MilwaukeeCafesMKE Cafes

Edited by John December

This is my list of places in Milwaukee (city) where you can get coffee in an atmosphere that is similar to European-style sidewalk cafes, where you can get a coffee or drink and hang out, talk, write on a computer, or read. In past times, people would read newspapers (on paper--sometimes held together with long sticks! (like in Paris)) or write letters (on paper, before email) in cafes. The cafe offers sociable solitariness if you desire; or sociability on a variety of levels.

Many places in town serve coffee, of course, or have "cafe" in their name. You can always do a Yellow Pages search to find business with cafe in their name, but these don't necessarily have a casual, coffeehouse atmosphere.

Also, note that you can access free WiFi and computers for your use at branches of the Milwaukee Public Library.

Key to icons
Free HotspotFree Wireless Access. Use caution: I don't recommend ever accessing sites that contain your sensitive personal or financial information on a public WiFi network. If you access your email, make sure that you use the https protocol. I use a set of Surf Links for browsing Web sites on public WiFi networks. Also, be aware of your surroundings and keep your wallet, computer, and valuables right under your control--not where anyone can take them.
Internet Access Available Internet access computers available. These are gradually disappearing with the ubiquity of wireless access and devices. Use the Net Cafes information for public net access throughout the world.
Live MusicHas occasional live music
John's pickOne of my favorites
 
For a discussion of the cafe concept
The Great Good Place: Cafes, Coffee Shops, Bookstores, Bars, Hair Salons, and Other Hangouts at the Heart of a Community
by Ray Oldenburg
People like to have a place outside of their workplace and outside of their home where they can hang out and feel comfortable. For centuries, cafes have provided such a "third place."
item image
A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction
by Christopher Alexander, Sara Ishikawa, Murray Silverstein
See section 88, "Street Cafe," p. 437: "The street cafe provides a unique setting, special to cities: a place where people can sit lazily, legitimately, be on view, and watch the world go by. Encourage local cafes to spring up in each neighborhood. Make them intimate places, with several rooms, open to a busy path, where people can sit with coffee or a drink and watch the world go by. Build the front of the cafe so that a set of tables stretch out of the cafe, right into the street."
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If you see something missing or incorrect here, please send a correction.

Place in MKEComments
Free Hotspot Anodyne Coffee Roasting Bay View
2920 S Kinnickinnic Ave
Milwaukee, WI
(414)489-0765
www.anodynecoffee.com
click to see album photos
In Bay View; see photo album page available photo album page.
Free Hotspot *new* Anodyne Coffee Roasting Walker's Point
224 W Bruce St
Milwaukee, WI
(414)276-8081
www.anodynecoffee.com
Anodyne Coffee Roasting Walker's Point
Opened 2013; roastery coming soon.
Bella Caffe
189 N Milwaukee St
Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414)273-5620
www.bellacaffe.com
click to see album photos
Attractive off-Broadway corner coffeeshop in a brilliantly restored building the Historic Third Ward. Offers coffee as well as desserts, breakfast, and lunch. Nicely done interior, with big windows overlooking Chicago and Milwaukee Streets, comfortable armchairs, plenty of tables, all of which are a window seat. Some outside tables in good weather. Good place for dessert just before or after a performance at the nearby Broadway Theater; see photo album page available photo album page.
Internet Access Available Live Music Free Hotspot Bremen Cafe
901 E Clarke St
Milwaukee, WI 53212
(414)324-9596
www.bremencafe.com
click to see album photos
In Bohemian Riverwest, on the corner of Bremen and Clarke. Offers coffee and live music some nights. Internet-connected computers available; see photo album page available photo album page.
Brewed Cafe on Brady
1208 E Brady St
Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414)276-2739 Free Hotspot
www.brewedonbrady.com
click to see album photos
Great location on fascinating Brady St. Unique atmosphere and clientelle. You'll see people playing chess, sketching, writing. Great cafe au lait. Ceiling paintings. Outside seating right in front of store that gets the sun, so people sit outside as soon as it is warm enough. This location used to be called "Brewed Awakenings" for a long time and also Anodyne Coffee Roasting on Brady; see photo album page available photo album page.
Brewing Grounds for Change
2010 N Farwell Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414)BREW-77 Free Hotspot
Facebook
click to see album photos
Fair trade coffee. Outside tables in good weather; see photo album page available photo album page.
Bruegger's Free Hotspot
750 N Water St
Milwaukee WI 53202
(414)272-0202
www.brueggers.com
Bagels and coffee. Great bagels. Free Wi-Fi. This is a multi-state chain; I used to live near the first Bruegger's in Troy, New York.
City.Net Cafe Free Hotspot
306 E Wisconsin Ave
Milwaukee, WI
onsite roasting.
Coffee Makes You Black
2803 N Teutonia Ave
Milwaukee, WI
(414)562-5225
Coffee from Africa; onsite roasting.
Coffee with a Conscience
www.wwbic.com
Schlitz Business Center, 1555 River Center Drive, (414)276-4341
click to see album photos
In Schlitz Park.
Live Music The Coffee House
631 N 19th St
Milwaukee, WI 53233
(414)299-9598
www.the-coffee-house.com
Well-known for its activism and live music performances including folk and others, this is "a program of Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in cooperation with Lutheran Campus Ministry." Open limited hours for performances. Serving coffee, tea, soda, and baked goods.
Free Hotspot (free in AM only) Live Music
John's pick
**excellent--my pick for the best cafe in the world **
Colectivo at the Lake (Milwaukee River Flushing Station)
1701 N Lincoln Memorial Dr.
Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414)223-4551
www.colectivocoffee.com
www.mmsd.com
click to see album photos
A very popular cafe and educational center beautifully done, sharing its building and grounds space with displays of stormwater demonstration projects. A cooperative project of Colectivo Coffee (formerly Alterra Coffee), Milwaukee County, and the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District; see photo album page available photo album page.
Free Hotspot Colectivo on Prospect
2211 N Prospect Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414)273-3747
www.colectivocoffee.com
click to see album photos
Interesting ambiance; nice seating along the window with a view of Prospect Ave. In the heart of the east side. Popular outside patio and window seating with windows that open out into the street, well-serving the social display function of the cafe; see photo album page available photo album page.
Free Hotspot
John's pick Colectivo Bay View
2301 S Kinnickinnic Ave
Milwaukee, WI
(414)744-6117
www.colectivocoffee.com
click to see album photos
A two-story cafe at the Five Points intersection in Bay View; seating areas upstairs in a balcony, in a generously-sized seating area overlooking the baking area, outside on the shady north side, in the sunny west side outdoors, and a room which has walls that open up on two sides for the breeze; bicycle parking; Free hotspot available; see photo album page available photo album page.
Free Hotspot
Colectivo Foundry
170 S 1st St
Milwaukee, WI
(414)765-9873
www.colectivocoffee.com
click to see album photos
In the Fifth Ward area just south of the Historic Third Ward, just south of the Water Street Bridge over the Milwaukee River. Colectivo coffee served in a restored foundry building (Kramer International). Outside patio. Free hotspot available in AM; see photo album page available photo album page.
Free Hotspot Colectivo Humboldt
2999 N Humboldt Blvd
Milwaukee, WI 53212
(414)292-3320
www.colectivocoffee.com
click to see album photos
In the Riverwest area across from Pumping Station Park (baseball field), just north of the Locust/Humboldt intersection; see photo album page available photo album page.
*new* Colectivo Third Ward
225 E St Paul Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414)220-8330
www.colectivocoffee.com
mke-2014-05-25 113 A
In Milwaukee's Third Ward. This cafe makes the most of its small space with sidewalk tables and lift-up doors to the sidewalk.
Free Hotspot Dryhootch.org
1030 E Brady St
Milwaukee WI 53202
(414)763-2785
dryhootch.org
mke-2010-10-12 051.JPG
This is a place for veterans to reconnect and provides many veterans services, but its coffee house with its outdoor seating along Brady Street is open to the public. Capuccinos, lattes, hot tea, soda, and chai, croissants, bagels, muffins, sandwiches, pastries, free Wi-Fi. 20% veteran's discount.
Einstein Bagels
544 E Ogden Ave
Milwaukee WI 53202
(414)276-9888
Plus Various locations
1(800)BAGEL-ME
www.einsteinbros.com
Bagels, good coffee, and food at these outlets throughout Milwaukee. National chain. Outdoor tables at some locations in nice weather.
Free Hotspot Fuel Cafe
818 E Center St
Milwaukee, WI 53212
(414)374-3835
www.fuelcafe.com
click to see album photos
Great chili, coffee. Located in the Bohemian Riverwest area. Outside seating in good weather; see photo album page available photo album page.
Live Music Free Hotspot Grace Place Coffee
250 E Juneau Ave
Milwaukee WI 53202
(414)271-3006
gracedowntown.org/graceplace
Grace Lutheran Church
At the historic Grace Lutheran Church downtown, this coffee shop is on the main floor of the Grace Center (entry on Juneau Avenue). Serves a variety of Stone Creek coffees, espresso drinks, teas and pastries. Free WiFi is available; see photo album page available photo album page.
Free Hotspot Glorioso's
1101 E Brady St
Milwaukee WI 53202
(414)272-0540
www.gloriosositalianmarket.com
mke-2010-12-03 092.JPG
This neighborhood Italian grocery store offers speciality groceries, deli items to go, and Colectivo coffee. At the left of the entrance is a snack bar area where you can have a seat, coffee, or something from the deli. They say they offer calzone--but I've never been able to get one, as they apparently run out immediately on opening. No calzone for you! Inside the former Brady Street Pharmacy see photo album page available photo album page.
Free Hotspot Hi-Fi Cafe
2640 S Kinnickinnic Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53207
(414)486-0504
www.hificafe.com
Hi Fi Cafe
Great location in the heart of Bay View. Unique wedge-shaped building; see photo album page available photo album page.
Free Hotspot Metro Market Cafe
1123 N Van Buren St
Milwaukee WI 53202
www.metromarket.net
click to see album photos
Inside the Metro Market Pick N Save grocery store, there is a little cafe/restaurant. It has a big screen tv. Serves a variety of food as well as coffee. Free Wi-Fi; see photo album page available photo album page.
Free Hotspot in Library Milwaukee Public Library Central
East Wing of Milwaukee Public Library
814 W Wisconsin Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53233
www.mpl.org
www.rcafeonline.com
click to see album photos
Coffee and used books in the beautiful Milwaukee Public Library central building. Hotspot available throughout Milwaukee Public Library building. The coffee shop is to the right as you enter the Wisconsin Avenue entrance. It has gone by different names--currently called "R Cafe;" Former names have included "M Cafe (Mocais Cafe)," "Perk & Peruse," "No More Z's Cafe," "Coffee with a Conscience"; see photo album page available photo album page.
Free Hotspot Milwaukee Public Market
400 N Water St
Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414)336-1111
www.milwaukeepublicmarket.org
click to see album photos
The Milwaukee Public Market building has a balcony upstairs with tables and outside seating in good weather. A vendor at the market, Cederburg Coffee Roastery, opens early. There are many other vendors at the public market and activities like cooking classes or wine tastings. Free Wi-Fi at the market; see photo album page available photo album page.
Outpost Natural Foods
2826 S Kinnickinnic Ave
Milwaukee WI 53207
(414)755-3202
Plus other Locations at Capitol Drive and Tosa
outpost.coop
Natural Foods Coop has cafe inside store. Outside seating in good weather.
Free Hotspot Panera
600 E Ogden Ave
Milwaukee WI 53202
Plus other Locations
www.panera.com
click to see album photos
Specializes in bread, but has great coffee. Outside seating in good weather; see photo album page available photo album page.
Free Hotspot Roast Inc.
2132 E Locust St
Milwaukee, WI 53211
(414)963-6363 www.roastcoffeecompany.com
click to see album photos
East Side coffee shop, just south of UW-Milwaukee campus at Maryland and Locust; see photo album page available photo album page.
Free Hotspot Live Music Rochambo Coffee & Tea House
1317 E Brady St
Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414)291-0095
www.rochambo.com
click to see album photos
Colorful, ornamented building. Speciality teas, poetry, live music. Outside seating in good weather; see photo album page available photo album page.
Live Music Sherman Perk
4924 W Roosevelt Dr.
Milwaukee, WI 53216
(414)875-7375 (PERK)
shermanperkcoffeeshop.com
click to see album photos
The building, a former gas station refurbished to serve java, won a Mayor's Design Award. Live Poet's Society the 1st Friday of every month. Fully handicapped accessible. Located in the Sherman Park area of Milwaukee; see photo album page available photo album page.
Starbucks
Various locations
Marquette University, Hilton City Center, Red Arrow Park, Third Ward, East Pointe, Brady Street, Downer Avenue
www.starbucks.com
click to see album photos
Although some say that their coffee is an acquired taste, I really have come to like mellower taste of the Caffè Misto. The Starbucks at Brady Street and Farwell Street has an interesting street view out its window. Red Arrow park has skating in the winter; see photo album page available photo album page.
Free Hotspot Stone Creek Bay View
2266 S Kinnickinnic Ave
Milwaukee WI 53207
(414)481-4215
www.stonecreekcoffee.com
Stone Creek coffee cafe with outdoor seating in good weather at the Five Points area of Bay View.
Free Hotspot Stone Creek Factory Store
422 N 5th St
Milwaukee WI 53203
(414)270-1008
www.stonecreekcoffee.com
Stone Creek Coffee Factory Store
Stone Creek coffee headquartered and brewed at this cafe, coffee roastery, and kitchen. The building was constructed 1888 to 1889 and designed by Daniel Burnham and John Root of the "Chicago School" of architecture. There is also a coffee stand inside the Shops of Grand Avenue.
Free Hotspot Stone Creek Walker's Point *new* Live Music
158 S Barclay St
Milwaukee WI 53204
www.stonecreekcoffee.com
Stone Creek Coffee Walker's Point
This cafe offers 100% manual brew bar--every cup is made to order. Espresso program. Stone Creek Kitchen food. Located with Radio Milwaukee performance space for live studio broadcast.
Free Hotspot Subway Cafe
710 N Plankinton Ave
Milwaukee WI 53203
(414)212-8495
www.subway.com
Subway Cafe by John December
Serving Alterra coffee, this location provides the sandwiches and other foods of the Subway chain. Located in the former Mo's Mocha space right next to the Riverside Theater entrance, this place retains the fireplace and comfy chairs from Mo's. Enter at the doors marked "124" (West Wisconsin Avenue). The official address of the place, 710 N Plankinton, is the Empire Building entrance. If you go into that door, turn to the right once in the lobby. For up to 2 hours of free WiFi with your purchase, ask for the WiFi code card when ordering.
Internet Access Available Free Hotspot Sven's Cafe
2699 S Kinnickinnic Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53207
(414)483-2233
www.svenscoffee.com
click to see album photos
In Bay View. A former gas station; fireplace. Outside seating in good weather; see photo album page available photo album page.
Free Hotspot Whole Foods Market
2305 N Prospect Avenue
Milwaukee WI 53211
(414)223-1500
www.wholefoodsmarket.com
click to see album photos
Inside this upscale grocery store (nicknamed "Whole Paycheck"), there is a seating area with tables and a counter at the window looking out onto North Avenue and Prospect Avenue. The store offers coffee, tea, and many made-to-order items. Free Wi-Fi; see photo album page available photo album page.

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