Taps: / Bottles:
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 32 | Reviews: 27 | Display Reviews Only:
4.63/5 rDev +15.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5
Worth the stop when in Madison. Located near the main drag. HWY 151 to the left. Authentic German all the way; atmosphere, uniforms, beer, food. The soft pretzels start it off just right. Alot of beer to choose from. This is a nice place to go. Not open for lunch. But you can go to the Come Back Inn which is so adjacent that I wonder if it is owned by the same people.
07-04-2003 21:49:41 | More by daledeee
4.6/5 rDev +14.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 1 | $$
Wir gehen zum Essenhaus! Was a common battlecry for thursday nights, when a boot (2L) of beer was available for a mere $10, and 1/2L's were on sale for three (note: this has changed recently. Most likely after the looting that occured during the weekend graduation for the class of '05). The waitstaff is ever quick to please and the polka band blares away singing "I don't wan-her, you can have her, she's too fat for me, oh, she's to fat for me." Truly a pleasant germanic atmosphere. Kitchy as hell, but surprisingly authentic within that. Good beers, good times, good friends, what more could you want?
Oh, yeah, food. Avoid it at all costs. Overpriced and it tastes like poison.
Avoid the bathrooms too, if possible. Late in the night they get rather, uhhh, messy.
03-05-2006 20:38:33 | More by shbobdb
4.58/5 rDev +14.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5
Visited this place when on a trip for Penn State. Forgot all about it untill I saw it on the Food Network last night. This place is really cool. An incredible selection of German beers, both on draught, and in bottles. Service is great, and the patrons and decor add to make a stellar atmosphere. Didn't try the food, but a friend did, and what he had looked awesome! Can't wait to get back to Madison. (Believe me, it aint for the good lookin women)
09-19-2002 05:53:51 | More by psugrad98
4.58/5 rDev +14.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5
Great German bar atmosphere. We stopped primarily to enjoy several rounds of glass boots of Dab. Great selection of beers on tap and imports. Our servers were friendly and prompt. The waitstaff dons uniforms that are similar to "authentic" German clothing-- something right out of the Old World or what I might expect to see at an Oktoberfest celebration. Didn't eat dinner there, but we did snack on the soft pretzerls and those hit the spot perfectly. Would love to stop back again sometime and try the food.
03-11-2003 19:32:14 | More by Winter
4.55/5 rDev +13.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5
For a truly great selection of fine German beers on tap, there can't be too many places in the U.S. that can top the Essen Haus. Combine that with their attempts to replicate an old German beer hall through the selection of food and the staff's attire, and this is a must stop on any to-do list if you're in the area. When the polka band gets warmed-up and after the crowd has had a few boots of Spaten's Optimator, it's hard to imagine the tents of Munich being any more fun. The first year or so that I lived in Madison, I thought it was quaint and an interesting place, but I could take it or leave it. As time passes, however, each year I appreciate this place a little more and will miss it greatly when I have to move in the near future. From the Franziskaner wheat, to Dab, to the Spaten beers, it's always a delight to get a taste of great German brews.
Food is OK and occasionally excellent, but I wouldn't recommend it purely on the aspects of its German cuisine. The staff is friendly, but don't always seem to know as much as you would expect or hope about the beers on tap.
09-26-2004 00:25:40 | More by longarm
4.5/5 rDev +12.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $
The Essenhaus is a top beer bar and a must for anyone traveling to Madison. This place is second on my list (after the Memorial Union Terrace) of places to take friends from out of town. The Essenhaus features just about any German beer you could think of on tap! The specials are great. Half liters are only something like $2.50 during happy hour and boots (normally $16) are only ten bucks on Thursdays. Polka bands play there regularly. The waitstaff are great and wear traditional Bavarian garb. Its kitchy, dirty, and very Wisconsin. Their bottle selection is great too, plenty of good American crafts and the whole Lindemans line from Belgium. Better yet, the Essenhaus has a door to the Up North Bar on its SE wall and a door to the impressive Come Back Inn on its NW wall. If you dont care for German beer and cant find the craft you like at Essenhaus, just walk over to the Comeback, grab a pint, and carry it back over to the Essenhaus.
IMPORTANT NOTE: I am not rating the food because I dont want to bring down this bars score. For me this is a beer bar and I just ignore the whole restaurant part. Now this is very important dont eat here. Dont ask why. You do not want to know. Just, what ever you do, dont eat here. Dont even think about it. Avoid the Come Backs food too. Seriously!
04-03-2006 17:04:06 | More by DaPeculierDane
4.33/5 rDev +8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
Friday night preparty prior to Madison's Great Taste of the Midwest and Bell's had their Bell's ON (tap) found some amazing beers seldom released outside of Kalamazoo, MI
Easy to locate downtown location. Good value. Did not eat but what I saw looked OK
Place was full with beer fest folks but they were handling the load nicely. We were concentraiting of the special release Bell's and ignored bottles and other stuff on tap.
Essen Haus is connected to Come Right In, I enjoyed my last Bells a Bretty Rye beer on the sidewalk and eventually next door at the Come Right INN.
08-11-2009 17:08:01 | More by karst
4.28/5 rDev +6.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | $$
Wonderful downtown location. Beer garden open until dusk. Prices are are as reasonable as they are everywhere else downtown.
This was our first stop on our quasi-beertour of Madison. The inside is dark and bricky. I've only been to facimile German bars--including those in Amana which I've been told are *quite* authentic. That having been said, this place seemed nice and authentic to me. Only, it wasn't the kind of authenticity that takes itself too seriously. The guys were wearing Lederhosen but jokingly, over T-shirts. The girls were wearing German dress, too, but they looked cute, not gimmicky. I didn't even realize the bartender was dressed up, actually, since the outfit looked so nice. And the waitstaff was the tops.
Very wide tap selection, no so much for bottles. There were a couple of fairly rare beers on tap, but as things were just getting started I decided to keep it easy and go with a Bitburger.
Wisconsin's laxity with liquor laws is really refreshing. No, it's not like they don't ID you or anything like that. But little stuff--stuff that authorities in other states are senselessly strict about--they let go. Essen Haus is connected to Come Right In, and they let you take beer from one place into another. On top of that, there was no one out patroling the beer garden to make sure that you didn't stray more than X amount of yards from the premises. Little stuff like that makes for a greatly relaxed atmosphere.
04-06-2008 15:32:24 | More by mynie
Essen Haus in Madison, WI
90 out of 100 based on 32 ratings.