Coming to Chicago? Love Skateboarding? Don't miss Chicago's own Citizen Skate Cafe- right by the Wilson Skate Park!
When I was assigned to cover the Chicago skateboarding scene for Go Skateboarding Day I was elated. I have always been interested in the skateboarding culture, but growing up in a suburb of Orlando, Florida, the skate scene I encountered was pretty limited. Thankfully, my interest and fondness for a culture that is all about having fun, practicing and growing your skills, as well as hanging out with your friends shredding, has been rekindled!
As soon as I found out about GoSkateboardingDay.com I approached my friends Rich and James for help! They run an awesome skate and coffee shop right near Wilson Skate Park in Uptown called Citizen Skate Café. When you meet them, you’re not surprised to learn that Rich and James have been skateboarding a greater part of their lives, so they’re a great resource if you need help picking out the right trucks or wheels for your board. What might surprise you is that they’re trained Baristas and proud of it! Rich helped me get hyped by making me his new favorite drink, The Vader, which consists of two shots espresso, a pump of vanilla and some Coca Cola Classic. Sounds weird, but it was amazing!
When I sat down to talk to Rich and James about Citizen Skate Café, I was stoked to learn that they only purchase direct trade coffee and, as often as they can, they support coffee growers who also run an orphanage with portions of the shop’s proceeds going to help their orphanage. They also have their beans roasted locally in Chicago. I was impressed about the socially conscious choices they made for the coffees they offer.
Citizen Skate Café is very active in Chicago’s skate scene, naturally. They recently co-hosted a game of skate at the Chrome Store in Wicker Park along side Uprise, Chicago’s longest standing skate shop, and have activities planned for Go Skateboarding Day which is June 21st!
The boys came out in front of the skate shop and did some tricks for me. Some folks passing by joined as an onlookers, an older gentleman was even rooting for them to land their tricks! It was incredible to watch them land trick after trick seamlessly. The skate shop is just a few blocks away from the city built skate park, Wilson Skate Park. The park has pools, rails, curves and dips for skateboarders, BMX riders and rollerbladers to escape death with their tricks on.
Skateboarding has been a significant part of both Rich and James lives. They wouldn’t be who they are today without it. James gave up hockey as a teen, a sport he shared common interest with his father and that he’d participated in most of his life, to be able to spend his free time skateboarding. Rich found a lot of community in the punk/skate scene in Texas where he’s from. His first job was at a skate shop/skate park/venue and he hasn’t looked back since. He incurred a skate related injury and had to relearn how to walk and within 6 months he was back on his board. That’s dedication! When you hear these kinds of stories and see the hard work they put into their storefront and coffee shop you can see that skateboarding is more than a way to waste time, it’s a lifestyle that brings people together. There is such an awesome sense of community in the skate scene that I hope to keep uncovering and sharing with you!