Anodyne – Walker's Point – 224 W. Bruce St., Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Open early to late, every day.

Of the few people I've met in Milwaukee, a couple have told me this is their favorite cafe, and it's a good thing I was pointed in its direction because I'd have never walked by it, as it's almost hidden, an old factory building at the end of an untraveled block just west of 2nd Street. I visited a couple times, early on snowy weekend mornings, and until I tried the door and found it open, I wasn't convinced it was even open. It's a huge place, and I guess it's their roasting facility and event space, and there are separate rooms that look like they could be classrooms, training rooms, meeting rooms. All this space makes you want to cry with all the possibility, not to mention what I'd imagine the heating bill to look like. At one end of the main room there is nice looking stage, and I made a mental note to come here for live music sometime because it looks like it could be a great place to watch a band. I'm sure it's an entirely different cafe late in the day, but I like mornings, and this place felt comfortable, if not particularly friendly.

I asked if there was anything gluten-free to eat, but no dice. There's the usual coffee shop baked things, which I'd pay a little more attention to if I could eat them. I got a straight cup of coffee, which tasted pretty much like ass, so I added the half and half to make it drinkable. I don't mean that as a particular criticism—most cafe coffee tastes like ass, mainly because it's made too strong—which is what the people want, I guess, and is still better than too weak coffee that tastes like ass. Anodyne is a funny name for coffee, since on one hand it means inoffensive, even bland, which isn't really what you're going for with coffee, right? But it also means something that alleviates pain, and I guess that's what they were thinking, because that's what coffee does (unless you get pranked with decaf). There are a variety of places to sit here; unfortunately the best seats, by the windows, are high chairs—but then there's nothing much to see outside anyway, and there are a few, long, low tables with normal chairs. It would have to be very, very crowded to not easily be able to get a seat, and it seems like a place where you might be able to have some kind of social interaction, just due to the layout—but as most people in cafes are either in insular, impenetrable groups, or with laptops, that's not likely to happen anytime. But anyway, if I lived around here I'd happily make this my regular coffee shop, and I'll have to make a note to come by sometime when there's live music.

Richard Skiller 1.17.18