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.
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.
If you see something missing or incorrect here, please send a correction.
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."
||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."
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 Walker's Point
Coffee shop and roastery.
Arts @ Large Cafe
Inside the Community Center of the Arts @ Large which supports art in communities.
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
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
Brewed Cafe on Brady
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
Canary Coffee Bar
Caribou Coffee/Einstein Bagels
Bagels, coffee, and food at these outlets throughout Milwaukee. National chain. Outdoor tables at some locations in nice weather.
Brewing Grounds for Change
2010 N Farwell Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53202
Be sure to call ahead to see if they are open. Fair trade coffee. Outside tables in good weather; see photo album page
Coffee Makes You Black
2803 N Teutonia Ave
Coffee from Africa; onsite roasting.
Coffee with a Conscience
In Schlitz Park.
The Coffee House
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 on Prospect
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
Colectivo Bay View
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
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
In the Riverwest area across from Pumping Station Park (baseball field), just north of the Locust/Humboldt intersection; see photo album page
Colectivo Third Ward
In Milwaukee's Third Ward. This cafe makes the most of its small space with sidewalk tables and lift-up doors to the sidewalk.
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.
A multi-roaster cafe. In the Advantage on the Park apartments. Food, tea (Rishi), and a variety of rotating coffee roasts such as Colectivo coffee, Stumptown, Metropolis, Spyhouse, Halfwit, Frothy Monkey, and many others.
Fresh Thyme Farmer's Market Cuppa' Joe Coffee House
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
Great chili, coffee. Located in the Bohemian Riverwest area. Outside seating in good weather; see photo album page
Fuel Cafe Walker's Point
In Walker's Point.
Full of Beans Cafe
184 S 2nd St|
Milwaukee, WI 53204
In Walker's Point.
Grace Place Coffee
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
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.
2640 S Kinnickinnic Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53207
Great location in the heart of Bay View. Unique wedge-shaped building; see photo album page
Kickapoo Coffee Roasters
Located in the Historic Third Ward, at ground level in the buildings of the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design dorms.
7600 W Capitol Drive
Milwaukee WI 53222
Metro Market Cafe
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
Milwaukee Art Museum
700 N Art Museum Drive
Milwaukee WI 53202
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 https://mam.org/visit/cafe-dining.php
for menus; also see photo album page
Milwaukee Public Library Central
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
Milwaukee Public Market
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
Outpost Natural Foods
2826 S Kinnickinnic Ave
Milwaukee WI 53207
100 E Capitol Drive
Milwaukee WI 53212
Natural Foods Coop has a cafe inside store. Outside seating in good weather.
Specializes in bread, but has coffee. Outside seating in good weather;
see photo album page
Rise and Grind Cafe
2737 N Dr Martin Luther King Dr
Milwaukee WI 53212
East Side coffee shop, just south of UW-Milwaukee campus at Maryland and Locust;
see photo album page
Rochambo Coffee & Tea House
1317 E Brady St
Milwaukee, WI 53202
Colorful, ornamented building. Speciality teas, poetry, live music. Outside seating in good weather; see photo album page
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
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.
3536 W Fond du Lac Ave
Milwaukee WI 53216
Inside the Sherman Phoenix.
In Bay View, near Morgan Park.
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
Stone Creek Bay View
Stone Creek coffee cafe with outdoor seating in good weather at the Five Points area of Bay View.
Stone Creek 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
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.
710 N Plankinton Ave
Milwaukee WI 53203
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.
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
A tasting room and roastery.
Velobahn Coffee and Cycle
Coffee and the art of bicycle maintenance.
Whole Foods Market
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