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Dexter's Pub

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BA SCORE
93
outstanding

29 Ratings
Ratings: 29
Reviews: 12
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 7.55%
Taps: 24
Bottles: 40
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

301 North St
Madison, Wisconsin, 53704-4920
United States
phone: (608) 244-3535

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: DaPeculierDane on 02-26-2008)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 29 | Reviews: 12 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of emerge077
4.08/5  rDev -3.8%

Arrived here as our final destination the night before the Great Taste. It was a few blocks from the Malt House, and these two bars made for a nice evening. Dexter's was set back into the neighborhood off of Washington, on a corner with a lit plastic sign. Inside there was table and booth seating in an open carpeted room. The walls were wood paneled, with assorted beer signs and mirrors on the walls. It felt sort of like a divey neighborhood restaurant, with a bar in the back.

The bar had chalkboards hanging above with the evenings beer selections. Great Lakes and Dark Horse had an event earlier in the evening, and their beers were divided on the tap lines. GLBC Independence ale was pouring, also Dark Horse Double Crooked and Smells like weed IPA. It was nice to see the multiple taps from these 2 brewers. In the coolers there were many WI micros, Central Waters, Lake Louie, Furthermore, etc.

We sat at a table and had great service despite the busy Friday crowd. Food was pretty good pub grub: guacamole, curds, fried ravioli, sandwiches and pizza. Service at the bar was prompt too. Overall it was an enjoyable stop, and i'd return in the future.

emerge077, Aug 10, 2009
Photo of woodychandler
4.14/5  rDev -2.4%

Transcribed from extensive noted taken F, 07 Aug 2009.

Yet another corner location, this at North and Johnson with a window that directly overlooked the corner. The entry was along North and by turning right upon entering, I was in the restaurant area with booth seating along the windows and in front of the short wall separating it from the bar area. The center was filled in with standard tables and chairs. To the left, just before the entry to the bar area, were the lavs. The bar area had high tables and swiveling chairs in front of the short wall and next to the dart board and popcorn machine in the corner. The bar was a long, snaking blonde wood construction that ended at the entry to the kitchen which was in full view of the patrons. The back bar consisted of numerous shelves for liquor, three two-door coolers and the thirteen rotating taps.

The owner was an enthusiastic fellow who really gets it, as my FerMentor Lew might say. He has created a welcoming atmosphere in which to drink and eat.

woodychandler, Jun 26, 2010
Photo of dirtylou
3.94/5  rDev -7.1%

Dexter's formally known as the Sandlot - located at North and East Johnson, about 2 blocks from the malt house

This is not my neighborhood. My girlfriend lives within a few minutes though so I can see myself in here from time to time in the future.

The atmosphere is a little interesting. Much like the malt house, the actual building is somewhat of a dump. These are old crummy spaces that have been taken over by craft beer in the past months. The crowd was much different than what you would see downtown, monroe street, or the willy/atwood neighborhoods. This is a blue collar side of town so that's what you are going to see here. There is a pool table, some darts, some electronic games, a big bar area and also a dining area. There are some random tables on a volleyball court outside - odd.

There were a number of tv's, though none of them were high quality. A brewers game had just started and people were getting into that so i got the hell out of there in a hurry (Go Cubs)

So that's kind of my negative rant on Dexter's. The location isnt ideal to me and its a bit crummy with a clientele that i dont have much in common with. That aside, they have beer!

The tap list was maybe 12 deep and it had some hard hitting winners on this particular night. The two best beers are brews i havent seen anywhere else on tap - Stone 12th annivesary and tyranena devil over a barrel. There was also stone arrogant bastard, central waters mud puppy porter, pyramid apricot ale, lake louie warped speed, and a number of others. The bottle list had maybe 40 additional beers of quality, but not rarity like the malt house.

Service was pretty good and attentive.

We just had some fried appetizers (cheese curds and waffle fries) which hit the spot. The menu didnt look particularly special but i didnt eat a meal so i wont rate the food.

dirtylou, Aug 20, 2008
Photo of DaPeculierDane
4/5  rDev -5.7%

Atmosphere - Until recently, Dexter's was known as the Sandlot, a neighborhood/sports/dive bar popular with the drinking and volleyball crowd. Dexter's remains relatively unchanged.

It's a spacious place, divided into two areas. One half of the joint is comprised of beat up old tables and booths reminiscent of a 50's diner. The other half has a lengthy bar and large open fry kitchen. Glass beer coolers form nearly an entire wall behind the bar. Above and around the bar are perhaps a dozen flat panel TVs. Dexter's is a great place to watch sports and they do carry the Big Ten Network.

Expect a decent crowd during games or on summer nights. When I've been there the crowd has been 50/50 sports fans and neighborhood old men with small glasses of light beer (a constituency I very much enjoy drinking with).

Quality/Selection: Thirteen taps mostly consisting of Tyranena, Lake Louie, Sprecher, Capital, New Glarus and other local and regional craft selections. Bottle selection is similar. Many seasonal and one off releases from these breweries are offered. A large blackboard displays the list of taps as well as an on deck section featuring upcoming releases.

Service is friendly, quick, and likes good beer. Dexter's has only been open a short while and they're already hosting beer festivals (two weeks ago they hosted a chocolate and beer tasting for charity, an event formerly held at Wonder's Pub with salsa).
I don't know yet if Dexter's will fill the beer void left by Wonder's closing on the East/North sides but I'm starting to think that it might. The goals of the owners seem geared toward quality beer in a comfortable, uber casual environment. I'm optimistic that the place will only improve with time.

Food: I haven't eaten much at Dexter's yet so I won't rate the food but I have high hopes. What I have had has been good and some of the simple bar snacks and sandwiches coming out of their kitchen look and smell better than most. I was immediately impressed to see the cook using very fresh, high quality vegetables and meats. I'll try a Philly steak sandwich next time I go. They look authentic and smell amazing. Next I'll probably try one of their homemade pizzas, which look and smell just as good.

Overall, Dexters makes a solid addition to the Madison beer scene in a neighborhood that has until now been completely devoid of good beer.

Update: June 19, 2008 - I'm raising quality and selection scores from 3.5 to 4 and adding a food score of 4.5. Dexter's has been adding one killer tap beer after another to its list. I've tried 4 or 5 items off the menu and they are all great. In fact, I can now say with a certainty that Dexters makes my favorite bar food in Madison. Try the Philly with a side of Au Jus!

DaPeculierDane, Feb 26, 2008
Photo of blackie
3.88/5  rDev -8.5%

second stop on the post-flight mini-tour of a couple establishments that have come into being since my last visit

interesting layout here - something of a combination of old but tidy sports bar and converted fast food restaurant, tv's range from ancient to decent and stream a variety of matches, it's no-frills but comfortable, only a few other fellows seated at the bar on this late Wednesday afternoon

limited but quality selection with a midwest focus - let's say 8/12 taps, bottles slightly expand upon the great lakes region micros with the majority being your typical macro/import garbage (gleaned this from the online menu), mr. lou went with the Great Lakes Blackout, while I had a Tyranena Bitter Woman in the Rye

guy working the bar was friendly, and was quick to provide samples of some Goose Island Belgian (eh)

blackie, Aug 23, 2009
Photo of Stevedore
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Stevedore, Oct 24, 2013
Photo of bpfrush
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

bpfrush, Jun 24, 2014
Photo of dunix
4/5  rDev -5.7%

dunix, Jul 22, 2014
Photo of Gotti311
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Gotti311, Jun 18, 2014
Photo of cokes
4/5  rDev -5.7%

This is the type of place I love. It's a dive for all intents and purposes, but the beer list is rock solid (and is probably way above most of its regulars heads).
Tons of good stuff here. The tap list (as of late July 08) includes Lake Louie Scotch Ale, Stone IPA & 12th Anniversary, Hennepin, Dark Horse Sapient Tripel, Central Waters Mud Puppy Porter. Those were the ringers, but there were probably 7 more decent brews on tap. The bottle list was also well-chosen with stuff like Oaked Arrogant, and various local/regional specialties.
Friendly, decently versed barstaff. Prices were decent. You gotta love a neighborhood pub with this kind of beer. Madison needs more places like this. Highly recommended for both locals and visitors.

Last visit (11/08/09) had Double Bastard, Old Gnarlywine, and Autumnal Fire on tap, amongst several others that were also quite good (but I can't remember given those first three option). It's just off the beaten trail, but it's one of Madison's best beer bars (with Malt House and Maduro and Brasserie V, and nothing else very close).

cokes, Jul 25, 2008
Photo of BarrelAgedG
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

BarrelAgedG, Jul 27, 2014
Photo of BoitSansSoif
4/5  rDev -5.7%

Enjoyable and unpretentious. This place looks like a bar where you would not get half the choices they offer, and bears that sole difference w/other local bars...it looks the same, but has more good beer. I filled up on Stone offerings, and even joined in a trivia game being hosted on-site. The beer choice is decent, the prices are reasonable, and I haven't tried the food but I was tempted. There are numerous TV screens if that's your thing, but in the other room (separating the bar from the restaurant) it's quieter and more laid back. Like a sports bar w/a good beer choice combined w/a family "bar & grill" type atmosphere. Worth trying.

BoitSansSoif, Feb 14, 2009
Photo of BarrytheBear
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

BarrytheBear, Jan 05, 2014
Photo of OnWisconsin
4/5  rDev -5.7%

OnWisconsin, Jun 28, 2014
Photo of Dactrius
4/5  rDev -5.7%

Dactrius, Dec 18, 2013
Photo of BeerDazed
4/5  rDev -5.7%

BeerDazed, Jul 15, 2014
Photo of assman79
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

assman79, Feb 28, 2014
Photo of johanvond
3.85/5  rDev -9.2%

I've moved across the street from this place and it's a great place. The Decor is common and unassuming. There is nothing fancy here. There is also a strange amount of families. i guess it's because there is a wall between some tables and the bar. it's also in a neghbohood. The Service is fantastic. They 've been accomodating to me since I usually go in for Browns games. The food I've had are Fries, crispy and hot, and cheese curds, both of wich aren't greesy. The offer some interisting fair although it's not vegitarian. You carnivores should like it. The Beer slection is strong with Bell's and plenty of rotating beers on draft complete with a decient altough smaller bottle slection. Come and enjoy it's friendly and affordable.

johanvond, Nov 25, 2008
Photo of gwash411
4/5  rDev -5.7%

gwash411, Jan 20, 2014
Photo of equinox1
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

equinox1, Nov 19, 2013
Photo of DantheMan75
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

DantheMan75, Oct 17, 2013
Photo of Giesch
5/5  rDev +17.9%

Giesch, Jun 07, 2014
Photo of EliteDigger
4.4/5  rDev +3.8%

I've waited until I've been to Dexters quite a few times to be able to form a solid and comprehensive opinion. Dexters is one of those places that may not look like a good beer bar at first glance, but don't let it's older brick facade deceive you.
The pub is divided into two sections separated by an inner wall- a dining area that you enter immediately from the front door with booth's lining the outside of the room and tables filling the space in between. Plain and casual looking, it's actually a quieter area to be able to enjoy your meal in peace. The back section is the bar area complete with darts, jukebox, and a popcorn machine along the left wall, and a small selection of video games along the far right wall with a pool table bridging the walkway between the bar and dining rooms. The back wall has a bar running pretty much the length of the whole wall. There's newer flat panel TV's directly above the bar with an older big-screen and other smaller TV's scattered throughout.
The beer selection was good when I first started going to Dexters and they've only kept getting better and better. There's waay too many to list, but this is just a small, small sample of some of the great beers I've seen on tap: Central Waters Mud Puppy Porter, Bells Hopslam, Dogfish Head 90 and 120 minute, Tyranena's Devil Over a Barrel and Hop Whore, Rogue Chocolate Stout, Stone IPA, Arrogant Bastard, Double Bastard and Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout, Capital Autumnal Fire, Founders Reds Rye, and Goose Island Bourbon County Stout. There's also some great beers available in bottles like Founders Breakfast Stout and Stone Russian Imperial Stout.
I've eaten there well over a dozen times now and while I've only had pub food like burgers, chicken sandwiches, fries, and pizza, it's all been outstanding. Hot, fresh and delicious, I would put their food up against any other similar bar/pub in the area and the staff has all been friendly, fast, knowledgable and efficient every time I've been there.
Nick, the owner has just a huge passion for good quality beers. He has the tap lines cleaned frequently and has concentrated on filling them with just a super solid selection of beers. More tap lines are being planned with a possible selection of Belgian beers added sometime in the future. He's also looking into doing some cellaring to be able to offer vintages of special beers.
All in all, this has become one of my favorite places to just sit, relax and have some good conversation, good food and great beer!

EliteDigger, Nov 18, 2008
Photo of johnkale
4.23/5  rDev -0.2%

First off, Dexter's is my go-to trivia bar. Reliably there every Wednesday.

Atmosphere is very neighborhood bar, numerous TVs (ideally playing Brewers games, the Bucks are pretty painful to watch and I prefer my friends' place for football games), large, nondescript dining area, incredibly friendly waitstaff. Food is wildly variable, awesome fish fry (except for the slaw), decent burgers, lots of overpriced other stuff.

Beer is great though, good selection, changes frequently, almost always served appropriately. Good mix of local/Wisconsin breweries, better known craft, and outliers you don't see other places (like Toppling Goliath, which definitely needs better distro around Madison, for my sake, please).

I love how this place blends a craft beer bar with a local tavern, just wish they would be more consistent with their food.

johnkale, Nov 12, 2012
Photo of HowardTheDuck
5/5  rDev +17.9%

HowardTheDuck, Apr 07, 2014
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Dexter's Pub in Madison, WI
93 out of 100 based on 29 ratings.