Pregame Coffee Opens in Clifton

A Clifton neighborhood building that was legendarily known for Jerry Lotz’s quirky collection has completed its transformation, getting a new life as Pregame Coffee, which opened for business Monday, Aug. 1.

While the exterior of the old two-story building, with its wrought-iron fencing and blend of arched and stained glass windows retains most of its original charm, the interior has been turned into a sleek coffeehouse, with seating, TV screens, exposed brick in spots, hardwood floors and a sports theme that blends local with Chicago. (Owner Rob Arnold admits to being a Chicago sports fan.)

After Arnold closed his previous location in NuLu in January, he spent the next six or so months not only getting the new location, at 1737 Frankfort Ave., ready, but also learning to roast his own beans. A coffee roaster overlooks the main floor of the coffee shop.

All the wood in the place is repurposed from the previous residence, Arnold said: “We tried to keep some of the allure of the previous building,” he said. (Lotz died in 2019, his collection auctioned and the building acquired by the real estate firm Zyyo.)

The second floor of the space isn’t yet open, but when it does open, it will offer event/meeting space and a theater lounge with a huge flatscreen.

In addition to traditional coffee options from espresso to cold brew ...Read more