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Taps: 10 / Bottles: 30
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 16 | Reviews: 9 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by DaPeculierDane:
3.88/5 rDev -5.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4 | $$
It pained me to see Wonder's go. I was long a regular at the venerable Eastside establishment. Heck, I was a devotee. Although Alchemy brings much to the table, as does Dexter's, which opened shortly after Wonder's shut its doors, and although I can still get a beer served to me by the great bartender Sid, formerly of Wonder's currently of the Malt House and Dexter's, I still can't help but miss Wonder's. Well...enough with the run-on sentences and on to a review of Alchemy.
When the hippie/hipster kids that opened Alchemy took over the place they didn't change much esthetically, aside from making a few very much-needed improvements. The walls were painted, the floors refinished, and some god-awful 1970s velvet black light art was hung on the walls. Thankfully, that art has now made way for hangings from local artists. Amen.
The bar is still long, wooden, and raised a couple steps up from the main floor. It features seating for 10-12. Areas in the front windows and rear corner opposite the kitchen are also raised and provide snug corners for groups to assemble and chat. The vibe is hip yet still neighborhoody.
One will find live music featured almost every night of the week at Alchemy. Bluegrass, long a neighborhood favorite, is frequently featured but blues, rock, and DJs playing a great variety of music also find their place. I've often enjoyed some quality brews with Reggae bumping in the background.
Food is pretty solid at Alchemy. I'm basically addicted to their homemade salad dressings and seasoned potatoes and usually go with the deep fried tomato and cheese sandwich or whatever special is on that day. Their steak sandwiches are usually good too. On Friday's be prepared to wait and wait because Alchemy churns out one of the most popular and affordable fish frys in the neighborhood. Basically, you can expect to find typical bar food tweaked with a lot of creativity and use of local/organic products. Very vegetarian friendly but not without a giant buffalo burger on the menu for carnivores like me.
The beer list is very limited but always above par. Bottle selection is slim to non existent but the ten or so tap lines feature an ever rotating selection of local crafts like New Glarus, Capital, or Lake Louie, and top selections from national craft brewers. Often featured are beers from Dogfishhead, Avery, Three Floyds, New Holland, Smuttynose, Stone, and Breckenridge, but frankly you never know what you're going to find from one week to the next.
In the end, I still miss Wonder's but I'm glad to have another pro-beer joint take its place in my neighborhood. If you're coming to Madison and spending time on the Eastside, include this in any pub crawl along with Ale Asylum, Dexter's, and the Malt House.
Oh, and service is always very good.
12-07-2009 16:31:31 | More by DaPeculierDane
More User Reviews:
4.38/5 rDev +7.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 5 | $$
Been to Alchemy numerous times.. Finally a review. One of the better combos of food and beer in Madison.. As stated by others they have 8-10 taps which aren't amazing but don't include any Miller, Coors, or Bud.. Thank goodness! Almost always have a TG on tap from my experience and the main reason to go is the food anyways.. A nightly special that is always worth getting but plenty of other sandwiches and entrees that will pair well with any of the tap list brews.. A couple of tables outdoors make it a nice place on a pleasant evening.. Servers are very competent and have always been prompt in my experience.. It is cash or check only but they do have an ATM and it has a $1 service charge so not a huge deal.. If you are from the area or just visiting Alchemy is definitely a place worth checking out!
07-14-2014 01:52:08 | More by BarrelAgedG
3.96/5 rDev -3.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.75 | food: 4.25 | $$
I went here to taste pseudo sue for Madison craft week. It is a nice little cafe with some outdoor seating. They had a selection of about 7 or 8 good craft beers capable of making a decision of what to order a little tough.
They seem to care about the food and our waitress took the time to explain what must be a very delicious dish of gourmet Mac and cheese but I just got some sweet potato fries.
The biggest disappointment was that our waitress did not have a calculator in her brain, something I think should be included in all waitresses.
05-10-2013 14:30:53 | More by leedorham
Alchemy in Madison, WI
91 out of 100 based on 16 ratings.