Posts Tagged ‘Madison bars’

Lucky’s: A bar with a lot of tvs

August 27, 2009

I was at Lucky’s for the first time in a long time yesterday evening. I had come for the famous Lucky’s trivia, which I was surprised to learn is run by an outside contractor. Really? Isn’t there one guy on staff who can look through Wikipedia and come up with some 20 questions?

Lucky’s is a big bar. It’s got two big rooms and there is a notice above the urinals that boats more than 50 tvs in the bar. It’s not hard to believe – there seemed to be every baseball game possible going on, including my beloved Phillies.

The drink specials were considerably better than the ones on trivia night at the City. At the City, they advertise $2.50 Bud Light bottles, whereas Lucky’s was offering two-for-one Bud Light bottles – I believe for around $3. Much better deal. They also have $1 corndogs.

Thursday night is the night to be at Lucky’s. It’s virtually impossible to beat a $1 tap deal offered – although my brother once told me of a place in Philadelphia where they’d offer you the beer for half the price if you shotgunned it.

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Bars: The Plaza

August 21, 2009

How cliché. I went to the Plaza for the first time since moving in practically next door and who do I run into other than Danny Spirn of the Critical Badger and Mac Verstandig, the flamboyantly right wing former editor-in-chief of the Badger Herald. After reminding Verstandig about the last time I had seen him – which featured Verstanding in a new McCain-Palin polo, pontificating to the herald office about Florida’s unbreakably red character – I went to the bar to inquire about drink specials, but more importantly, the famous Plaza burger.

Drink specials weren’t that bad. Top-o-the-line rum cocktails for $2.50 on a Tuesday night and $2 off pitchers. Top shelf rum is cool, but when you offer that deal, it makes a guy like me imagine an even cheaper drink with rail rum. Just a suggestion. I think I’m going to make that one in person as well, since the staff seemed very friendly – and oddly sophisticated.

The burger was pretty good, although it’s not very big. There’s some kind of ranch sauce they put on it. The Plaza definitely has cheap bar food, which, believe it or not, is something that quite a few Madison bars lack.

During the day the inside of the bar is an eye sore. A long hall of white floor, almost completely devoid of sunlight. But at night there’s something that happens to the Plaza that brings out a certain charm that apparently has worked for decades. It’s garnered somewhat of a cult status in certain Madison circles, as noted by the Critical Badger.

Good food, good drinks, good people. Now that Ramhead is closed, I can comfortably say the Plaza is the best bar on my block.

Groups look to re-open Cafe Montmartre

August 6, 2009

Cafe Monmartre, a bar and restaurant I once described as “much better than Wando’s,” may be back in action soon. One of the people rumored to be organizing a team of investors told me not to spread speculation on future ownership, so I will not mention names. Has the press also followed this request, or is it just totally out of the loop? It’s a story I’ve heard from several sources, including from a member of the city council.

Questions that interest me – how much would a purchase cost? Are the current owners going to absorb a loss on the sale, and was profitability the main issue in the decision to close the bar? What will the new owners do to make the place profitable? I’ve heard talk about decreasing the emphasis on the “restaurant.” The vast majority of patrons were there to get a drink and listen to music but the place nevertheless boasted a gourmet menu, which may have been a drag on profits. Unfortunately these are questions that have not appeared in the press yet.

Granted, bars and restaurants come and go all the time. But I would much prefer to see reports on those little slices of social drama than the endless reports of crime that plaster the front pages of the State Journal and Cap Times. The front page of Madison.com (the joint site of the Journal and the Times) has featured the mug of some guy who committed a murder 20 years ago for what feels like an eternity, and I have yet to bother clicking on the story. OK, now I finally did so I could show it to you, dear reader who loves crime stories because you see it as a manifestation of Shakespearean drama in the 21st century.

Jordan’s Big 10 – It looks better inside

July 23, 2009

Jordan’s Big 10 Pub, another proud member of the Regent St all-star crew. It wasn’t until recently that I met somebody who’d ever been to the pub, let a lone praised it. Not only are the windows tinted, but the two layers of glass doors are so dark that the establishment often appears closed upon arrival. I always assumed it was a seedy dive/sports bar. I was determined to check it out. So I was slightly disappointed the first time I got there to find out that it was not really a dive at all – it more closely resembles the bar section of ESPN center in NYC. TV’s line the walls (although only a few flat screens) with various sports programming. The place is fairly well lit and clean. The staff is friendly.

The fried macaroni and cheese bits are delightful and you don’t have to ask for the ranch, although you do have to ask for the fries that are supposed to accompany the curds. You have to try them. The drink specials are OK – if you’re into rum they have 2 for 1 rum mixers on Wednesday. But no happy hour deal, so it’s not worth going until after 8.

Big 10 is also a good choice for people looking to have a conversation with friends without having to yell. The music is usually pretty good – a lot of oldies at a reasonable volume.