Winter in Milwaukee is never a treat, and with a polar vortex descending on the city not once, but two times, this winter’s been worse than ever. The coffices in town have done a great job of making their places even more welcoming to compensate for the dismal conditions outdoors. Urban Joe Café, in West Allis, for example, serves warm apple cider that takes the chill off as you sink into a cushy, overstuffed chair – after plugging in and connecting to the free Wi-Fi, of course.
With only 50 seats, Urban Joe’s is small, but the thoughtful layout and muted earth tones make it feel spacious. Owner Joe Tairi is very friendly. If it’s not too busy, you might just find him tapping away at his own laptop across from the counter. Come for lunch as well as work because the sandwich selection is excellent, including vegetarian options. Everything is made with fair-trade or organic ingredients as much as possible.
West Allis is named for Edward P. Allis, who ran a late 19th century Milwaukee manufacturing firm. From Urban Joe’s giant windows, looking through the falling snow, the historic facades of the Greenfield Avenue business district create a softly blurred picture of the city in Allis’s time. If you squint, you can almost see men in top hats and women in bonnets strolling by the shops.
Urban Joe’s is exactly what a coffice is supposed to be: a comfortable place to work with good food and drink and a refreshing view. Well done, Joe. Well done.