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 those. Here, I'm listing only those places that have a casual, coffeehouse atmosphere--where you are not hustled out after drinking or eating, and people hang out comfortably.

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

send corrections and suggestions via email If you see something missing or incorrect here, please send a correction.

Icons used in listings
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 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."
Alderaan Coffee
1560 N Water St
Milwaukee WI
(414)395-9955
alderaancoffee.com
Free Hotspot
Alderaan Coffee
Located in the flatiron (resembles a wedge-shaped iron heated to smooth clothes) building near the North End. This cafe rotates through roasters from all over the US. For example, currently serving: Anodyne Coffee (Milwaukee WI); Kickapoo Coffee Roasters (Viroqua WI); Brooklyn Roasting Company (Brooklyn NY).
Anodyne Coffee Roasting Bay View
2920 S Kinnickinnic Ave
Milwaukee, WI
(414)489-0765
anodynecoffee.com
Free Hotspot
click to see album photos
In Bay View; see photo album page available photo album page.
Anodyne Coffee Roasting Walker's Point
224 W Bruce St
Milwaukee, WI
(414)276-8081
anodynecoffee.com
Free Hotspot Live Music
Anodyne Coffee Roasting Walker's Point
Coffee shop and roastery.
Bella Caffe
189 N Milwaukee St
Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414)273-5620
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, views out the windows. 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.
Bremen Cafe
901 E Clarke St
Milwaukee, WI 53212
(414)324-9596
bremencafe.com
Free Hotspot Internet Access Available Live Music
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
brewedonbrady.com
Free Hotspot
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 availablephoto album page.
Brewing Grounds for Change
2010 N Farwell Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414)BREW-77
Facebook
Free Hotspot
click to see album photos
Be sure to call ahead to see if they are open. Fair trade coffee. Outside tables in good weather; see photo album page available photo album page.
City.Net Cafe
306 E Wisconsin Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414)336-1723
citynetjazz.com
Live MusicFree Hotspot
onsite roasting.
Coffee Makes You Black
2803 N Teutonia Ave
Milwaukee, WI
(414)562-5225
Facebook
Coffee from Africa; onsite roasting.
Coffee with a Conscience
Schlitz Business Center
1555 River Center Drive
Milwaukee, WI
53212
(414)659-5365
coffeewithaconscience.net
click to see album photos
In Schlitz Park.
The Coffee House
631 N 19th St
Milwaukee, WI 53233
(414)299-9598
the-coffee-house.com
Live Music
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.
Colectivo at the Lake (Milwaukee River Flushing Station)
1701 N Lincoln Memorial Dr.
Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414)223-4551
colectivocoffee.com
mmsd.com
Free Hotspot Live Music John's pick
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.
Colectivo on Prospect
2211 N Prospect Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414)273-3747
colectivocoffee.com
Live Music Free Hotspot
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.
Colectivo Bay View
2301 S Kinnickinnic Ave
Milwaukee, WI
(414)744-6117
colectivocoffee.com
Live Music Free Hotspot John's pick
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.
Colectivo Foundry
170 S 1st St
Milwaukee, WI
(414)765-9873
colectivocoffee.com
Free Hotspot
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.
Colectivo Humboldt
2999 N Humboldt Blvd
Milwaukee, WI 53212
(414)292-3320
colectivocoffee.com
Free Hotspot Live Music
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.
Colectivo Third Ward
225 E St Paul Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414)220-8330
colectivocoffee.com
Free Hotspot
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.
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
einsteinbros.com
Bagels, good coffee, and food at these outlets throughout Milwaukee. National chain. Outdoor tables at some locations in nice weather.
Fresh Thyme Farmer's Market Cuppa' Joe Coffee House
470 E Pleasant St
Milwaukee WI 53202
(414)290-3999
freshthyme.com
Free Hotspot
The North End: Fresh Thyme Market (Upstairs=apartments; Downstairs=grocery store)
Inside the Fresh Thyme grocery store is a little cafe where you can have coffee, use free WiFi, or eat items purchased from the store Deli.
Fuel Cafe Riverwest
818 E Center St
Milwaukee, WI 53212
(414)374-3835
fuelcafe.com
Free Hotspot
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.
Fuel Cafe Walker's Point
630 S 5th St
Milwaukee, WI
414-847-9580
fuelcafe.com
In Walker's Point.
Grace Place Coffee
250 E Juneau Ave
Milwaukee WI 53202
(414)271-3006
gracedowntown.org
Live Music Free Hotspot
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.
Hawthorne Coffee Roasters
4177 S Howell Ave
Milwaukee WI 53207
(414)939-6403
www.hawthorne coffeeroasters.com
Free Hotspot
Hawthorne Coffee Roasters
On Milwaukee's South Side, this cafe also serves BBQ. Open during morning hours. Serves pourover coffee, cold brewed, espresso, Rishi Teas.
Hi-Fi Cafe
2640 S Kinnickinnic Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53207
(414)486-0504
hificafe.com

Free Hotspot
Hi Fi Cafe
Great location in the heart of Bay View. Unique wedge-shaped building; see photo album page available photo album page.
Kickapoo Coffee Roasters
232 E Erie St
Milwaukee WI 53202
(414)269-8546
kickapoocoffee.com
Free Hotspot John's pick
Kickapoo Coffee Roasters in Milwaukee's Third Ward
Located in the Historic Third Ward, at ground level in the buildings of the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design dorms.
Metro Market Cafe
1123 N Van Buren St
Milwaukee WI 53202
metromarket.net
Free Hotspot
click to see album photos
Inside the Metro Market 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.
Milwaukee Art Museum
700 N Art Museum Drive
Milwaukee WI 53202
(414)224-3200
mam.org
Free Hotspot
Along the Lakefront; click to see album photos
There are two informal (self-serve) cafes in the Milwaukee Art Museum where you can get a cup of coffee and sit at a table. Most useful for people walking along the lakefront is the East End Wine Bar, located in the northeast corner of the new East End addition. Enter by the doors at the northeast corner of the museum on the lake. Windhover Coffee is located in the southeast corner of Windhover Hall and is in the stunning Calatrava addition. See http://mam.org/visit/cafe-dining.php for menus; also see photo album page available photo album page.
Milwaukee Public Library Central
East Wing of Milwaukee Public Library
814 W Wisconsin Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53233
mpl.org
rcafeonline.com
Free Hotspot in Library
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--"R Cafe" or "M Cafe (Mocais Cafe)," "Perk & Peruse," "No More Z's Cafe," "Coffee with a Conscience"; see photo album page available photo album page.
Milwaukee Public Market
400 N Water St
Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414)336-1111
milwaukee publicmarket.org
Free Hotspot
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, Anodyne Coffee Roasting Company, 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
100 E Capitol Drive
Milwaukee WI 53212
outpost.coop
Natural Foods Coop has a cafe inside store. Outside seating in good weather.
Panera
600 E Ogden Ave
Milwaukee WI 53202
Plus other Locations
panera.com
Free Hotspot
click to see album photos
Specializes in bread, but has coffee. Outside seating in good weather; see photo album page available photo album page.
Pleasant Kafe
1600 N Jackson St
Milwaukee WI 53202
(414)364-8128
pleasantkafe.com
Pleasant Kafe
Coffee, restaurant, wine bar.
Roast Inc.
2132 E Locust St
Milwaukee, WI 53211
(414)963-6363
roastcoffee company.com
Free Hotspot
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.
Rochambo Coffee & Tea House
1317 E Brady St
Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414)291-0095
rochambo.com
Free Hotspot Live Music
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.
Sherman Perk
4924 W Roosevelt Dr.
Milwaukee, WI 53216
(414)875-7375 (PERK)
shermanperk coffeeshop.com
Live Music
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.
600 EAST Cafe
600 E Wisconsin Ave
Milwaukee WI 53202
(414)224-6594
600eastcafe.com
600 East Cafe
Despite the outside appearance of this cafe with its windows blacked out air-raid style, there is a lively, wonderful cafe inside that is open during daytime business hours. Locally sourced menu items, coffee blends, breads and bakery, meats, and cheeses.
Sprocket Cafe *new*
3385 S Kinnickinnic Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53207
(414)539-4040
sprocketcafe.weebly.com
Sprocket Cafe
In Bay View, near Morgan Park.
Starbucks
Various locations: Marquette University, Hilton City Center, Red Arrow Park, Third Ward, East Pointe, Brady Street, Downer Avenue
starbucks.com
Free Hotspot
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.
Stone Creek Bay View
2266 S Kinnickinnic Ave
Milwaukee WI 53207
(414)481-4215
stonecreek coffee.com
Free Hotspot
Stone Creek coffee cafe with outdoor seating in good weather at the Five Points area of Bay View.
Stone Creek Factory Store
422 N 5th St
Milwaukee WI 53203
(414)270-1008
stonecreek coffee.com
Free Hotspot
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.
Stone Creek Walker's Point
158 S Barclay St
Milwaukee WI 53204
stonecreek coffee.com
Live Music Free Hotspot
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.
Subway Cafe
710 N Plankinton Ave
Milwaukee WI 53203
(414)212-8495
subway.com
Free Hotspot
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.
Sven's Cafe
2699 S Kinnickinnic Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53207
(414)483-2233
svenscoffee.com
Internet Access Available Free Hotspot
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.
Troop Cafe
3430 W Wisconsin Avenue
Milwaukee WI 53208
(414)763-7490
www.troopcafemke.com
Open to the public. Have coffee, enjoy food, and know that your patronage supports food service and hospitality training to United States Veterans. Located on 35th and Wisconsin Ave in Milwaukee WI at Veterans Manor. Breakfasts and lunches to the general public Monday through Friday, 6:30 am until 3:00 pm.
Valentine Coffee Co
5918 W Vilet St
Milwaukee WI
(414)988-8018
valentinecoffeeco.com
Free Hotspot
A tasting room and roastery.
Whole Foods Market
2305 N Prospect Avenue
Milwaukee WI 53211
(414)223-1500
wholefoodsmarket.com
Free Hotspot
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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