Skip the usual spot and try one of these cafes instead.

Everybody knows about Colectivo Coffee Roasters and Stone Creek Coffee. But what about off-the-beaten-path indie cafés tucked into neighborhoods? Check out these hidden spots to linger with a latte. You might be surprised how close they are — or maybe it’s an excuse to check out a new neighborhood.

La Finca Coffee House

3558 E. Sivyer Ave., St. Francis

La Finca Coffee House

Photo courtesy of Kristine Hansen

Coffee paired with a view of Lake Michigan seems like a Door County experience, right? Grab a table along La Finca Coffee House’s eastern wall and you’ll be rewarded with the gorgeous lake view, especially during winter when trees are bare.

Open since late 2017, La Finca offers pastries that flaunt Latin roots (like pineapple and guava empanadas) and coffee sourced from the owners’ grandfather’s farm in Oaxaca, Mexico, brewed using drip and pour-over methods. Breakfast sandwiches and burritos easily satisfy your hunger. Locally made bamboo utensils and soy candles, plus a clothing line imported from Mexico are among the retail items for sale.


Courtesy of Kristine Hansen


2504 E. Oklahoma Ave.

A few blocks west of Lake Michigan, this little sis to Honeypie, also in Bay View, took pie-making to a new level when it debuted last summer, with hand pies folding in sweet and savory items, from cherries to “cheeseburger”. There’s even a “Wisconsin Beer” bagel (what took so long for someone to think of that?).

Outdoor seating is just as plentiful as the interior, and the Mediterranean-style roof on this former gas station, dating back to the 1930s, may seem more Santa Barbara than South Shore, but we’ll take it. Java comes from Milwaukee’s own Pilcrow and Anodyne. Salads — both greens and grains — and sandwiches, plus even more sweet treats, round out the food.

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Alderaan Coffee

1560 N. Water St.

Alderaan Coffee

Courtesy of Alderaan Coffee

All that shiny glass and metal popping up along North Water Street just north of Downtown includes a cozy little café. Open since 2014, Alderaan Coffee’s tall windows coax in natural light, and a tiny deck is open on warm days. Beans are roasted by the café and lattes are inventive, including its French Lavender Latte, based on a house-made flavor — not a few pumps on a syrup bottle. Honeypie supplies the pastries (some are vegan), and come afternoon craft beers from Wisconsin and other states are poured.

Shindig Café

3536 W. Fond du Lac Ave.

Shindig Coffee

Courtesy of Sherman Phoenix

Sherman Phoenix is one of the latest developments to hit one of Milwaukee’s Sherman Park neighborhood, and it’s about time this neighborhood got a new coffee house. Because Shindig Coffee’s owners also manage The Juice Kitchen, you’ll find pressed juices and smoothies in addition to coffee and espresso drinks. At Shindig Cafe, natural light pours through tall windows and perky yellow paint further brightens up the industrial-chic space. Eats to pair with your drink include pastries, wraps and breakfast items. The lifestyle center includes other food vendors and even a barber shop and yoga studio.