Catherine Jozwik

New Downtown Coffee Bar Opens

In renovated 1913 hotel space, with tons of coffee offerings, and soon serving sandwiches.

By - Aug 28th, 2019 12:24 pm
Canary Coffee Bar. Photo by Catherine Jozwik.

Canary Coffee Bar. Photo by Catherine Jozwik.

Java lovers, take note—downtown Milwaukee is home to a new coffee bar. Canary Coffee Bar opened its doors yesterday in 1,250-square-foot space at 720 N. Old World Third St.

Canary aims to highlight “the diverse array of coffee flavors in the world,” said Colin Whitcomb, who owns the coffee bar with his wife, Emily. Like a favorite neighborhood pub and grill, Canary will offer bar seating and table service.

“Our service is a little different from most coffee shops,” Colin said. “I’m interested in a coffee-focused, beverage-focused business that utilizes the bar–the service concepts of a bar–to make the coffee experience more seamless.”

After Colin spent 13 years working in the specialty coffee industry at establishments like Colectivo, MadCap Coffee in Washington, DC, and Pilcrow Coffee Roasters in Brewers Hill, the Whitcombs decided to open Canary.

In February, the couple signed the lease on the Old World Third Street location, a former hotel built in 1913. The historic building, which had been vacant for about 10 years, required a lot of construction, which began in June. “The space was fairly raw when we started. I would have loved to have seen it in its prime,” Colin said. “The only thing remaining from the original space was the terrazzo.”

He feels the name Canary “has a very light, playful and exotic feel.” Colin’s brother Andrew Whitcomb, a design strategist, developed the business logo, an amber-colored canary sitting on a perch.

Canary offers traditional espresso drinks such as lattes and cappuccinos, and 6 to 10 different coffees from several vendors, including Michigan-based MadCap Coffee Co., and Santa Barbara, California company Dune Coffee Roasters. The Whitcombs will incorporate Canary’s specialty drink menu beginning next week. Among the specialty drinks will be Almost Perfect, an espresso drink made with grenadine and sweetened condensed milk, an Espresso Old-Fashioned, and a Shakerato, espresso shaken with half and half, sugar and ice, strained and served in a coupe.

The coffee bar also offers hot chocolate, chai, teas, cold draft drinks, and bakery items made by Miss Molly’s Café and Pastry Shop in Wauwatosa. In the future, Canary plans to serve open-faced sandwiches made with recipes developed by Sarah Thompson, Emily’s sister, and sell merchandise like T-shirts and specialty coffee equipment.

Canary Coffee Bar hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. through September 1, and, beginning September 2, Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. A ribbon-cutting ceremony, sponsored by Canary and Milwaukee Downtown BID #21 will be held from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. September 12.

Colin said he hopes to offer customers a comfortable spot to work, meet with friends, and enjoy a tasty beverage, to create “a place and home in the heart of downtown Milwaukee.”

Canary Coffee Bar

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