Historic Milwaukee meets mid-century modern meets 80’s glam in this brand-new coffee hotspot located in the former Hotel Wisconsin building in the Westown Neighborhood. The location is prime, just a few steps north of the future 3rd Street Market Hall at the former Grand Avenue Mall. This place is a great addition to the MKE area, offering a space that is modern, fresh, bright, crisp, and so inviting.
The wood bistro tables, hanging light fixtures, comfy leather and velvet seats, and original terrazzo flooring will make you want to take a rainy day and stay all day! Plenty of small tables and bar and window seating can accommodate groups of almost any size. Oh and there is also plants…lots of healthy happy and beautiful plants. What else could one want?
Canary is currently serving up coffee from MadCap Coffee and Dune Coffee. The point is, per cafe owner and expert barista Colin Whitcomb, to bring in roasters that Milwaukee folk haven’t tried and get them to explore things in and outside of the state (and out of this world!) They do have one familiar face on the menu – cold brew from Pilcrow, right here in Milwaukee.
Colin is not a stranger to the coffee world; having connections with some of the nation’s biggest coffee publications and coffee roasters. He competed (and almost won!) at the National Barista Championships in 2013 and 2014. He decided not to pursue roasting due to its already-saturated market, but instead chose to feature some of the nation’s best. An obvious choice for him was Mad Cap, not only because of his previous work with the company, but also because of Madcap’s dedication to delivering fruity, bright and clean processed coffee.
Designed with the help of his cafe co-owner wife and the design professionals in their family, the Canary logo symbolizes life, color and happiness, with a nod to the building’s historic roots. Matching the original terrazzo floor sunburst design, this space is a burst of beauty and energy to Old World 3rd Street and the Westown revival.
Excellent service is important here. Between taking orders and pulling shots, Colin and his team can be seen chatting with customers and sharing their experiences in the coffee world. It’s kind of like being on the set of Cheers.
If you’re not a coffee fan, never fear. You have options! All prices (which are extremely reasonable, we might add) include tax, so 5 bucks will buy you two drip coffees, no change needed.
Cold brew – The cold brew is sourced by Pilcrow, another local Milwaukee coffee shop and blogger favorite. Per usual Pilcrow standards, the cold brew is perfectly chocolate, subtly sweet, and gone way too fast. We drank it black, but with its simple tasting notes it could pair well with creamer and maybe even a little simple syrup. Cold brew is a perfect warm weather go-to!
Caramel Latte – One of our standard drink orders is a Caramel Latte. Smooth, delicious and lightly flavored, we are confident that you’ll get a consistently great drink every time.
Doppio Espresso – We experienced a MadCap Coffee Third Coast ‘spro on two separate days, both pulled by Colin, and the difference was indistinguishable. Plus, the beans are excellent, owing to the careful balance of Ethiopia and Columbia. Although Mad Cap sources a lot of its beans seasonally, meaning that the Third Coast could be different just within a few months, the Third Coast blend is consistently sweet, crisp, and clean.
Latte Miel – Another well-balanced latte that combines MadCap’s Third Coast espresso with a touch of honey and spice. This is a great fall drink that will warm you up and keep you energized.
Drip Coffee – We also tried a delicious Mad Cap Kenya Karinga on pour over in the Chemex. The pour over menu is an added plus – we felt like we were getting a cocktail or a glass of wine – and the barista, Theresa, was more than willing to steer me directly towards the Karinga. “Try something interesting…it’ll knock you down,” she said. Kenya coffee is known for their bright, citrus flavors, and this Karinga came straight at us with notes of grapefruit. Then, subtly, the sweetness of dates came over the top for a perfectly abrupt finish. This could easily convert a non-black coffee drinker.
“I could actually drink this,” said the partner of @taredandcaffeinated. She doesn’t drink black coffee, but this might be a game-changer! Theresa brewed the Kenya masterfully while juggling three espresso drinks, all while never taking her careful eye off of the Chemex. Impressive, to say the least.
Hot Chocolate – What we loved about this hot chocolate was that it is not overwhelmingly sweet. The mild chocolate flavor won’t give you a sugar high and can be easily paired with a sweet bakery item without making you feel guilty. This was a hit with the kids as well!
The bakery items at Canary Coffee Bar are sourced by Miss Molly’s Cafe & Pastry Shop in Wauwatosa. With Miss Molly’s reputation for high-quality, delicious treats, you will certainly find something to nibble on while enjoying your morning coffee. (Edit: As of February 2020, you will find the delicious pies from Hatched instead!)
Miss Molly’s Almond Bakewell tart – This generous slice was a delightful contrast of flavors and textures in a sweet tart shell. We highly recommended this with any drink order, and it will be worth every bite.
Miss Molly’s Gluten-Free Banana Bread – This bread was so yummy that you couldn’t even tell it was gluten-free. The overload of chocolate chips and tiny chunks of banana made it moist and sweet! It was sprinkled with powdered sugar and happily eaten by all.
Miss Molly’s Olive Oil & Strawberry Jam Bundt Cake – Another moist and tasty treat from Miss Molly’s! The thin layer of jam was just enough to tickle your taste buds but not overpowering.
This new addition to Milwaukee’s coffee culture is a very welcome one. We are excited to visit this place again…and again…and again. We’re confident you will too.
Canary Coffee Bar
720 N Old World 3rd St,
Milwaukee, WI 53203
Monday-Friday – 7am-9pm
Saturday-Sunday – 8am-9pm