Milwaukee’s Under-the-Radar Coffee Shops

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.

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.

Tribeca Gallery Café & Books

1318 S. 1st St.

Tribeca Gallery Cafe & Books
Courtesy of Kristine Hansen

Tucked into a new strip mall — Freshwater Plaza, along South 1st Street in Walker’s Point — Tribeca GalleryCafé & Books doubles as an indie bookstore. Yes, that’s right: you can walk out with a cappuccino and a new-release book, whether it’s a cookbook or thriller. Ten years after opening the first Tribeca GalleryCafe in Watertown, this urban cousin arrived in Walker’s Point in 2017. Food ranges from morning muffins to afternoon snacks like Asian chicken wraps and drinks move beyond caffeine (like herbal teas and smoothies).

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.



A seasoned writer, and a former editor at Milwaukee Home & Fine Living, Kristine Hansen launched her wine-writing career in 2003, covering wine tourism, wine and food pairings, wine trends and quirky winemakers. Her wine-related articles have published in Wine Enthusiast, Sommelier Journal, Uncorked (an iPad-only magazine),, and Whole Living (a Martha Stewart publication). She's trekked through vineyards and chatted up winemakers in many regions, including Chile, Portugal, California (Napa, Sonoma and Central Coast), Canada, Oregon and France (Bordeaux and Burgundy). While picking out her favorite wine is kind of like asking which child you like best, she will admit to being a fan of Oregon Pinot Noir and even on a sub-zero winter day won't turn down a glass of zippy Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.