Der Rathskeller / The Memorial Union Terrace.
Taps: 22 / Bottles: 8
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 18 | Reviews: 17 | Show All Ratings:
3.79/5 rDev -8.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | $
Sat on the terrace today to unwind post-GTMW '11. Had a pitcher of Gray's Rathskeller Amber, and watched the sailboats go by. The Rathskeller didn't open up until 3pm on Sunday, but there were a few decent craft options outside (House Amber/Oberon/SNPA). Didn't need a student ID outside to buy beer, though one friend was a WI Union member. Not sure about inside, as they were closed when we were there, but you could wander through the space.
Inside the list was: Hopalicious, Madtown Nutbrown, Oberon, Two Hearted, Capital Wheat, Franziskaner, Optimator, Stella, Alpha King, and Gumballhead.
The interior mimics an old German bierhalle, while serving as a functional cafeteria type space. Weathered dark walls with murals, wide arches and wooden beams, scattered with heavy wooden tables, scratched deep with decades-old graffito.
In warm weather, the terrace can't be beat. Patio tables, lake view, lots of people, students, families, older folks... everybody.
08-15-2011 03:13:06 | More by emerge077
3.93/5 rDev -5.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5 | $$
Transcribed from notes dated Su, 09 Aug 2009.
The Rathskeller was very reminiscent of Pitt's Cathedral of Learning with the vaulted medieval arches and all of the German slogans in Olde English typeface on the walls. Lots of wood everywhere - tables, chairs, picnic benches. Wow! There were eighteen taps, many rotating, most with the same Midwestern/Great Lakes focus that I had noted at other places around town. I think that the draw here was the atmosphere and view over selection. Speaking of the view, I headed outside to contemplate Lake Mendota at sunset. A day prior, I had been gazing at Lake Monona. Ah, to be a sailor again ...
06-28-2010 01:24:48 | More by woodychandler
4.25/5 rDev +2.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
atmosphere: a perfect 5...The most enjoyable place to drink a beer that I have ever been to. fantastic lakeside setting with tons of outdoor tables, live music, a boat launch and always a lot of activity in the summer. its an absolute must-experience in my opinion. UW students could not possibly understand how well they have it. I went to two universities; ncst's student union is just a piece of crap building in the middle of everything else...ND has a pretty nice old building which is a cool place to hang out but neither serve beer and neither are lakeside
quality: Good people, good beer, great setting...yeah its quality. -.5 points for paper cups, but hey nothings perfect
service: its pretty much self service...theres and outside bar with a few taps and an indoor one with about 20
selection: for what it is, the selection is more than adequate. This is not a beer bar, its a meeting place and a prime social spot. That being said, this is wisconsin, so of course it has great beer. Last time I was there I noted... Bells 2 hearted (which tasted immaculate), Bells Oberon, Capital Oktoberfest, Sprecher Amber, Great Lakes Burning River, a couple New Glarus, some german brews, and a few domestics
food: I've never eaten indoors at the Rathskeller but I had a dynamite brat outside one afternoon
value: pitchers are pretty cheap, 16oz draft for $4 works for me
08-26-2006 00:30:36 | More by dirtylou
4.13/5 rDev -0.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
The Memorial Union has undergone a bit of a facelift inside in the past few years. However the Rathskeller and the Terrace seem pretty much the same as always. The Rath is kinda dark and you have to be a Union member in order to get a pitcher. Many times someone will be a sport and assist you with that however.
The Terrace is an awesome place for a summer evening of lounging and when a concert is taking place it can be quite lively and at times difficult to find a place to sit.
I'm gonna put food at N/A although the cafeteria that took the place of the old one in the Rath was fantastic, especially for a Sunday Brunch. It was also extremely inexpensive. The drafts at the Rath and Terrace generally contain beers like Gray's and things like Optimator or Salvator.
An awesome place, how could one go wrong?
06-08-2006 18:11:49 | More by GCBrewingCo
4.43/5 rDev +7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $
The best place to drink beer in Madison, period.
One of the best places to drink beer in the state.
The Rathskeller is early 20th century, mock german fun with a great juke box and a a fabulous selection of taps.
The terrace is...well...a huge terrace, just outside the Rathskeller on Lake Mendota on the UW campus.
Someday I'll elaborate on this review but for now I'll leave it to a couple brief annecdotes that offer a good idea of what drinking at the terrace can be like:
Last year I watched the Violent Femmes for free from my chair on the water with a 22 oz cup of Leinie's creamy dark in my hand.
Two year ago I got wasted on Z-Optimator at a free Buzzcocks show and jumped in the lake with several lovely young ladies.
Three years ago I danced like a baffoon with a cheap pitcher of the Franz while Arrested Development played Marleys Redemption Song.
Six summers ago I drank from a 44 oz cup of Rolling Rock that cost me something like 4 bucks while listening to well, I cant remember what I was listening to, I was drinking 44 oz Rolling Rocks for 4 bucks, what can I say.
At any rate, the Terrace is the best place in Madison for beer and it just simply rocks.
11-02-2005 03:48:04 | More by DaPeculierDane
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
3.79/5 rDev -8.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | $$
Second time here on 8 Jul 2011, late afternoon. Very nice weather on the patio, probably room for 400 people outside. Split a couple of pitchers of Bells (Two Hearted and Oberon) with ratatat. Mostly all micros on tap, Bells, Capitol, New Glarus, Ale Asylum. There is a Rathskeller specially brewed for them. Good atmosphere. Band took forever to set up. Saw a dude with an A&M shirt but realized he wasn't from Texas when I saw him sweating in the shade when it was 82 degrees out. Ratatat reminds everyone you must have a membership card to buy beer here.
07-08-2011 22:47:36 | More by htomsirveaux
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
4.13/5 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
4.01/5 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
Der Rathskeller / The Memorial Union Terrace. in Madison, WI
92 out of 100 based on 18 ratings.