Cafe Montmartre: More upscale place to hang out
This is a smaller club, right off the Capitol square. More upscale, for Madison anyway, with a younger crowd drinking wine, beer, hor d'ouvres in a more fashionable setting than a college frat bar.
Don't be surprised if you look to the next table and see Shirley Manson or Butch Vig, since Butch is part owner of this place. He's the drummer of the rock band 'Garbage', (she's the Scottish singer) and producer of Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana's "Nevermind", and many others.
Looking at the upcoming artist list shows: Marshall Crenshaw, Phil Upchurch, Kissers, Split Lip Rayfield, Caitlin Cary, and a lot of local artists that fill in when the bigger names aren't playing. Nice patio outside in the warmer months too.
Evidently it's also called Cafe Momo, but I've never used that phrase.
Dress Code: This is Madison, you can wear anything you want, but it is usually a little more dressier than most bars around here. But you can get in wearing anything.
And as always, no smoking inside.
Beer Festival: Great Taste of the Midwest - Beer festival
The largest beer festival in the Midwest, 2nd biggest in the country is held the 2nd saturday in August.
This year Jenn(CoAir13), Ethan(CoAir19), Kevin(Itsfunhavingfun) & his wife all happened to be passing thru.
Dunk tanks, games, music... and plenty of beer. Over 100 breweries with 4-6 samples each.
It runs from 1pm to 6pm. Tickets go on sale the first sunday in May, also by mail order. It sells out in 1 hour.
- Beer Tasting
LE CHARDONNAY BISTRO & WINE LOUNGE: BEST MARTINI BAR IN MADISON
Martini Night on Saturday? This is a quiet a bargain!! been there for a friend's birthday last week, and we had a great time! The Bar is small, but the place had a sleek-decor. After the dinner is over, the place turns into bar/wine lounge. We sat on tables next to a huge mosaic representing the God of wine: Dionysos. We were hoping he wouldn't get mad at us for drinking martinis!! There was latin music in the background.
Dress Code: Elegant, neat probably prefer no jeans
- Food and Dining
- Wine Tasting
- Study Abroad
State Street Brats: Nice place for Happy Hour
Not your typical happy hour. The price of each beer changes according to how many are sold, or some calculation. How do you know what the price is?? They have a stock ticker thing that runs constantly alerting you to the price of the beer. You want a Leinies Honey Weis, check the ticker and see the price just jumped from $2 a pint to $3.75. But wait, Capitol Island Wheat just went form $4 to $1.55 a pint. So buy one of those. Kinda fun, and you can always find a good one for $2 or less. Prices seem to change every 15 minutes. I think it runs from 4-8 or 9.
They also have a nice seating area outside, and they show games on the somewhat big screens. So you can sit outside, watch a baseball game, World Cup game, whatever. Nice.
Plenty of food inside too, it is a Brat Haus afterall. Fries are real good & spicy.
Dress Code: Umm, no.
- Beer Tasting
Memorial Union Terrace: Music in a lakefront setting
Memorial Union Rathskellar or outdoor terrace
Best place to see live music, perfect setting assuming it doesn't rain. A small stage is set up near the lakefront, with the people sitting mostly in front of the band on the terrace of the Memorial Union. Beer, soda, pretzels available right there.
Friday and Saturday at 5pm & 9pm, Thursday nights too, schedule varies, and usually only when school is in session including summer. Free.
In winter, inside. In summer, out on the lakefront Terrace...weather permitting. Also has an art gallery, travel agency, and many meetings/talks/movies/game room/2 cafeterias and other things going on inside.
Dress Code: Whatever you want
State Street and around: The usual college fare
Madison has some great bars, ranging from high class spots to hole-in-the-wall dives. You can find them on pretty much any street on campus (state street, university street, etc...). It really depends what you're looking for. If you're looking for a higher class place (or want a place with a bit of older patronage) stick closer to the capitol building.
Dress Code: Generally, you can get away with wearing anything from jeans and a t-shirt to a dressier get-up, but dress varies on the place you're going and the night you're going out (i.e. during the week, more casual).
- Study Abroad
Vintage: Patio and "Redneck Buffet"
This is a nice bar with reasonably priced drinks and a very nice patio. The patio is on a fairly busy street with plenty of late night foot traffic. There are heat lamps too for when it gets a bit chilly. Inside there are plenty of booths and a couple of couches.
A feature of this bar is the "Redneck Buffet" where for $15 dollars you can get a tee shirt for eating a pickled egg, pickled pork hock and a pickled turkey gizzard and drinking a can of Hamms. Not my cup of tea, but...
They also have pretty good regular food.
Wando's: Free bacon, cheap Blatz
I don't go to this bar too often, but I am a fan of their Tuesday night specials. It's not that it's a bad bar, I just go to other places. On Tuesdays they have free bacon and $1.00 cans of Pabst, Blatz and Hamms. I didn't even realize they still made Hamms.
Crystal Corner Bar: Bluegrass and Jazz nights
Neighborhood bar that brings people to town. Sometimes charging a cover of 5 dollars, this bar is infamous for great varity of good music. From string emsombles, honk tonk, rock, you name it! Give them a call!
Dress Code: None!
- Beer Tasting
State Street: College Town
State street is located between the capital and the University. many bars and restraunts and shops that all stay open late into the eve. great for summer time strools and watching street performers.
Dress Code: Clothing required!
- Gay and Lesbian
Memorial Union: Lakeside Beer Heaven
UW-Madison's Memorial Union is a must for anyone that enjoys drinking excellent beer in an amazing location. The union is situated on one of Madison's famous lakes (Otis Redding died in this lake). As we have a large German heritage, the building follows old German style and serves a plethora of beers from excellent to watered-down chugging beer. There is a large, German-style interior area with old wooden tables and benches, and a gorgeous terrace with huge oak trees in the back on the lake. Almost every Friday and Saturday offers live music, and Thursday is open mic and there are always lots of intoxicated revellers there, especially in the summer. There is also a games room with pool and darts.
The union is for students, but you are able to get a day pass if you are younger.
Memorial Union is a great place to get an early start on your night's drinking, but it usually dies down before midnight on the weekends and earlier on the weekdays unless there is a major show.
There are also several food choices there, as well as an ice cream stand and, in the summer, a brat and burger stand outside, although, the brats are certainly not the best that you can find in Wisconsin.
For those who lust after a good, thick dark beer, I suggest the Grey's Oatmeal Stout.
There are also canoe rentals and other boating rentals, but you may need to be a student to take advantage of these.
Dress Code: Clothes of some sort would be good.
Mother Fool's Coffee House: The Willy Street Scene
Organic coffees, of course, vegan pastries, and some mean guitar playing - all regular fare at Mother Fool's. This is the perfect antidote to corporate coffee, and a glimpse of the best of Madison's eastside.
State Street: State Street at night
Being a college town, Madison is blessed with many watering holes. These bars, taverns, clubs, and pubs are mainly located on State Street and there are many different styles to choose from. From college bars frequented by college students, to a dance club housed in an historic theater building, the Orpheum, to restaurants-turned-nighclubs after dinner hours like Madison Masala and Spice's Kitchen. Every nightlife options on State Street are unique in their own way and these provide a tremendous choice for nightcrawlers.
Dress Code: Depends on the spots. College bars are generally very informal while dance clubs, lounges, upper-end bars generally require more sophisticated clothing.
the Majestic: Best place to go clubbing
The fairly new club that is housed on the historic former theater building of the same name is one of the few places to dance in Madison and it's arguably the best. When it was opened in the winter of 2003, the line stretches on for about a block.
The club features 2 levels of dance floor, 2 bars, and lots of comfy couches and big armchairs to lounge about and people-watch. The DJs and lighting are great. The cover and drinks are a bit steep for Madison standards ($7 and above). My friends and I usually went on Thursday nights since there were no covers. The club regularly holds events and invites out-of-town DJs.
Dress Code: Casual, but most people usually dress up in nicer clothes.
- School Holidays
- Luxury Travel
Opus Lounge: best place to get cozy with your partner
This lounge was voted one of the best places to get cozy and intimate with your partner by the Isthmus, Madison's weekly publication.
Opus Lounge is smartly and tastefully decorated and features one of the most extensive drink list in the city and it changes according to seasons so you won't get bored. Opus Lounge also serves desserts and lounge snacks that varies according to seasons as well, but the to-die-for fondues are ever-present. Service is friendly and attentive, yet unobtrusive. During certain days of the week, DJs mixes up downtempo and lounge jazz music.
The only drawback is the small size of the lounge. It gets very crowded especially during weekends and seats are hard to come by.
Dress Code: casual but most people dress up
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Luxury Travel