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The Old Fashioned

Not Rated.
The Old FashionedThe Old Fashioned
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

44 Ratings
Ratings: 44
Reviews: 26
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 9.9%
Taps: 52
Bottles: 105
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: 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 

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: DaPeculierDane on 01-17-2006)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 44 | Reviews: 26 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jegross2
2.85/5  rDev -31.2%

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!

jegross2, Nov 12, 2011
Photo of Gotti311
3.25/5  rDev -21.5%

Gotti311, Jun 17, 2014
Photo of BarrytheBear
3.25/5  rDev -21.5%

BarrytheBear, Jan 05, 2014
Photo of brdc
3.33/5  rDev -19.6%

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.

brdc, Aug 11, 2009
Photo of Birchgrove77
3.75/5  rDev -9.4%

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.

Birchgrove77, Nov 09, 2010
Photo of Wobbly
3.75/5  rDev -9.4%

Wobbly, Aug 12, 2014
Photo of wisrarebeer
3.8/5  rDev -8.2%

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

wisrarebeer, Oct 21, 2010
Photo of Srodri10
3.93/5  rDev -5.1%

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....

Srodri10, Jul 26, 2011
Photo of 22Blue
4/5  rDev -3.4%

22Blue, Oct 10, 2014
Photo of BoitSansSoif
4/5  rDev -3.4%

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.

BoitSansSoif, Apr 21, 2008
Photo of botham
4/5  rDev -3.4%

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!

botham, Sep 20, 2009
Photo of DaPeculierDane
4/5  rDev -3.4%

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 it’s busy…and it’s 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 haven’t 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 won’t let you have a table. Even then, don’t 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 don’t 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 it’s at all busy.

Overall, I like most of what’s going on at the Old Fashioned but the way that they treated my friends and I the last time we were there is unforgivable.

Re-review 04-20-07

Boy has my opinion of this place changed.

Service is now top notch. The unforgiven is forgiven and I’ve 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.

I’ve 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.

I’ve 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 it’s 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.

I’m 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.

DaPeculierDane, Apr 20, 2007
Photo of ubiq3000
4/5  rDev -3.4%

ubiq3000, Aug 21, 2014
Photo of sourdog
4/5  rDev -3.4%

sourdog, Jul 16, 2014
Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4/5  rDev -3.4%

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.

4DAloveofSTOUT, Feb 07, 2012
Photo of taylorhamrick
4/5  rDev -3.4%

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.

taylorhamrick, Jun 24, 2009
Photo of Stevedore
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Stevedore, Oct 24, 2013
Photo of Atron67
4.05/5  rDev -2.2%

A- I really like this place as well the atmosphere is nice, however it gets crowded quickly and I am not a fan of crowds

Q- they do a great selection of traditional foods and food that you wouldn't quite expect to be on a menu. They have a great selection of wisconsin craft beers

S- their service is pretty quick and solid, I havent had any problems with the place in the couple times that I have gone, the food arrives quick and is really good

S- their wisconsin beer selection is great, lots of bottles, and most of the taps are good choices as well

F- their food is great, big fan of the cheese curds and the Green Bay chili, ale and cheddar soup, the burger, and the fish fry on fridays

Can get a bit pricey depending on the dinner selection, but the beer is around 3-4 depending on the beer, unless you get a Blatz

Atron67, Dec 02, 2007
Photo of leedorham
4.08/5  rDev -1.4%

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.

leedorham, May 10, 2013
Photo of adman08
4.1/5  rDev -1%

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.

adman08, Mar 30, 2011
Photo of frazbri
4.13/5  rDev -0.2%

The Old Fashioned was our last stop on our first night in Madison. The room had a bright, modern feel, but there were lots of photos and signs from Wisconsin's past.

We were seated and given the late night menu. The first 6 items on the menu were Wisconsin artisanal cheese trays. The rest of the menu was more standard bar fare. Local cheese, meat, and produce is featured to great success. I shared a cheese tray with local parm, sheep's milk and gorgonzola cheeses. I ordered the house burger for my main meal. Best burger I've had in ages.

The tap list also follows the local theme. Central Waters, Lake Louie and Capital were among the Madison area representatives. I had the Lake Louie scotch ale and it did not disappoint.

I really liked this place. The emphasis on Wisconsin food and beer makes this bar special.

frazbri, Aug 13, 2008
Photo of robbyc1
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%

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".

robbyc1, Sep 15, 2008
Photo of stoops
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%

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.

stoops, Mar 12, 2010
Photo of thewimperoo
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

thewimperoo, Apr 16, 2014
Photo of egrace84
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

egrace84, Jun 16, 2014
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The Old Fashioned in Madison, WI
92 out of 100 based on 44 ratings.