We bring curious people to explore, learn and interact with Chicago’s history, architecture and culture through in-person private group tourscontent production, and virtual tours.


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Private Tour Coordinator and Tour Guide

There is no shortage of things to discover in Chicago—I love being an urban explorer and uncovering its hidden places. I have an MA in Public History from Loyola University Chicago, and I have worked as a museum educator and kindergarten teacher. My desire to learn new things fuels my passion for educating others, which I get to experience every day as a Chicago tour guide. I live in the northern neighborhood of Rogers Park.

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Tour Guide

Whether you are a first-time visitor or a lifelong resident, the vibrant history and modern majesty of Chicago never ceases to amaze. I’m a graduate of Columbia College with an M.A. in Interdisciplinary Art. I’ve worked for many years as an educator at City Colleges of Chicago. As tour guide at Chicago Detours, I integrate my enthusiasm for culture and architecture with my passion as an educator. West Town/Noble Square area is home for me.

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Tour Guide

With our Chicago neighborhoods, vibrant cultural institutions and nearly two centuries of larger-than-life stories, there’s never a dull moment here! I’m a fifth generation Chicagoan and a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis. In addition to guiding tours, I’m a creative writer and amateur genealogist. I also enjoy the city’s dynamic theater scene. You can also read overlooked stories from 19th-century newspapers on my “Second Glance History” blog. I live in River North.


Tour Guide

Chicago is unique as it always evolves into the future while holding on to the past. I’m fascinated by how people latch on to old architecture but happily pave over others. My background is in theater and performance and I’ve been a tour guide here for more than 10 years. Currently I’m finishing my Master’s in Public History at Loyola University because I love to teach the history of this scrappy city. I’m in the Edgewater neighborhood.


Operations Coordinator and Tour Guide

Chicago’s history is so fascinating, you could spend a lifetime uncovering its secrets…I’m willing to give it a try! I have an M.A. in US History from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and then pursued doctoral studies in Urban History at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I love to learn new aspects of Chicago’s rich history and then share my knowledge as a tour guide with Chicago Detours. I live in Ravenswood.

“Marie was a bubbling fountain of information and contagious enthusiasm.”


Operations Coordinator and Tour Guide

As a fourth generation Chicagoan, I have been living and loving Chicago by bike, on foot, public transit or automobile. I am a graduate of UIC where through the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs, began my eagerness to understand the nature, history and impacts of urban planning and development. It is incredibly rewarding to give back to this wonderful city by helping out in the office of Chicago Detours. I live in the incredibly diverse neighborhood of Albany Park.
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Content Manager and Tour Guide

Chicago has so many neighborhoods, buildings, and by-ways that it’s hard to go long without seeing something new, or something familiar from a new angle. I studied Cinema History for my M.A. from the University of Chicago. I’ve worked as a culture writer for various publications and as an educator of the humanities at the City Colleges of Chicago. I’m thrilled to share my love of this city’s busy past and unique architectural spaces with Chicago Detours. I live in the Chicago neighborhood of Lincoln Park.

“Alex was fascinating to listen to. He clearly knows his history and it shows.”
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Amanda Scotese

Executive Director and Tour Guide

I’m an interpreter of personal stories from the past and the city’s landscape. I love to imagine what originally happened inside old unmarked buildings, and what forces have shaped their design. I studied Chicago history, architectural history, and anything Chicago-related through my M.A. in the Humanities at the University of Chicago. My love for stories was enriched by my B.A. in Literature from the University of Michigan. I’ve written travel articles for publications like Rick Steves’ Italy best-selling travel guides, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, and The Chicago Food Encyclopedia. I live in the Chicago neighborhood of West Avondale.
“You can TELL Amanda is hyper-passionate about doing the research and getting the story that nobody’s heard before.”
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