Weddings at Cafe Brauer

A local Chicago wedding photographer shares insight and tips to have an amazing photo experience at Cafe Brauer.

Ashley Biess is the owner and lead photographer of Artistrie Co, a wedding & portrait photography boutique in Chicago, Illinois. She has been photographing weddings for over 15 years and shoots in a hybrid candid, editorial style to capture your life's moments in a personable, artful way. She has worked at Cafe Brauer dozens of times over the years and it's one of her absolute favorite venues in the city!


Cafe Brauer is a one-of-a-kind wedding venue surrounded by Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, Illinois that hosts luxurious events. As a wedding photographer with over 15 years of experience working at this beautiful gem, I wanted to share my insight to having the picture-perfect wedding at Cafe Brauer.

A luxurious Wedding Venue

Built in 1908, Cafe Brauer is a historical landmark in the heart of Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, Illinois.

It’s designed in the Prairie style of architecture and features a red brick and green roof exterior. The building has a small restaurant on the first floor, a ballroom for private events on the second floor and two loggias.

Cafe Brauer is surrounded by beautiful Lincoln Park which includes the zoo, the Nature Boardwalk, the South Pond, the Lincoln Park Conservatory and Chicago skyline views. Weddings at Cafe Brauer are refreshingly elegant and truly one-of-a-kind.

The History of Cafe Brauer

If you are planning a wedding at Cafe Brauer, here are a the typical choices for your ceremony and reception backdrops.

Cafe Brauer Ceremony & Reception Spaces

Wedding ceremonies and receptions can both be held in the main ballroom which resides on the second floor of Cafe Brauer.

If you are hosting both your ceremony and reception in the ballroom, plan for an extended cocktail hour. Depending on your decor, set up typically requires 1.5 hours or more to flip the space.

The Ballroom

Cafe Brauer features two covered, outdoor patios, called the loggias. Wedding ceremonies can be held on the loggias. Cocktail hour is typically held on the loggias year-round. During winter, the loggias are enclosed and space heaters are provided.


Known by Chicago residents as the “Honeycomb”, the Foreman Pavilion is an outdoor wedding ceremony location that perfectly frames the Chicago skyline as your backdrop. 


When you get married at Cafe Brauer, some of the most beautiful settings in all of Chicago are right outside of your wedding venue. These portrait sessions are a few of my personal favorites as a wedding photographer.

Cafe Brauer Wedding Portrait Locations

Cafe Brauer Entrance

Kissing Bridge

Nature Boardwalk

Lakefront at Fullerton


North Avenue BeACH

Lincoln Park Conservatory

Alfred Caldwell
Lily Pool

North Pond

Cafe Brauer Entrance

Kissing Bridge

North Avenue Beach

Nature Boardwalk


Fullerton Lakefront

Lincoln Park Conservatory

Lily Pool

Cafe Brauer is located at 2021 N Stockton Drive, Chicago, IL 60614. It is positioned on the southern end of Lincoln Park Zoo and resides along Lincoln Park’s beautiful South Pond.

Cafe Brauer offers valet parking for weddings and events. Guests can also find free parking on Stockton Drive and paid parking in the Lincoln Park Zoo parking lot and the Chicago History Museum parking lot. 

Location Information

Cafe Brauer is positioned in the heart of Lincoln Park and is within a short drive of many luxurious hotels that can be used for getting ready and for guest accommodations.

My favorite Chicago hotels include the Ambassador, Hotel Zachary, The Gwen and the Waldorf Astoria. All of these hotels are under 15 minutes to Cafe Brauer.

Nearby Hotels

As featured in Style Me Pretty, Inside Weddings Magazine and DWP Insider, please view more of my portfolio from Cafe Brauer to see if I'd be a good fit as your wedding photographer!

Real Weddings at Cafe Brauer

These are a few common questions my clients ask when they are getting married at Cafe Brauer. Keep in mind these answers are all from the perspective of a photographer. Please reach out directly to the venue with questions about hosting your wedding there.

Photography at Cafe Brauer FAQ

From a photography perspective, absolutely yes.

I’ve photographed dozens of weddings at Cafe Brauer and professional venue lighting always makes a dramatic difference in the appearance of your wedding photos.

Think of it this way: once the sun goes down, it’s a very dark space and the iconic architectural details get lost. If you don't invest in lighting, it's just going to look like a big dark room — to your guests and in your photos.

Investing in lighting will enhance the ambiance, add dimension and truly let this gem of a venue shine until the very last dance at your reception. 


You can take family photos inside and outside of Cafe Brauer. 

If you are hosting your ceremony and reception at Cafe Brauer and would prefer to take photos inside, I highly recommend that you do before the start of your ceremony. 

Your vendors will need to start flipping the ballroom almost immediately after your ceremony, so taking pictures beforehand is the easiest option.

For outdoor options, you have access to Lincoln Park's beautiful Nature Boardwalk right outside of the venue along the South Pond. This would require a very short walk for you and your family members. 

There are other beautiful spots nearby, like the lakefront and the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool, but a transportation service will be needed.


If you are getting married at Cafe Brauer and want to keep all of your wedding portraits on-site, there are  many great options and most are within walking distance. 

My favorite locations within walking distance are the "Kissing Bridge" and the Nature Boardwalk around the South Pond. 

A short drive away includes the lakefront, Lincoln Park Conservatory (permit required), the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool (permit required), the North Pond and more.


Regarding your ceremony or reception, you can easily host the entire event inside the ballroom — no sweat!

If you plan to take all of your portraits around Cafe Brauer, you have a few options:

1) Take photos under the Cafe Brauer entrance awning. You can still capture the beautiful exterior while staying mostly dry. 

2) Take photos underneath the Honeycomb. This entire structure is covered in plexiglass, so you can take photos with the beautiful Chicago skyline in the backdrop without getting wet.

3) Grab umbrellas and roll with it! These Clear Bubble Umbrellas are perfect for rainy wedding day photos and I've had a countless number of clients use them over the years. Because they are clear, they don't block any light which will be great for your photos. If you buy these, I'd recommend 1 umbrella per 2 people. 

What to do if it rains?

If you have a question about working together for your wedding day in Chicago or throughout the midwest, please complete my contact form or email me directly. I'd love to hear from you!

Have a question?

Artistrie Co. is a Wedding & Portrait Photographer serving Chicago, Illinois, Michigan and beyond.