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12 Must-Try Cafes in Milwaukee

Guide to all the best coffee shops Milwaukee, WI has to offer for a delicious cup of coffee or a meal

With its diverse culinary scene, there are so many cafes in Milwaukee with different meal options to explore when traveling to the city.

Situated on the western shore of Lake Michigan, you can find a lot of Milwaukee cafes that offer beautiful views of the lake in the surroundings.

There are also numerous coffee shops in Milwaukee if you want to grab a cup of joe to recharge your energy as you travel Wisconsin!

From artisan coffee shops to fancy cafes with the best ambiance, I’m going to share my list of favorite cafes in Milwaukee, WI!

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Overview: Top 3 Cafes in Milwaukee

  • Discourse Coffee Workshop
  • Coffee Makes You Black
  • Beans & Barley

1. Comet Cafe

Top Milwaukee cafes, Black cooking pot full to the brim with cooked pasta covered in grated cheese and herbs

If you’re looking for a cafe in Milwaukee that offers a great atmosphere and top-notch breakfast menus, Comet Cafe is where to go!

Situated in the Lower East Side neighborhood in Milwaukee, Comet Cafe opens every day from 9 AM to 9 PM.

It’s a great spot for brunch or dinner, but keep in mind that they don’t take reservations as they work on a first-come, first-serve operation.

Due to its popularity, I’d recommend coming to Comet Cafe during the weekdays to avoid the potential long waiting list.

If you can get a spot, it’s one of the best things to do in Milwaukee at night for a fun and delicious night out.

In terms of menus, they have so many varieties that are vegetarian and vegan-friendly. But they’re also renowned for their burgers and their mac and cheese!

They also offer some great mocktail options for non-alcoholic drinkers, which makes it one of the best cafes in Milwaukee!

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2. Cafe Benelux

best Milwaukee coffee shops, burger with meet, sauce and vegetables on a plat with a knife sticking out the top on top of a wooden table

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the term Benelux?

If you think of the three countries in West Europe, which include Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxemburg, then you’re not wrong because Cafe Benelux is named after this European region!

As a Luxembourger myself, I find it exciting to find a Milwaukee cafe that reminds me of home. They have everything from vibrant vibes to live music and the best brews from Europe!

Situated in the historic Third Ward neighborhood of Milwaukee, Cafe Benelux is a part of the Lowlands Group that also owns other cafes in Milwaukee with a similar theme, including Cafe Hollander, Centraal Grand Cafe & Tapery, and Buckatabon Tavern.

Looking for some unique things to do in Wisconsin in winter? You can make a reservation at Cafe Benelux to experience dinner at the signature rooftop lux domes in one of the best cafes in downtown Milwaukee!

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3. Beans & Barley

cafes in Milwaukee Wisconsin, Close up shot of a pile of several tortilla wraps containing tofu and lettuce as well as diced carrot and cucumber

Located on the East Side of Milwaukee, Beans & Barley is a cafe in Milwaukee recommended for health-conscious customers who want some good homemade food that’s locally sourced with vegetarian and vegan options.

Beans & Barley has been in business since the 1970s, with a humble beginning to start selling healthy produce at their small store.

Right now, Beans & Barley has three business lines that still focus on their healthy products: market, deli, and cafe.

Best known as one of the best vegan restaurants in Milwaukee, you can make an advanced reservation at Beans & Barley online for up to 8 people depending on the availability.

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4. Museum Cafe

downtown Milwaukee coffee shops, Close up shot of a glass pitcher of root beer with ice cream and a red and white straw

Looking for the best view in some Milwaukee cafes? Milwaukee Art Museum has its own Museum Cafe and Coffee Shop situated below Windhover Hall.

With direct access to the Milwaukee Art Museum, it’s also one of the best cafes in Milwaukee if you’re looking for one with a panoramic view of the lakefront.

You can find a lot of downtown Milwaukee coffee shops, but Museum Cafe stands out for the best location and the view.

They offer a generous portion of sandwiches, and I’d also recommend trying the local root beer when you’re here!

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5. Coffee Makes You Black

best coffee shops in Milwaukee, Close up shot of a plate full of golden fried chicken and fluffy waffles

If you’re looking for a nice spot to visit while sipping some of the best coffee in Milwaukee, Coffee Makes You Black should be on the list of the best coffee shops in Milwaukee.

They pride themselves on their mission to empower the local Black community in Wisconsin, and they’re also one of the Milwaukee coffee shops with the best ambiance and service.

On top of that, they also serve some of the best food in town!

Situated in the Metro Milwaukee area, it’s not only a great place to grab a coffee in Milwaukee, as Coffee Makes You Black has some varieties in their menu list.

Try their signature chai tea, which is really nice to drink, especially during the winter days.

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6. Sabrosa Cafe & Gallery

cafes in downtown Milwaukee, Close up shot of a pair of tacos filled with beans and cilantro with a couple of small dips to one side all sitting on a blue ceramic plate

There are so many good cafes in Milwaukee, but Sabrosa Cafe is a great place to go if you’re looking for an artsy cafe with various hearty meals to offer.

Sabrosa Cafe & Gallery is one of the best coffee shops downtown Milwaukee has to offer, and as the name suggests, it predominantly serves Mexican-style food and beverages.

However, they also have some American and Southern dishes like pancakes and grits.

Visit Sabrosa Cafe for brunch, and don’t forget to try some of their signature dishes like Carnivore Scrambler or Shrimp Diabla Tacos.

For vegetarians, you can also try their Avocado Smash Up for one of their best plant-based choices!

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7. Likewise Coffee

Where to get coffee in Milwaukee, Close up shot of a cup of coffee with a pattern drawn into the foam on the top

Looking for the best coffee? Downtown Milwaukee is where to go, as the area has plenty of coffee shops that you should include on the list of things to do in Milwaukee.

Likewise Coffee is a cafe in Milwaukee that also offers some of the best pastries in town, making it one of the most popular places to go for breakfast.

On top of that, it’s also one of the coffee shops in Milwaukee, WI, with the best location as it’s near the riverwalk area downtown.

If you’re looking for a specialty coffee shop that offers reasonable prices, Likewise Coffee is where to go.

My personal favorite is Espresso & Tonic, but they also offer non-caffeine options like juice and hot chocolate.

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8. Hi-Fi Cafe

Top cafes in Milwaukee, Close up shot of a plate with two halves of a falafel wrap with a bowl of green salad leaves behind

When you think of quirky cafes, Milwaukee has one in Bay View that you shouldn’t miss: Hi-Fi Cafe. It’s a great place to go if you’re into art and good coffee!

You’ll love Hi-Fi Cafe if you like retro decor with odd but artistic vibes, even more so if you’re up for some yummy food for brunch.

Their Brie Plate seems to be the all-time favorite, and you can also choose their vegetarian and vegan options if you like.

If you come to Hi-Fi Cafe for coffee, I’d recommend their iced Thai Coffee. For those who are lactose intolerant, you can also request to change dairy with oatmeal milk!

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9. Sherman Perk Coffee Shop

coffee shops in Milwaukee, Overhead view of a cup of cappuccino with a pattern drawn into the top of the white foam with a small wooden spoon nearby

Built in an old gas station area, you can tell at a glance by the vibes and building at Sherman Perk Coffee Shop in Milwaukee.

It’s one of the most interesting coffee shops in Milwaukee with a great atmosphere, especially if you’re traveling in a group!

There is a spacious parking area at Sherman Perk Coffee Shop, and they have some board games and books to grab while waiting for your order.

Their coffee options are pretty standard, from brewed coffee to Cappuccino, but once in a while every Saturday, the owner may surprise you with some additional egg-based breakfast meals!

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10. Tre Rivali

Best cafes in Milwaukee Wisconsin, Get involved in some of these things to do in Wisconsin Dells at night, large steak on the bone sitting on a wooden plate with a side dish and glass of water nearby on top of a wooden table

Looking for a top-notch Mediterranean cafe? Milwaukee, WI, has Tre Rivali downtown in the historic Third Ward area to spoil you with some of the best Mediterranean dishes.

From hummus to pizza, you can get some of the best in town here at Tre Rivali!

If you need some date ideas in Milwaukee, Tre Rivali is also a great place to go for a romantic dinner in the city.

It’s a high-end establishment with various menus inspired by Mediterranean food and beverages.

I’d recommend Hanger Steak for the main entree at Tre Rivali, and don’t forget to try their Sangria Roja cocktails to make the best of your visit to one of the best cafes in Milwaukee!

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11. Discourse Coffee Workshop

Best coffee in Milwaukee, Overhead shot of a cup of matcha latte with a pattern drawn into the green foam

One of the most unique coffee shops in Milwaukee, Discourse Coffee, currently has two branches, including the one in the Museum Cafe that I mentioned on this list.

However, one of the best things to do in Milwaukee is to visit their coffee shop downtown in the historic building at 1020 N Broadway.

While most Milwaukee coffee shops are okay for grabbing a cup of joe, Discourse is a place to go if you’re looking for fancier caffeine options.

If you get a chance to visit Discourse Coffee in Milwaukee, be sure to try one of their experimental craft drinks to make the best of your visit!

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12. Stella Van Buren

Top Milwaukee cafe shops, Close up shot of a caesar salad with crunchy bread croutons sitting on top of a pile of vibrantly green salad leaves

It’s hard not to love Italian dishes, no matter where you travel to in this world. If you’re looking for the best Italian cafe in Milwaukee, WI, Stella Van Buren is where to go!

Stella Van Buren serves the fusion Italian dining scene with a modern and intimate ambiance, which can be a great place if looking for romantic things to do in Milwaukee.

They offer a private dining experience tailored to your personal palate, along with some varieties of wines that you can enjoy for your romantic dinner with a loved one!

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Whether you’re looking for some quirky cafes or craving the best coffee, Milwaukee has so many local businesses that you can explore around the city!

For more high-end cafes in Milwaukee, you can choose either Tre Rivali or Stella Van Buren to get a luxurious experience with Mediterranean culinary dishes.

Looking for the best cafe with a view, Museum Cafe is the best place to enjoy the lakefront Milwaukee while sipping a cup of Discourse coffee there!

FAQs About Best Cafes in Milwaukee

Is Milwaukee a good place for coffee?

Wisconsin might not be the first place you think of when talking about coffee, but Milwaukee has become a great city for coffee enthusiasts with more and more specialty roasts and cafes opening up.

Where can you get the best coffee in Milwaukee?

This is a matter of opinion, my personal favorites are Discourse Coffee Workshop, Likewise Coffee, and Coffee Makes You Black.

Are there lots of independent cafes in Milwaukee?

Yes, Milwaukee is full of some great independent cafes and coffee shops with more and more popping up every year.

Before You Go: Top Tips for your Trip