Posts Tagged ‘Bars’

The Pub to be sold

October 19, 2009

According to Ald. Mike Verveer, who sits on the Alcohol License Review Committee, The Pub is in the process of being sold. The transfer of its liquor license from the family that has owned the establishment for decades, the Schweglers, to an unnamed new owner, is scheduled to come before the ALRC in November.

Hence, the renovations and the low-price promotions the current owners oversaw in August were all part of a plan to demonstrate the bar’s continued potential to possible buyers.

Are downtown bars discriminated against?

September 21, 2009

Apparently even the Herald Editorial Board has come out against the Kollege Klub:

Surveillance cameras have one basic function, and that’s to serve as physical evidence in case something goes terribly wrong. Wedding receptions and episodes of “Friends” can be taped over; instances of battery cannot.

My guess is that this editorial was penned by Sean Kittridge.

Some in the community have raised questions about the difference in treatment between downtown and outskirts bars. At the recent meeting of the Downtown Coordinating Committee, ASM rep Erik Paulson asked why the alcohol coordinator was not cracking down harder on Wiggie’s Bar and Grill, which was just recently host to a man who forced someone to strip at gunpoint in the bathroom. According to Paulson, this is not the first of Wiggie’s gun issues. “If this happened in a downtown bar, it’d be long since closed,” he wrote to me in an email.

The Library (the bar)

September 18, 2009

The Library is a chill place. If you’re ever looking for a good gin and tonic and some light reading, such as The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire, or War and Peace, the Library is the place to put up your boots. There’s a roaring fire, the music is calming, and the tvs are usually showing sporting events. Also, if you live on the West side of campus it’s a good alternative to the nearby Stadium Bar.

A word of advice: at least one of their bartenders has no idea how to make a bloody mary. It’s not that it tastes bad – but it might burn the taste buds right off your tongue. Three of us got them last gameday, figuring it would be a good morning drink, and only two of us were able to finish them because they were so saturated in Tabasco sauce.

The Pub

September 10, 2009

I’ve been meaning to address this pressing issue for some time.

The Pub, an institution of Madison inebriation since 1948, was recently renovated. I mean really renovated. Except for one of the bar tenders, hardly any part of the interior resembles the former establishment. The picnic tables and benches are gone, replaced instead by posh oval tables with high chairs and plush booths. The colors are co-ordinated (at least according to my more perceptive friends) and the place feels…clean.

The prices are so low that you are forced to believe they are only low for this short promotionary period. $1.25 taps of domestic anytime. There is no competition for that anywhere downtown. With deals that good, other bars are inevitably going to depend on “atmosphere” arguments. When I pointed this out to a bartender at the City, which is practically next door, she bluntly replied that you “can’t compare us to the Pub.” According to her, I should be willing to pay $2.50 for a bud light to play trivia in an underground den. Unfortunately I might continue to do that because I do really like trivia.

And yet, something died a long with the vomit stained tiles that now lay in a nearby dump. The soul of the Pub, defined in recent memory by a vagrant or semi-vagrant clientele, but also encompassing the distant memories of many former students, including my dad, who got his first legal drink there in 1973 (drinking age 18),  has ascended to tavern heaven, and will never  return. The loud, trendy music that emanates from the jukebox, the hordes of sorority girls grinding on their Greek counterparts…it’s an opportunity opened for some, but perhaps a more valuable one closed to others.

Buck’s Madison Square Garden – why not?

July 16, 2009

If you’re not looking for three solid inches of tequila in a margarita, Buck’s is not for you. My advice even for the partiers and alcoholics – finish your first drink before you order another one. Even if happy hour’s about to end, the bartenders are benevolent and even the regular alcohol to dollar ratio at Buck’s qualifies for a Happy Hour elsewhere. The cheese curds are OK, but not nearly as good as the “cheese balls” at the Dise, and they’re more expensive, although I believe the serving size is slightly bigger.

The bartender and his team of regulars can be counted on to taunt customers for not drinking enough – just play along and politely decline. The best explanation would definitely be money – studying, driving etc. are not generally considered acceptable excuses to abstain from inebriation. The catcalls do not abide by campus norms of political correctness or social awareness.

They’ll also bother you about some promotion deal called “Bucksball.” There’s really no way to avoid it – you have to sign up. But don’t worry, all you have to do is put down a team name and on following visits you’ll get “bases” or “runs” for drinks you buy. If you have enough free time on your hands, you might order enough to win a prize.

There is no way in hell I would have ever gone to Buck’s if I didn’t live nearby. I suggest you stop by.

Cafe Montmartre is “on vacation”

June 30, 2009

A bar that was much better than Wando’s is no more.

Cafe Montmartre, the wine bar and music club that has been at 127 E. Mifflin St. since 1992, has closed, according to the club’s owners.

“After nearly 17 years of operation, Cafe Montmartre closed its doors this week,” Craig and Kevin Spaulding wrote in an e-mail Tuesday. “We tried to hold on, but the current economic conditions have left us no choice. We are very grateful for our many loyal customers, clients and vendors. It’s with tremendous sadness that we’ve made this decision, but we also feel it’s the right decision given the circumstances. We will cherish the memories forever.”

This represents a modest personal loss for all of us [me] chez le Sconz. I went to the bar last night for the weekly French conversation group only to find an ominous “closed for repairs” sign on the front door. Confused, my two companions and I went to the Great Dane, forfeiting the French, although the rest of the Frenchies ironically showed up later at the same place.

It was truly heart breaking to find out this morning that “closed for repairs” was apparently just a euphemism for “closed for good.”

It reminds me of that line from Forrest Gump. “Mama, what does ‘vacation’ mean?” “It means when you leave and you never ever come back.”

Missing in the Sconz, and the Dise

June 19, 2009

Dearest Reader, 

I am going to be out of action today due to a failed attempt to go tubing on the Wolf River in northeast Wisconsin. 

I just wanted to recommend the cheese balls at the Paradise Lounge. They’re legit. Much better than the ones I had a couple days ago at Buck’s. Go at happy hour and get some cheese balls for $4.50 and two for one domestic taps. 119 Main St up by the Capitol.

Wando’s is the worst bar in Madison

June 16, 2009

I feel the same way about the Madison bar scene as I do about Hollywood. I indulge in it, I enjoy some of it. Yet I will never cease to be amazed by the amount of poor quality products put out by it. The Van Wilders, the Vanilla Skies, the Madhatters, the Wando’s. Wando’s is to Madison as 24 is to network television. It is certainly not the only bad product in its field, but it is without a doubt one of the worst.

I say this with confidence despite not having gone to all the bars in Madison. It’s really just an awful, godforsaken embarrassment to Madison night life. It’s unfortunate that they are known to have such a strict carding policy – it seriously reduces the chances that they’ll be shut down and turned into a fish taco joint – something Madison sorely needs.

I had the misfortune of attending Wando’s last night on the occassion of two of my friends’ birthday. After making our way past a glaring troupe of bouncers (how many do you really need on a Monday night?), we were practically pulvarized by what I believe was Korn playing at full decibel. Again, it’s ironic that the bar is not known to cater to underagers, because their trademark drink “the fishbowl” seems marketed not only at people under the drinking age, but kids under the new legal hunting age.

UPDATE: It was practically poetic. One day after making this post I got a call from an old friend who had just gotten back into town. And…long story short, I ended up at Wando’s again. I know, I have no principles. Truth be told, the fight over the girls bathroom and a bar-wide rendition of Kid Rock’s “Sweet Home Alabama” song was good entertainment.


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