The Old Fashioned
Taps: 52 / Bottles: 105
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 36 | Reviews: 24 | Display Reviews Only:
2.85/5 rDev -30.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 1 | selection: 3 | food: 4 | $$
I am not a fan of this place for two reasons:
1) Incredibly rude service. They have a book full of beers and a lot of taps, and both times that I have been here, the bar tender treated me condescendingly for not instantly knowing what beer I wanted to try. Also gave me the stink eye for asking for a taste of a specific beer and not liking it (and thus not ordering that one). The bar tender treated me like he was doing me a favor letting me drink at his joint, which was definitely not appreciated.
2) Poor quality for such a large selection. Almost all of the old fashion's beers are Wisconsin beers. There's some hidden gems like Titletown in the mix, but a lot of stuff like Point beers that have no place on a beer menu that boasts it selection of quality. Also, many of the IPA I have had there have been stale.
For what it's worth, however, the food is quite tasty, and they make a mean bloody mary. Ask for the beef-marinated pickled mushrooms!
11-12-2011 20:58:16 | More by jegross2
3.33/5 rDev -19%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 2.5 | food: 4 | $$
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.
08-11-2009 01:52:09 | More by brdc
3.75/5 rDev -8.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
Stopped by for lunch after the last outdoor Farmer's Market on 11/06/2010.
A: Very nice ambiance. Nice wood bar, with that Northwoods feel, had that cozy feel to it. Dining area had retro/vintage school banners on display. Nice woodfire aroma hit my nose when I first walked in.
S: Waiter was very nice, welcoming and frequently checked back. Kept taking away the beer menu, and he appeared to have to many tables. Maybe shorthanded, unexpected lunch rush? Beers were slow to come out, and the food order took quite a bit longer than expected. Will give the benefit of the doubt and say shorthanded.
S: Love the local food/beer vibe. Food selection was focused on locally sourced ingredients, but carried a wide selection of food. Beer selection was local Wisconsin and very craft focused. Would have liked to see a larger stout selection, but was very happy with my Furthermore Fallen Apple, Three Feet Deep, Sand Creek Cranberry, and Ale Asylum Nut Brown. Out of CW Bourbon Barrel Stout, but I believe that is an early spring seasonal.
F: Very good. Cheese curds were great with Tiger Bleu sauce. Grilled cheese was super cheap and better than I expected. Friend ordered the Veggie sandwich and very much enjoyed this. The Scandanavian Sunday chicken dinner sounded interesting and I loved that you could get bar snacks.
V: I thought the Old Fashioned was super reasonable, bordering on cheap. Would have rated it a lower dollar value, but I didn't really dive into the dinner menu. Can't wait to get back there for lunch or dinner.
11-09-2010 23:52:01 | More by Birchgrove77
3.8/5 rDev -7.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 4.5 | $$
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
10-21-2010 02:41:42 | More by wisrarebeer
3.93/5 rDev -4.4%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5 | $$
I went here the other day and I would say that this place has a better beer list than most. To begin The atmosphere was just ok...kinda kitchy/college/loud...a psuedo beer crowd....The beer list has something like 50 beers on tap and they are all WI beers...pretty cool...So you have your New Glarus, Ale Aslyum, Lake Front, Tyranena, and a few other WI breweries I know nothing about....The food...was just ok...the cheese plate of the day was kinda of a dissappointment especially when everyone said how awesome the cheese was...The service was great...the bartender was super nice...and real passionate about beer...proper glassware was used as well...a total pet peeve of mine well averted...all in all I would rather drink here than eat here...so go drink here...cheers....
07-26-2011 02:54:52 | More by Srodri10
4/5 rDev -2.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
Took my mom here last year for her birthday. A decent selection of local brews on tap. The place had a considerable dinner crowd, and we were seated by the door, so it was pretty cold with all the coming and going. The waitstaff was attentive and polite, and we ordered a sample plate that had the type of crazy sampler stuff that I like. I also remember ordering some smoked fish, and a sandwich, both of which were quite tasty. The atmosphere and dim but ample lighting was pleasant, the prices not low, but reasonable considering the food was of a higher caliber than your average joint, and the overall selection was ample, and up anyone's alley. I intended to come back again soon, but have not. I should.
Edited Sept 09: Went back here numerous times this year. Food keeps getting better, service was good, and I joined the passport dealy where you check off the 300 beers one by one from Wisconsin. I had this beer cheddar soup that was absolutely awesome, but a little heavy to the point that I wasn't that hungry anymore afterward.
04-21-2008 13:17:03 | More by BoitSansSoif
4/5 rDev -2.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$
Old Fashioned is a solid stop in downtown Madison for a few rounds, with a very well crafted beer list that focuses on Wisconsin breweries and has a great variety.
atmosphere is good. the place is narrow and long with a side seating area upon entering and a long bar along the left wall. the place was quite busy on a Saturday afternoon, with tin ceilings and old wooden seating and bar.
service and selection were great. the service was decent, without much knowledge about beer, but friendly and prompt. the beer list is excellent. much thought has gone into choosing the beers, with about thirty in all on tap, all from Wisconsin brewers, with a great variety of both breweries and styles. this BA had a steam beer from Titletown in Green Bay and a Tyranena Oktoberfest. both were nice and fresh.
quality is good. all brews are served in tumblers, which is a bit annoying, but the glassware was clean and the beers were fresh.
food was great. the pulled pork shoulder sandwich was excellent, and the fries were pretty good as well.
overall, for anyone on Capitol Square in Madison, this should be a stop on the list. a couple blocks from Great Dane and possibly the deepest tap list in Madison, this is a great beer bar. cheers!
09-20-2009 15:00:50 | More by botham
4/5 rDev -2.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
Old Review from late 2005 or early 2006
First the good points The place looks sharp. Forest-green, antiqueish tin lines the ceiling. The walls are a combination of antique light brick and antiqued plaster. The bar holds about twenty stools and three or four large round booths line the opposite wall. The front restaurant area is comprised of several inauspicious small tables that are just a bit too close together so that things get a little tight when its busy and its always busy.
When the Old Fashioned opened it quickly became a favorite spot for my co-workers because of their above-par cocktail list and close proximity to our workplace. My interest was more beer oriented.
The Old Fashioned offers about 15 beers on tap and 30 in the bottle. Almost all of them are from Wisconsin. Breweries represented at the OF include New Glarus (even one unplugged offering), Falls, South Shore, Slab City, Viking, Sprecher, Lake Louie, Huber, and a whole host of others.
The food at the old fashioned is pricy and hit or miss. I recommend the Lazy Susan snack plate featuring Wisconsin meats and cheeses as well as pickeled eggs and other nasty Wisconsin traditional cuisine. The cheese curds are decent too and come less battered and more fluffy than one will find at other establishments. Typical pub fare is well balanced with pastas and other creative offerings although I havent heard anybody rave about anything in particular yet.
Now here comes the big problem.
The Old Fashioned, despite being named after the state drink, is not a bar and does not like drinkers. To make matters worse, their staff is incredibly rude in the way they go about conveying this feeling.
If you go to the Old Fashioned, plan on eating a full meal or they wont let you have a table. Even then, dont plan on sitting around and enjoying a pint after you finish your burger. The staff will start pushing you out the door halfway into your first French fry and they dont have any hesitation about being overly affront about it. In my experience, this is less of a problem after around 10 pm or so but even then they can be rude if its at all busy.
Overall, I like most of whats going on at the Old Fashioned but the way that they treated my friends and I the last time we were there is unforgivable.
Boy has my opinion of this place changed.
Service is now top notch. The unforgiven is forgiven and Ive become enough of a regular that they clap when my friends and I come in and usually offer a round on the house. The selection has improved and always included New Glarus Unplugged, Bourbon barrel offerings from places like Central Waters, and loads of big Wisconsin IPAs, Barleywines, etc Old Fashioned also offers mead from Aeppel Troew at a great price. Old Fashioned has the best selection of Wisconsin Craft Brews in Madison, period.
Ive eaten almost everything on the menu and like just about all of it, especially the roast tenderloin sandwich, the pork shoulder, the hot dog, the chili, well all of it.
Ive found the key to service and atmosphere to be going at an off hour. Go to lunch after 1:30 or hit this place on an afternoon for early beers. It really helps when its not busy. The owner is just a wonderful person to talk to and really enjoys good crafts as well as a cold PBR or Old Milwaukee.
Im increasing my service rating form a 1 to a 4, food from 3 to 4, and both selection and quality from 3.5 to 4.
04-20-2007 16:15:41 | More by DaPeculierDane
The Old Fashioned in Madison, WI
92 out of 100 based on 36 ratings.