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Neighborhood, or just interesting, bars in Madison

Bars, wine, beer, cocktails, drunken escapades

Neighborhood, or just interesting, bars in Madison

Postby fennel » Sun Apr 01, 2007 6:14 pm

I haven't had a lot of time to look around this town yet but I'm curious to know if there are any interesting, down-to-earth bars in central Madison. That's to say a bar oriented toward people, conversation and high-quality (relatively inexpensive) food -- not spectator sports or spectator dancing. (Impromtu dancing is always a good thing, though.)

I have an ideal in mind, from a land far far away, but I think the essentials would be:

+ No television. (Sports bars have that covered.)
+ No cover charge for music *ever*. Leave that to the night clubs, thank you, and don't turn away customers who may have no interest in the particular musical offerings.
+ Some reasonably good beer (preferably local) and at least one or two drinkable non-Californian wines beyond what the distrubutor from Palookaville offloads
+ Food that's made to be eaten, not just sold. So no industrial white bread or orange cheese, no canned olives. It doesn't have to be expensive (in fact, it can be damn cheap), but it needs to be real.
+ An eclectic range of music, played at a volume that promotes, rather than impedes, conversation.

Does such a bird exist here?
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Postby Big boy » Sun Apr 01, 2007 6:39 pm

I think that Wonder's pub on atwood fits the bill. It has good food, live music, an eclectic juke box. I think that the beers on tap are all local, or at least micro-brews. Just a thought.
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Postby zsa zsa » Sun Apr 01, 2007 8:49 pm

Try the Weary Traveler on Willy St. I highly recommend the West of the Andes sandwich (and everything else on their small but satisfying menu.)

I don't think they ever have a cover for music (I may be wrong) but I have seen the hat being passed.

No TV, just music. Good beer, and Wine.
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Postby roadkill bill » Sun Apr 01, 2007 10:11 pm

There are many bar/restaurants in the downtown - especially the Square/King St area. Most probably qualify as restaurants legally, but have good bars, good beer selection, and sometimes music.

Brochach
Old Fashion
Casbah
Cafe Momatre
Local Tavern
Natspiel


Then there is Genna's or the Shamrock, if you want a real bar.
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Postby Henry Vilas » Mon Apr 02, 2007 8:28 am

roadkill bill wrote:... the Shamrock, if you want a real bar.

But the Shamrock has more than one TV.
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Postby Bwis53 » Mon Apr 02, 2007 8:49 am

Plaza and the famous Plaza Burger

Harmony and their fabulous grilled cheese

Nick's wonderful BLT plates

I like bars with TV's, especially if they save one for something other than sports. I'm still smiling back on my last stop at the Plaza and an episode of Seinfeld.
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Postby doddles » Mon Apr 02, 2007 9:34 am

I was going to say Harmony, but they charge cover for some musical acts. So does Monmartre. Brocach has two low-key TVs downstairs, but none upstairs. Of the others mentioned above, The Weary comes closest to what the OP was after, IMO.
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Postby fennel » Mon Apr 02, 2007 6:33 pm

doddles wrote:I was going to say Harmony, but they charge cover for some musical acts. So does Monmartre. Brocach has two low-key TVs downstairs, but none upstairs. Of the others mentioned above, The Weary comes closest to what the OP was after, IMO.


And the Harmony has damn near one television per patron. Downright creepy, I think. I've spent too much time there for lack of a better place nearby. I can't recommend their food, either, though I heard it used to be good "back in the day." What may have changed, I don't know.

Thanks for the the other suggestions.
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Postby Marvell » Mon Apr 02, 2007 7:02 pm

doddles wrote:The Weary comes closest to what the OP was after, IMO.


Except that it's always insanely loud. I don't know if it's the tin ceiling or what, but I always go hoarse shouting when I go to dinner there.
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Postby doddles » Mon Apr 02, 2007 8:45 pm

Marvell wrote:
doddles wrote:The Weary comes closest to what the OP was after, IMO.


Except that it's always insanely loud. I don't know if it's the tin ceiling or what, but I always go hoarse shouting when I go to dinner there.
Yeah - I know what you mean. The music's actually not played that loud, but the acoustics are terrible. It's somewhat better in the first room than in the second one, for what it's worth.

2 other places that are more uppity, but have good food and drinks are the bar in Magnus (sometimes a cover, but not normally, and never in my experience if you were there earlier and had something to eat at the bar), and the bar in Sardine.
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