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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 emerge077
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%

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...

05-05-2008
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.

emerge077, May 02, 2011
Photo of dirtylou
4.55/5  rDev +9.9%

update 6.3.09

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

dirtylou, Aug 27, 2006
Photo of RblWthACoz
4.3/5  rDev +3.9%

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.

RblWthACoz, Aug 30, 2012
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 Deuane
4.45/5  rDev +7.5%

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.

Deuane, Aug 15, 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 Stevedore
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Stevedore, Oct 24, 2013
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 bpfrush
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

bpfrush, Jun 24, 2014
Photo of 22Blue
4/5  rDev -3.4%

22Blue, Oct 10, 2014
Photo of Alpar
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Alpar, Aug 08, 2014
Photo of drseamus
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%

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.

drseamus, May 15, 2009
Photo of Wobbly
3.75/5  rDev -9.4%

Wobbly, Aug 12, 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 ubiq3000
4/5  rDev -3.4%

ubiq3000, Aug 21, 2014
Photo of thewimperoo
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

thewimperoo, Apr 16, 2014
Photo of Gotti311
3.25/5  rDev -21.5%

Gotti311, Jun 17, 2014
Photo of Fargrow
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

Fargrow, Sep 10, 2014
Photo of egrace84
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

egrace84, Jun 16, 2014
Photo of jwenzel019
4.75/5  rDev +14.7%

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!

jwenzel019, Aug 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 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 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 cwcolby74
4.78/5  rDev +15.5%

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.

cwcolby74, Mar 28, 2011
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The Old Fashioned in Madison, WI
92 out of 100 based on 44 ratings.