Der Rathskeller / The Memorial Union Terrace.
Taps: 22 / Bottles: 8
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 24 | Reviews: 17 | Display Reviews Only:
4.01/5 rDev -3.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | $
This is my go-to place whenever I visit Madison. During summer, it's one of my ultimate pleasures to sit on the Terrace behind the Union building and split a pitcher (or two) with my buddy. The lake is right in front of you, they have live music on weekends, and I'm not gonna lie, there's no shortage of UW cuties hanging out and walking by.
The Rathskeller is inside the Union, and as a person who went to college at a university with a dry campus, I almost can't believe UW has something like this. It's a full-fledged beer bar with about a dozen different beers on tap. Good beers, not crappy ones. And the prices are pretty awesome for what you're getting.
There's a cafeteria connected to the seating area for the Rathskeller, so there's food nearby, but I didn't try any.
I look forward to coming to this place every year.
03-26-2011 17:32:41 | More by cwcolby74
3.93/5 rDev -5.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5 | $$
Transcribed from notes dated Su, 09 Aug 2009.
The Rathskeller was very reminiscent of Pitt's Cathedral of Learning with the vaulted medieval arches and all of the German slogans in Olde English typeface on the walls. Lots of wood everywhere - tables, chairs, picnic benches. Wow! There were eighteen taps, many rotating, most with the same Midwestern/Great Lakes focus that I had noted at other places around town. I think that the draw here was the atmosphere and view over selection. Speaking of the view, I headed outside to contemplate Lake Mendota at sunset. A day prior, I had been gazing at Lake Monona. Ah, to be a sailor again ...
06-28-2010 01:24:48 | More by woodychandler
4.26/5 rDev +2.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | $$
The terrace is the spot to be whenever it's a nice day out. Can be relaxing in the afternoons, or buzzing at night when bands come to play.
The Rathskellar is incredible too. Looks great, feels authentic... I love it.
As for beer, there are always a number of good Wisconsin micros(Capitol, Ale Asylum, Leinies, among others), and a couple of staple macros too (PBR, Miller). Generally a few german beers on tap as well, for authenticity, and this selection really makes the place feel homely. Plenty of German heritage around here (myself included), and it really is, simply put, enjoyable.
04-13-2010 17:43:29 | More by AmberMan22
4.26/5 rDev +2.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | $$
There's no better place in Madison to have a beer w/ friends on a sunny spring/summer/fall day. The Terrace is a Madison tradition - it has the best waterfront location in the city, features free concerts for most of the year (inside Der Rathskellar, as well) trademark multi-colored tables and chairs (made in nearby Oregon, WI), and a solid selection of beer.
I haven't been there in a few months, but they generally have a few New Glarus and Capital beers on tap, as well as Hopalicious, several Germans, Two-Hearted Ale, Oberon, and the normal swill. I'm sure I'm forgetting stuff (Lake Louie or Ale Asylum's Ambergeddon?).
04-05-2010 20:21:51 | More by klikger
3.99/5 rDev -3.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | $
two visits to the terrace, each time leaving both fully satisfied and completely jealous that there's nothing that even approaches this in my locale, once just to chill and once for a pretty rowdy Deerhunter-No Age-Dan Deacon round-robin type deal
the terrace is a sprawling split-level patio overlooking the sizable but generally placid Lake Mendota, dotted with sailboats and the opposite shore distant on the horizon, it makes for a gorgeous place to relax and enjoy either one or a dozen pitchers, and is prime people-watching territory in the warmer season, the Rathskeller seems pretty chill - musty, the kind of place that's seen some things, but I've only passed through either to pick up a beer at the bar or on my way to the restroom, the only catch is the necessity of a student ID buy beer - but this shouldn't be a dealbreaker
selection is pretty standard for the area - enough locals to keep anyone reasonably happy, Two-Hearted is a favorite and is supposedly pretty consistently on, other selections have included Goose Island IPA and Lakefront IPA, I've seen service in both paper or plastic cups and plastic pitchers, but that's to be expected given the serving arrangement and concrete footing
08-27-2009 02:39:31 | More by blackie
3.85/5 rDev -7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | $
This is a very peculiar place. It is the student's union, but it has the best location in town. Right on the water, with a lake view, and partial capitol view depending where you are. A nice stage, in this particular night a blues band, multiple setas, most outside, some inside.
Small but decent selection, very good prices. I did not try the food, so cannot comment. Overall, a great vibe, great view, decent beer despite the small selection.
It is limited by the fact you need student ID to buy beer, so unfortunately it is not for everyone.
08-11-2009 01:48:34 | More by brdc
4.53/5 rDev +9.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
This place is awesome. Easily the best union I've ever been too. The beer selection is damn good and pretty cheap, it usually consists of sconnie micros.
There's two parts of the Union; the Terrace and the Rathskeller.
The terrace is a beautiful spot behind the union right on Lake Mendota. The colorful seats and tables add a nice touch to the Terrace. Live music is played frequently, for free, and on a sunny day I can't think of a better way to enjoy a good beer.
http://pmo.umext.maine.edu/ct/2005%20C&T%20Website/ipcm.wisc.edu/workshop2005/images/Union_Terrace_Balcony%20View.JPG *copy paste for picture*
The Rathskeller is the German inspired bar in the Union. The dimly light establishment is covered from wall to wall in colorful animated characters. Music is also played here, also for free, and it is the next best thing on a rainy/snowy day when the terrace isn't opened.
Overall this place is awesome and my favorite place in Madison to grab a beer. The only bad thing about the Memorial Union is it closes relatively early.
03-22-2009 04:27:52 | More by DarbyOGill
3.99/5 rDev -3.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | $$
My favorite place to see live music in Madison in the summer. And it's always FREE!!! Stage is set up in front of the lake and they have good music all summer, and inside during the other season(it's Wisconsin). The Rathskeller(inside) is made to look like a German beer hall and has been there forever. The beer selection is pretty impressive for a public university union. Always has Edmund Fitzgerald, Capital Seasonal, Ale Asylum, New Glarus, Sprecher, and some various Wisco lagers. Usually only one of each brewery on tap, definitly not a beer bar on par with Malt House/brassV, but for live music and good beer you can't beat this place. Always one of my favorite places to go in Madison.
02-05-2009 01:54:13 | More by abents
4.13/5 rDev -0.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $
I'm rating this place with great anticipation of spending some quality time here this spring after a rough winter. I've spent many hours here, just killing time or taking a pause at the start or end of a bike ride with visiting friends. The selection is decent, but I usually go with the Bell's, and the service is good. I confess I've also drunk my share of PBR here. The atmosphere, both inside and out, is excellent. You can't beat the view of the lake and all the passers-by on a hot day, and this is truly the place to be. Since the Union has everything from brats to fajitas to ice cream, there's something for everyone, but I usually stick to my pitcher.
03-30-2008 14:29:14 | More by BoitSansSoif
4.28/5 rDev +3.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
Oh the memories. God how I loved this place. You can sit indoors in a unique faux-German den or just grab a beer from a window and sit on the "Terrace" on the shore of Lake Mendota (not recommended in winter, however, though I have done it). Beer drinking and good times have a long tradition in Madison, and who knows how far back this place goes? Good beers now that small breweries have come back to Wisconsin. In the summer you can buy some brats - the real Wisconsin experience.
If you are a reader of Beer Advocate you are damn near certain to love this place. One warning: the pub owners of Madison pressured the university to allow only registered students, faculty and staff to buy here. So make sure you meet up with someone with a registration card.
08-31-2006 03:29:24 | More by nohead02
Der Rathskeller / The Memorial Union Terrace. in Madison, WI
92 out of 100 based on 24 ratings.