Is it a bank or is it a cafe? That's the question, but the answer is both. The ING Cafe—at the ING bank—serves coffee and tea as well as pastries ($1.50) and lunch items ($6-$7) to both bank customers and the general public. In fact, all baristas are actually bankers themselves, just as likely to sell you on their low interest rates as they are to sell you a Jasmine green tea. Visually, ING is the bank-and-cafe equivalent of a super sleek Nike shoe from the mid-1990s, one that's colored a bright orange (inside and out) with hardwood floors and blue neon lights. Inside, the colors are offset by the tan from the hardwood and the grays all around, particularly on the ceiling.
ING is clearly about serving the customer down to the last detail, because, in addition to the coffee bar, they also have countless hi-def TVs constantly playing either CNN or CNBC, back-to-back computers on-hand for their bank members, wi-fi, a lounge area and the latest newspapers and magazines all over the walls and tables. "We're not like other banks," says the banker/barista behind the counter. "We like to put a smile on the customer's face." When asked if ING was the only bank in Chicago to have its own cafe, he said, "Pretty much the whole world, as far as I know." What next, a bank with laser tag?
Cross your fingers.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Benjamin Andrew Moore