Taps: / Bottles:
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 32 | Reviews: 27 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by BoitSansSoif:
3.38/5 rDev -15.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 2 | $$$
I am going to rate my overall experience at Essenhaus, which is less than flattering, although beer-wise, it's an excellent find.
My first time here, we sat and sat and were never even approached by the waitstaff. 15 minutes later, we left.
My second time, we were treated warmly. The atmosphere was decent, and the oompah music kicked off halfway through the meal. The waitstaff this time did a stellar job. The beer selection is excellent, and it is enjoyable to drink from a boot, but be prepared to sign a waiver--those things aren't cheap if you break one, and they are tippy! The glassware goes beyond the boots, and you can catch a nice glimpse of window displays if you are walking the sidewalk on the Lake Monona side. It really lures you in. The decor is also charming, and a welcome respite for the thirsty.
I thought my first impressions of the place were unfounded, and based on a unique, atypical, and unfortunate experience...and then they brought out the food. I know what traditional German food tastes like, and although it's not a culture known for its haute cuisine, it's infinitely better than what the cooks tried to push over on us. The sausage barely rivaled those of my high school cafeteria, and the spatzle was already starting to get cold when it arrived. The highlights of the meal were the delicious beers, which washed the food down and made it taste better as I drank my way toward the insole, and the mustard, which spiced up the bland flavor between sips. Why didn't I put it aside? I was famished.
The food was quite pricey for its quality. I ate it anyway; I'll eat almost anything, but I still know what constitutes good food. If all meat tasted this way, I would turn vegetarian tomorrow with no regrets. In all fairness, I will return here because it is unique and charming, and the beer selection is good, which is supposed to be the primary focus of this review.
It pains me to bash what is actually a beerlover's gem, but we got started off on the wrong foot. I went in expecting a decent restaurant with a modest beer selection, but found a great bar with a poor dinner menu. It is one of four local bars I like to bring my visiting friends to, and it should remain just that...a bar, and not a restaurant. It's also a decent place to catch Badger games on the telly if you can't make it to Camp Randall.
01-25-2008 22:31:08 | More by BoitSansSoif
More User Reviews:
3.56/5 rDev -11.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | $$
Was at the biergarten here for a brief bit during a great taste pre-party. The beer was Revolution and it was only 2 bucks a half liter. In retrospect I should have stayed there all night and sucked the tap of Maerzen dry.
Didn't go in, or eat. Just slugged a beer listening to the German band they had. I liked the atmosphere, not as authentic as it should be but fun in a sense. Just wish it was always 2$ half liter night there. Saw the taplist for normal hours and it is just a decent mishmash of German beers.
08-13-2012 23:22:11 | More by crossovert
4.05/5 rDev +1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$$
I love this place, just like I love all German bars. Fun atmosphere, German beers on tap, large selection of German food. Service is pretty good (and all wearing German outfits), and the selection is pretty good too. Only thing I don't like about it is the price - 15+ for a sausage plate/schnitzel with sauerkraut and potatoes. Oh well, I'll still go whenever I can. Also it's attached to another bar next door, the Come Back Inn, which has a vastly different menu and beer selection but is also really good.
07-12-2011 19:19:03 | More by scones
4.05/5 rDev +1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
A great place to visit, even though it’s sort of a chain. The ambiance is great - live polka music, German decorations and stuff all over the wall, and an overall great time to be had with the huge Das boots and everything else. The service was quick and friendly. The selection is pretty good for a restaurant - but hey, it’s German! The food was good, not the best German fare I’ve had, but still good especially the potatoes and sauerkrauts. Typical German beers on tap - nothing mind-blowing. The value was about average, and overall, I’ll definitely be hitting this place again whenever I visit Madison again.
06-20-2011 20:59:13 | More by CuriousMonk
3.98/5 rDev -0.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
Very fun place. Kinda divey, but very large. Great German food and beer selection. It's about the whole experience. The music, the beer, the food, the boot. It's definitely a big draw.
That all being said, I still can't put my finger on exactly how I feel about the place. Almost like they found a formula that works and now it's just on cruise control. That might be part of what makes it so appealing as well. Who knows? Oh well, I am still going to frequent it every time I am in Madison, but there are a dozen other bars that I would rank well above it.
10-13-2010 20:30:04 | More by Czap
Essen Haus in Madison, WI
90 out of 100 based on 32 ratings.