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The Old Fashioned

Not Rated.
The Old FashionedThe Old Fashioned

30 Reviews
Reviews: 30
Visits: 69
Avg: 4.13
pDev: n/a
Taps: 52
Bottles: 105
Cask: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

23 N Pinckney St
Ste 1
Madison, Wisconsin, 53703-4207
United States
phone: (608) 310-4545

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Place added by: DaPeculierDane on 01-17-2006

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Place: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 30 | Visits: 69
Photo of tourdot
4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

A must-stop, family friendly place with a ton of great Wisconsin food and beer. Remember, its WI only beer but they have over 100 varieties including some really great offerings at very reasonable prices. The food is outstanding; fish fry and cheese curds are my favorite. Due to its reputation and location, this place does get very busy so expect a crowd if you are going during meal hours. They have a full food and beer menu available on their website.

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Photo of Abbbp
4.13/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I Just want everyone to know not to get the $75 cheese. Other than that, it was a tremendous night of laughter and fare- solid people, tremendous service, and the beer selection was heavy on quality WI brew no doubt.

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Photo of cbutova
4.28/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Stopped in for lunch during a long drive from Chicago to Toppling Goliath. As advertised they have a huge selection of both drafts and bottles. Being from out of state there were probably 20+ brews I could have chosen and been satisfied with; a lot of good sounding locals brews I had never heard of. Food and vibe were both good as well. Old school, down to earth dining room and bar with mostly wood interior. Had the WI brat sandwich and also sampled some of a fish sandwich. Both were on-point for a cheap lunch sandwich. Recommended by the only person I knew of from WI and definitely made the perfect stop for lunch.

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Photo of SerialTicker
4.6/5  rDev +11.4%

*My review from Yelp*

Well that's just about the best experience anyone could ever have anywhere... ever.

As you can see from my picture, I got the No. 30 with cheese curds, and it was one of the better burgers I've ever eaten. The description of it isn't especially innovative, legendary, or "YOU-CAN-ONLY-GET-IT-HERE", but it tasted absolutely awesome... I don't even know what else to say. The best part about it had to be the bacon. I don't know if they smoke it themselves or where they get it from, but it was some of the most flavorful bacon I've ever had. As a side, I got the cheese curds, and I thought they were also very good. You kind of sort of can't go to Wisconsin without having cheese curds, soooo yeah. Cheese curds can sometimes be bland, but these ones are just artery clogging deliciousness. Please, don't waste your time dipping them in ketchup... they don't deserve that sacrilege.

The beer selection at The Old Fashioned is also insane with I forget how many dozens of taps, as well as an extensive bottled list. Considering I came in a little before 11am, I didn't find it very appropriate to order a beer. Of course, there were plenty of Mimosas and Bloody Mary's being ordered around the place. The prices for these seemed a little high, but it didn't stop them from being ordered at seemingly every other table. What else is there to do in Madison but drink, though? Alright, that was uncalled for.

No complaints from me... everything was perfectly good and perfect. The place was busy, but we didn't have to wait, there was a nice aesthetic, and the food came out surprisingly quickly. I haven't been to any other restaurants in Madison, but good luck in finding a place that'd be more appealing than The Old Fashioned.

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Photo of 80x2HopHead
4.5/5  rDev +9%

Super solid line up of local and regional craft brews as well as classic national offerings. Buy one get one after 10 which is awesome if you are out late. Great bar tender and fair prices

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Photo of jwenzel019
4.75/5  rDev +15%

One of my favorite places in Madison. A solid selection of WI beer on tap (usually about 30-40 available), complemented by an array of bottled craft beer. The food is also excellent - can't pass on the cheese curds and Old Fashioned burger!

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Photo of leedorham
4.08/5  rDev -1.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4

I've been here a couple times now while visiting Madison and it is one of a few places I'd suggest if you only have time for 1 or 2 stops. There is definitely a very wide selection of beers. Has to be at least 50 different taps. They've expanded recently to increase that number. They do have some lame Hipster bait on tap but the abundant quality local craft on tap makes up for it.

This is also a good place to eat with more than your typical pub fried food fare. Service was a little slow and expect a crowd even on a week night.

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Photo of Natural1
4.59/5  rDev +11.1%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75 | food: 5

The Old Fashioned is a great bar with great Wisconsin beer on tap or in bottles. I have been there to eat and drink about 5 times and have had an enjoyable experience every time.

I drink Ale Asylum Madtown Brown and Grays Oatmeal Stout when there and both are served properly. They have clean tap lines which helps out the whole beer drinking experience immensely. They also have Wisconsin made Baumeister Rootbeer on tap as well to drink with your food.

The food is off the chart. Cheese curds and their monster burgers are a must have. They seem to source their food locally and that is always a good thing. I have only gotten burgers, but the menu is extensive and should be explored more.

The staff is friendly, but not the quickest with their service. Waited a bit a few ti,mes for my beer, but this happens.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.3/5  rDev +4.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Man, that's a lot of beers to choose from. If you want to try something from Wisconsin, this is a good place to do it. If you want to try a lot of somethings from Wisconsin...well, you get the idea.

The place was pretty packed and hectic while I was there. I'm sure they're pouring in for the cheese curds as much as the beer. Nice decor. Clientele seemed a bit stuffier than some of the other places in Madison, but that could be because the capitol building is nearby? Regardless, I would stop back here any chance I had.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4/5  rDev -3.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Atmosphere: Large and classy looking bar with a fairly large dinning area that is separted into several large sections. Look like a laid back place.

Quality/Selection: Stopped in for lunch while beer shopping madison. The menu is focused on premium menu item like grass fed beef and lots of great wisconsin comfort food. Large beer selection on draft and in bottles. Nothing that really stuck out and grabbed my attention.

Service: Sat at the bar and was greated with a menu immediately. Little slow geting my bill, but thats my only complaint.

Food: Had a really tasty burger with wisconsin cheese curds as my side with the burger. It was decent food, but a little bit over priced.

Value: Just a little bit over what I think I should have paid for the meal. Nothing too rediculous though.

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Photo of jegross2
2.85/5  rDev -31%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 1 | selection: 3 | food: 4

I am not a fan of this place for two reasons:

1) Incredibly rude service. They have a book full of beers and a lot of taps, and both times that I have been here, the bar tender treated me condescendingly for not instantly knowing what beer I wanted to try. Also gave me the stink eye for asking for a taste of a specific beer and not liking it (and thus not ordering that one). The bar tender treated me like he was doing me a favor letting me drink at his joint, which was definitely not appreciated.

2) Poor quality for such a large selection. Almost all of the old fashion's beers are Wisconsin beers. There's some hidden gems like Titletown in the mix, but a lot of stuff like Point beers that have no place on a beer menu that boasts it selection of quality. Also, many of the IPA I have had there have been stale.

For what it's worth, however, the food is quite tasty, and they make a mean bloody mary. Ask for the beef-marinated pickled mushrooms!

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Photo of Srodri10
3.93/5  rDev -4.8%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

I went here the other day and I would say that this place has a better beer list than most. To begin The atmosphere was just ok...kinda kitchy/college/loud...a psuedo beer crowd....The beer list has something like 50 beers on tap and they are all WI beers...pretty cool...So you have your New Glarus, Ale Aslyum, Lake Front, Tyranena, and a few other WI breweries I know nothing about....The food...was just ok...the cheese plate of the day was kinda of a dissappointment especially when everyone said how awesome the cheese was...The service was great...the bartender was super nice...and real passionate about beer...proper glassware was used as well...a total pet peeve of mine well averted...all in all I would rather drink here than eat here...so go drink here...cheers....

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Photo of HopHeadHurls
4.45/5  rDev +7.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 5

So, the Old Fashioned has some of the very best cheese curds in Madison (I still prefer Dotty Dumplings Dowry curds). Their food is generally excellent; The Old Fashioned Burger (Bacon, cheese, egg on it) is very tasty, as is their pork sandwich on texas toast. Their beer selection is the best feature, though. They have over 150 Wisconsin beers in bottles and I believe 30 on tap at any given time. They also have a Beer Tour of Wisconsin thing where you have to drink 150 different beers on their list and they stamp it after you're done each night and keep it at the bar. Nice touch. I would go here more often but it's generally packed at lunch and dinner. Due to booths in the bar area it's very hard to gather a group of friends without a table and wait times can be a pain. However, it is worth it for the most part. Very high quality, but certain menu items can be a bit pricey. Also, their brunch is extremely good as well! Nothing beats putting your name in, walking the farmer's market on a weekend, and hurrying back to be seated when your pager goes off!

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Photo of emerge077
4.33/5  rDev +4.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

2011 re-visit:
Tap selection has much improved, showcasing many local seasonals and specialty beers. Had O'So Hop Whoopin, Lakefront IBA, and Tyranena Scurvy here over the weekend. Can't fault them for being busy, their popularity is well deserved. Brunch in the 2nd bar area was relaxed and the food was great. Easily the most interesting tap list in Madison for local beer (around the square anyway). We've been here 6-8 times, and will keep coming back to the Old Fashioned indefinitely. If you don't like WI-brewed beer, you're in the wrong place...

First stop for us on the recent GTOM pre-ticket sale pub crawl. Arrived around 1:30-2pm as the lunch crowd began to dissipate.

Big windows in the front, double door waiting area. Lots of sunlight in the front during the day. Exposed brick walls with lots of kitschy 20th century americana decorating the walls. Nice wood tables and flooring, even the wood of the bar had a nice weathered texture to it. In the evening the lighting was low, from a row of paper lanterns high above the back bar, and a row of dim lamps directly above the bar itself.

Beer selection focused on WI micros, such as Central Waters, Lake Louie, Capital, etc. There were a couple bottles from Viking, Berserk Barleywine & Hot Chocolate. There was room for improvement, we didn't see anything especially limited such as Tyranena BGW series, or New Glarus Unplugged series. Taps were mostly local, with several great seasonals.

Food was great, had the burger for lunch, and pork shoulder for dinner. Evening crowd was decidedly more trendy, but the wait for a table wasn't too long. Afternoon visit was a little more enjoyable, sitting at the bar. The atmosphere was the standout, but the service and selection were also respectable.

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Photo of adman08
4.1/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

If you're visiting Wisconsin this is the one place to stop to get a good idea of what WI has to offer. The food is based on traditional WI fare and the beer list includes over 100 beers brewed in WI. As you might expect they specialize in different versions of the number 1 WI cocktail the old fashioned. You could, for example, stop in, sit down and start with an order of deep fried cheese curds or perhaps a selection of WI cheese. Then move on to something like a double brat or just a good old fashioned burger or maybe a great veggie sandwich. Of course whatever you eat would be accompanied by a great WI beer.

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Photo of cwcolby74
4.78/5  rDev +15.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

This is probably my favorite restaurant/bar in Madison. It's the only place I can say is essential to see every time I come to town.

It specializes in Wisconsin food and beer, and in fact other than liquor in the bar, that's about all they serve. They have about 25 different Wisconsin beers on tap and another 50-60 or so in bottle. This is just a breathtaking selection for a bar like this. They even get stuff that's out of season, and it always seems fresh.

The wait staff is very very knowledgable about each of the beers they serve and can make recommendations for or against something. The bartenders especially know a good pour.

The food is outstanding. Anything you get there will be superb. They also offer several types of cheese platters with four or five different styles that pair well with beer they serve on premises.

The only negative - not a fault of the bar - is the location. It's on Capitol Square, and depending on the time of day parking can be a pain. Plus the place is almost always packed, largely because it's on Capitol Square. It gets a diverse crowd that I always enjoy. And if you're there in the afternoon or evenings in the summer or fall, you'll always see the Brewers or Packers on the TV's.

Great, great place.

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Photo of Birchgrove77
3.75/5  rDev -9.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Stopped by for lunch after the last outdoor Farmer's Market on 11/06/2010.

A: Very nice ambiance. Nice wood bar, with that Northwoods feel, had that cozy feel to it. Dining area had retro/vintage school banners on display. Nice woodfire aroma hit my nose when I first walked in.

S: Waiter was very nice, welcoming and frequently checked back. Kept taking away the beer menu, and he appeared to have to many tables. Maybe shorthanded, unexpected lunch rush? Beers were slow to come out, and the food order took quite a bit longer than expected. Will give the benefit of the doubt and say shorthanded.

S: Love the local food/beer vibe. Food selection was focused on locally sourced ingredients, but carried a wide selection of food. Beer selection was local Wisconsin and very craft focused. Would have liked to see a larger stout selection, but was very happy with my Furthermore Fallen Apple, Three Feet Deep, Sand Creek Cranberry, and Ale Asylum Nut Brown. Out of CW Bourbon Barrel Stout, but I believe that is an early spring seasonal.

F: Very good. Cheese curds were great with Tiger Bleu sauce. Grilled cheese was super cheap and better than I expected. Friend ordered the Veggie sandwich and very much enjoyed this. The Scandanavian Sunday chicken dinner sounded interesting and I loved that you could get bar snacks.

V: I thought the Old Fashioned was super reasonable, bordering on cheap. Would have rated it a lower dollar value, but I didn't really dive into the dinner menu. Can't wait to get back there for lunch or dinner.

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Photo of wisrarebeer
3.8/5  rDev -8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 4.5

Stopped by on a Monday night.

A: nice, older atmosphere with some older advertising
Q: burgers with buy 1/get one, very good burger, best I've had in awhile
S: good, waitress and waiter were attentive and socialable
S: from food good, from beer just average, nothing unusual or out of the ordinary, a good deal of Wisconsin beers but nothing really unique, I had a Lake Louie Tommy's Porter that was very good
F: well made and good for food
V: good value for buy 1/get one for Monday night burgers

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Photo of stoops
4.2/5  rDev +1.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

I've stopped here a few times lately. With the latest visit, this past Saturday night. I've been trying to complete my beer passport, 150 beers from their inventory. It's a marathon alright.

They focus almost exclusively on Wisconsin beers and some are great, others not so much. But having that much choice is what makes this place. It can get crowded on a weekend night, but you can usually find a place to sit at a table, booth or bar.

My brother and his friends like to sample their bar snacks, like turkey gizzards and ham hocks. Which they tell me are great for $1, but i've abstained so far. The local beef jerkey for $1 is good though.

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Photo of botham
4/5  rDev -3.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Old Fashioned is a solid stop in downtown Madison for a few rounds, with a very well crafted beer list that focuses on Wisconsin breweries and has a great variety.

atmosphere is good. the place is narrow and long with a side seating area upon entering and a long bar along the left wall. the place was quite busy on a Saturday afternoon, with tin ceilings and old wooden seating and bar.

service and selection were great. the service was decent, without much knowledge about beer, but friendly and prompt. the beer list is excellent. much thought has gone into choosing the beers, with about thirty in all on tap, all from Wisconsin brewers, with a great variety of both breweries and styles. this BA had a steam beer from Titletown in Green Bay and a Tyranena Oktoberfest. both were nice and fresh.

quality is good. all brews are served in tumblers, which is a bit annoying, but the glassware was clean and the beers were fresh.

food was great. the pulled pork shoulder sandwich was excellent, and the fries were pretty good as well.

overall, for anyone on Capitol Square in Madison, this should be a stop on the list. a couple blocks from Great Dane and possibly the deepest tap list in Madison, this is a great beer bar. cheers!

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Photo of brdc
3.33/5  rDev -19.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 2.5 | food: 4

I tried a number of places in this Madison trip, and this was the biggest disappointment. It does look like an old bar/restaurant, the food is quite good (comfort food), with a good service (courteous although they do not know beer), but unfortunately, the beer selection, despite being relatively large and quite varied, with multiple taps and multiple bottles of multiple breweries, the overall quality of the beers offered is limited.
Every single brewery has only one or two offerings, not necessarily their best ones, and well over half of the menu is filled with average/slightly above average beers. Wisconsin has a lot of better beers to offer than you would guess based on their selection.

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Photo of taylorhamrick
4/5  rDev -3.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

This is just a regular restaurant/bar type place with a little bit of outdoor seating. The 'all-Wisconsin' thing is kind of cool, except the country music. I'm from a place where country music more or less comes from, and I kind of though it was strange to hear so much of it in WI (I heard it elsewhere too). The beer and food are all pretty high quality. Decent pours, which is good, all local, and of course in WI, local means a few of the larger boys, but plenty of good craft. The service was pretty good, helpful waitress, punctual, friendly. The selection was pretty nice, a few little seasonal things from around, some standard type stuff, and plenty of interesting stuff to pick. The food, I thought was really good. The burger was good, the bratwurst I had was good - good food. If this is Wisconsin food, then I don't see how anyone keeps from getting too fat here. And the prices were all right about where I would expect. I good place to visit, and right in the middle of downtown. An interesting spot for dinner and a beer.

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Photo of drseamus
4.33/5  rDev +4.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

First off, this place only has food and beverage from Wisconsin. I'm a big fan of local eating and they've got nearly every damn beer from Wisconsin so that's a 5 on selection. The service for lunch is weird in that you order at the bar and then sit at a table where they deliver your food.

The food incidentally is great. Standard bar/beer food done well. Again, everything local. When I was here in the summer I had the best goddamn BLT in the world with heirloom tomato and locally smoked bacon.

They have 29 beers on tap and a shitload in the bottle. If you can't find something you like here leave the state.

Overall a great place to eat and drink.

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Photo of robbyc1
4.2/5  rDev +1.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Went here for a few local beers based on other comments, on a Friday night around 11pm. Was here for a marriage the next day for my oldest niece.

Very crowded, room a the back of the bar. Friendly place, big wood bar long enough for 30 or more stools, with big tables for large groups. The back bar extends to the ceiling with room for lots of glass and liquor. Very old looking. Didn't notice any food, but wasn't seeking any.

Bar tenders very busy but got right to me.

12 beers on draft and a deep bottle list. Lots of great WI beers and good selection of others. All tap selections available as pitchers, the New Glarus Oktoberfest was a great deal at $2.50 for a pint, $9 for a pitcher on promotion. Most taps very reasonable around $3-$4. The unusual ones were usually in a bottle, but I stuck with the taps, as expected choices include Lake Louie, Ale Asylum, Tyrania, etc.

Just a great solid beer bar, can't go wrong, plenty of folks drinking hard stuff too, crowd is 20 somethings, but not a problem if you're older. As Arnold would say, "I'll be back".

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Photo of Deuane
4.45/5  rDev +7.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Visited for a late dinner after the Great Taste. What a cool place, glad my friend and off and on resident of Madison knew of this local hangout.

Nice atmosphere with large picture windows in the front. Exposed brick walls with lots of novel and interesting americana on the walls. Wood all around, from the large bar to the expansive seating. Our large group of 11 was seating quickly at a massive table.

The beer selection was WI centric. Micros such as New Glarus, Lakefront, Central Waters, Lake Louie, Capital and Viking. I didnt even look at the bottle selections as I knew one beer would be all for me!

The food was great. We started off with one of the 4 selections of the artisinal WI cheese plates...wonderful. I had a whitefish entree that was simply delectable. The rest of our group enjoyed their food as well, no complaints that I heard.

Our server was excellant. She flew around making sure we were ok with water and beers and everything else. For such a large, and at times rowdy bunch, she handled us far beyond her years. She even made sure we got our food orders in before the 10 PM cutoff time. I came away with nothing but good feeling from the way we were taken care of.

Overall The Old Fashioned was a standout of our trip to Madison, save of course the Fest itself. I am very much looking forward to a return trip and dine there again.

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The Old Fashioned in Madison, WI
92 out of 100 based on 30 ratings.