Grounds of Being is the Divinity School's student-run coffee shop and is a part of the Divinity Students Association. All proceeds from the shop go back to the Divinity School students, aiding with club reimbursement, conference planning, travel grants, or the "Swift Cares Fund". Located on the basement level of Swift Hall, Grounds of Being has been a daily destination of students, faculty, and staff from across the broader University of Chicago campus community since 1962. Talented student baristas caffeinate and hydrate the coffee shop's patrons with drip coffee and specialty drinks. Teas and assorted cold drinks are available as well.
Visit the coffee shop in the morning for a coffee and a breakfast pastry, or come for lunch and pick up a hot or cold entree from one of the many local vendors who daily refresh a broad menu, which includes a variety of vegetarian and vegan options. Come anytime for snacks, good conversation, and outstanding service.
The coffee shop is cash only—so plan accordingly!
Grounds of Being is proud to provide service to the University of Chicago community. We require 48 hours lead time for all full-service catering orders, no exceptions. Quick Order catering may be placed with 30 minutes before the pick up time. Certain orders may be declined for logistical reasons (i.e., orders not on campus, orders that conflict with already-scheduled orders). Please contact us at with any questions or to receive catering forms.
For $5 per academic year, you can join Grounds of Being's coffee club, which entitles members to a chalked space on the mug rack overhanging the prep area and registers. When you come for coffee or tea, grab your mug and enjoy hot drinks for the posted price of the smallest size. When you have finished your drink, you can return your mug for washing. You also receive a free drip coffee—or $1 off a specialty drink—per month. Bring or buy a mug, and see a coffee shop employee to register.
The Mural and other Art
The mural on display in Grounds of Being is original artwork by alumna Rita Biagioli (AM'11). She writes: "It features prominent religious scholars, historical figures, and iconography/architecture in an attempt to capture the wide-reaching dialogues engaged in at the Div School and promoted by the coffee shop's atmosphere."
Other art in the coffee shop was contributed by professors and students, to reflect the diversity of study here at the Divinity School. Buddhist texts, Mormon Church Leaders, and gods of all varieties can be found looking over the shop.
Though the delights of an expertly balanced chai latté are reason enough to reward Grounds of Being's hard-working baristas for their labors, you can use your tips to vote for the day's matchup in the ever-changing Battle of the Gods tournament, which decides matters of local and cosmic supremacy. View the current constitution of the arena on the blackboard behind the hot case, and use the labeled tip jars on the counter to register your support. Don't see your champion on the jars? Pave the way for future victory by backing the least viable contender. Or just give your tip to one of the friendly folks behind the counter.
Grounds of Being Merchandise
A "Hail Mary"—the coffee shop's version of the classic red eye—tastes best when sipped from the aesthetically pleasing confines of a Grounds of Being logo mug, or when wearing an official shop t-shirt. T-shirts and mugs are available in a range of colors and styles and make great gifts for all occasions. Prices are as follows:
Espresso Mugs — $4
Coffee Mugs — $6-8 (depending on size)
Water Bottles — $8
T-shirts — $12