The Old Fashioned
Taps: 52 / Bottles: 105
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 28 | Reviews: 24 | Show All Ratings:
4.78/5 rDev +16.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$
This is probably my favorite restaurant/bar in Madison. It's the only place I can say is essential to see every time I come to town.
It specializes in Wisconsin food and beer, and in fact other than liquor in the bar, that's about all they serve. They have about 25 different Wisconsin beers on tap and another 50-60 or so in bottle. This is just a breathtaking selection for a bar like this. They even get stuff that's out of season, and it always seems fresh.
The wait staff is very very knowledgable about each of the beers they serve and can make recommendations for or against something. The bartenders especially know a good pour.
The food is outstanding. Anything you get there will be superb. They also offer several types of cheese platters with four or five different styles that pair well with beer they serve on premises.
The only negative - not a fault of the bar - is the location. It's on Capitol Square, and depending on the time of day parking can be a pain. Plus the place is almost always packed, largely because it's on Capitol Square. It gets a diverse crowd that I always enjoy. And if you're there in the afternoon or evenings in the summer or fall, you'll always see the Brewers or Packers on the TV's.
Great, great place.
03-28-2011 22:19:10 | More by cwcolby74
4.59/5 rDev +11.7%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75 | food: 5 | $$
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.
01-21-2013 21:02:44 | More by Natural1
4.55/5 rDev +10.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $
The beer selection at this joint has elevated from impressive to other-worldly. Don't come here for the latest Bells release. Dont come here for the most recent belgian fad. Madison has TONS of great bars to satisfy those needs. This place currently has 29 taps and 151 bottles. 3 of those are from outside the state lines and their presence is almost as a joke.
29 taps range from blatz/schlitz/pbr at dirt prices to NG imperial saison, tyranena scurvy, cw imperial stout, lake louie kiss the lips at also insanely low prices (most expensive pint was 4 freaking dollars). The fact that you can get the latest hype from great places like red eye, titletown, o'so and many other Wisco breweries with very limited distribution is extremely impressive.
If you are visiting from out of state, you would be a god-damned fool not to stop here.
I dont want this place to get too bad a rap, because I really like it and have never had a bad experience
The Old Fashioned is located on the capital square and has views of the capital building from inside. There is minimal outdoor seating that is greatly overshadowed by the outdoor seating next door at Harvest. The indoor atmosphere is pretty sweet. Its a traditional wisconsin design filled with really interesting old beer signs from all the traditional Wisco Macros. Theres a fair amount of tables and a bar with 10-15 bar stools at least I would say. There are a couple of nice flat panel tv screens as well.
The beer selection is very interesting. It's all wisconsin. The menu does feature two "imports", budweiser and bud light. I find that hilarious! The tap list is not terribly interesting as it features a lot of local lagers...breweries included are New Glarus, Fauerbach, Harbor City, Hausmann, Capital, and South Shore along with a handful of wisco macros. The best tap beer is Sand Creek Wild Ride IPA which is very quality. Bottles expand on the wisconsin breweries and include some of the more interesting New Glarus beers from Belgian Red to an Unplugged. Obviously, with a name like the old fashioned, they make a mean old fashioned. I enjoy the makers mark version.
Service is hit or miss for the most part but we had a phenomenal waiter the last time I was in.
The food is great...mostly traditional wisco fare with local ingredients when possible. I had a great portabella/eggplant sandwich when i was there last. I will also vouch for their walleye fish fry and wonderful chicken sandwich. Good quality bread makes a good sandwich. The house burger features a fried egg which I enjoyed as well
08-27-2006 00:38:50 | More by dirtylou
4.45/5 rDev +8.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$
Visited for a late dinner after the Great Taste. What a cool place, glad my friend and off and on resident of Madison knew of this local hangout.
Nice atmosphere with large picture windows in the front. Exposed brick walls with lots of novel and interesting americana on the walls. Wood all around, from the large bar to the expansive seating. Our large group of 11 was seating quickly at a massive table.
The beer selection was WI centric. Micros such as New Glarus, Lakefront, Central Waters, Lake Louie, Capital and Viking. I didnt even look at the bottle selections as I knew one beer would be all for me!
The food was great. We started off with one of the 4 selections of the artisinal WI cheese plates...wonderful. I had a whitefish entree that was simply delectable. The rest of our group enjoyed their food as well, no complaints that I heard.
Our server was excellant. She flew around making sure we were ok with water and beers and everything else. For such a large, and at times rowdy bunch, she handled us far beyond her years. She even made sure we got our food orders in before the 10 PM cutoff time. I came away with nothing but good feeling from the way we were taken care of.
Overall The Old Fashioned was a standout of our trip to Madison, save of course the Fest itself. I am very much looking forward to a return trip and dine there again.
08-15-2008 07:00:29 | More by Deuane
4.45/5 rDev +8.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$$
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!
06-08-2011 21:35:08 | More by HopHeadHurls
4.33/5 rDev +5.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$
Tap selection has much improved, showcasing many local seasonals and specialty beers. Had O'So Hop Whoopin, Lakefront IBA, and Tyranena Scurvy here over the weekend. Can't fault them for being busy, their popularity is well deserved. Brunch in the 2nd bar area wsa relaxed and the food was great. Easily the most interesting tap list in Madison for local beer (around the square anyway). We've been here 6-8 times, and will keep coming back to the Old Fashioned indefinitely. If you don't like WI-brewed beer, you're in the wrong place...
First stop for us on the recent GTOM pre-ticket sale pub crawl. Arrived around 1:30-2pm as the lunch crowd began to dissipate.
Big windows in the front, double door waiting area. Lots of sunlight in the front during the day. Exposed brick walls with lots of kitschy 20th century americana decorating the walls. Nice wood tables and flooring, even the wood of the bar had a nice weathered texture to it. In the evening the lighting was low, from a row of paper lanterns high above the back bar, and a row of dim lamps directly above the bar itself.
Beer selection focused on WI micros, such as Central Waters, Lake Louie, Capital, etc. There were a couple bottles from Viking, Berserk Barleywine & Hot Chocolate. There was room for improvement, we didn't see anything especially limited such as Tyranena BGW series, or New Glarus Unplugged series. Taps were mostly local, with several great seasonals.
Food was great, had the burger for lunch, and pork shoulder for dinner. Evening crowd was decidedly more trendy, but the wait for a table wasn't too long. Afternoon visit was a little more enjoyable, sitting at the bar. The atmosphere was the standout, but the service and selection were also respectable.
05-02-2011 16:58:12 | More by emerge077
4.33/5 rDev +5.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$
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.
05-15-2009 16:59:26 | More by drseamus
4.3/5 rDev +4.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Man, that's a lot of beers to choose from. If you want to try something from Wisconsin, this is a good place to do it. If you want to try a lot of somethings from Wisconsin...well, you get the idea.
The place was pretty packed and hectic while I was there. I'm sure they're pouring in for the cheese curds as much as the beer. Nice decor. Clientele seemed a bit stuffier than some of the other places in Madison, but that could be because the capitol building is nearby? Regardless, I would stop back here any chance I had.
08-30-2012 17:53:54 | More by RblWthACoz
4.2/5 rDev +2.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $
Went here for a few local beers based on other comments, on a Friday night around 11pm. Was here for a marriage the next day for my oldest niece.
Very crowded, room a the back of the bar. Friendly place, big wood bar long enough for 30 or more stools, with big tables for large groups. The back bar extends to the ceiling with room for lots of glass and liquor. Very old looking. Didn't notice any food, but wasn't seeking any.
Bar tenders very busy but got right to me.
12 beers on draft and a deep bottle list. Lots of great WI beers and good selection of others. All tap selections available as pitchers, the New Glarus Oktoberfest was a great deal at $2.50 for a pint, $9 for a pitcher on promotion. Most taps very reasonable around $3-$4. The unusual ones were usually in a bottle, but I stuck with the taps, as expected choices include Lake Louie, Ale Asylum, Tyrania, etc.
Just a great solid beer bar, can't go wrong, plenty of folks drinking hard stuff too, crowd is 20 somethings, but not a problem if you're older. As Arnold would say, "I'll be back".
09-15-2008 20:18:10 | More by robbyc1
4.2/5 rDev +2.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
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.
03-12-2010 02:15:02 | More by stoops
The Old Fashioned in Madison, WI
91 out of 100 based on 28 ratings.