Come Back In
Taps: / Bottles:
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 18 | Reviews: 18 | Display Reviews Only:
4.78/5 rDev +15.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | $$
Sunday night. Here for first tme. Came to came to sample the vaunted taps of this place and catch the end of Cowboys-Giants in what I'd expected to be a quiet Sunday evening. Wouldn't you know it but its Karaoke night. That's ok. I prefer the caterwaul of a drunken, screechy-warbling Steve Perry impression, over a Fox NFL broadcast, any day. The singer is doing his earnest Midwestern best with "Any Way You Want It (That's the Way You Need It)".
Bartender is a tiny, adorable, true super cutie in a Charles Woodson Packers Jersey that's got to be youth-size and is still big on her. I ask what Lakefront Fixed Gear is, and she answers w/o hesitatiion, "Wisconsin Red Amber".
The twenty six tap handles protrude from faux barrel heads, oh, and an actual barrel. The Fixed Gear comes in a tall half liter mug which I wish had been chilled. But the lack of chilled glass matters nada, as the beer is frigid cold and so sweet I suck it down before the glass has a chance to warm it even a degree.
Drunk patron bumps my shoulder as he leans conspiratorially on the bar to ask the manager if he can leave his car overnight. Mgr. says, "Sure Gus, lemme give you a note so you don't get a ticket." Now that's service.
Bartender has me waiting all of ten seconds before recognizing I need another beer. I order an Ale Asylum Big Slick Stout, which I'd heard three other people order in the few minutes it took me to finish my first beer. Bartender fetches the stout from the other unseen side of the bar, the karaoke side. The stout arrives at the perfect temp. I'm impressed.
Atmosphere gets high marks in part since the space is split down the middke by the bar and a partial brick wall, somewhat shielding me from the karaoke half. My half has a hot oil popcorn machine on the back wall. Three Spanish speakers share the bar next to me, a first for me in Madison.
Man, for a Sunday night, this place is happening.
Good crowd. Healthy mix of ages and. Men /women.
12-12-2011 05:27:11 | More by martyl1000
4.5/5 rDev +9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
So many great beer places are packed into downtown Madison. On top of that, Come Back In is literally connected to the Essen Haus, so no matter what kind of beer you're in the mood for you can find it in one building.
The crowd was mixed but friendly overall. Hipsters and businessmen mingled with jaded 20-somethings and laid back academic types. Music was pleasant and at a tolerable volume. Waitstaff was quite friendly.
The place was laid out beautifully and the atmosphere was the tops. I am a sucker for old beer signs at this place had a collection of Hamm's clocks that was just magnificient.
The tap selection was large and varied. It wasn't supermassive, but it was very nice. The only complaint I can think of was a general lack of big beers; no beligans, no 9% Triple IPAs. Still, it was great. The bottle selection was wonderful, too.
04-06-2008 15:50:01 | More by mynie
4.45/5 rDev +7.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
I can't say enough good things about this place! And fortunitly the people who wrote review before me did a good job. I have to say I visit this play almost every time I go to madison (i think 5 or 6 times now). They have a great selection of beers that is usually in rotation with the seasonal's that alot of the local breweries carry, capital in particular. And the food is pretty cheap consitering how good it is... even if you arent hungry when you go there, at least get a 50 cent pretzle.. its well worth it.
07-11-2005 21:23:49 | More by circuitmonkey
4.43/5 rDev +7.3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 2.5 | $
Located right next to the Essenhaus with access to all of there beers, PLUS three coolers filled with mircos, how could this place be anything but good? Indeed it delivers, with good beer and happy service.
I thought that the atmosphere was less rambuntious than that of the Essenhaus. Me, personally, I like a crazy bar with lots going on and I found the Come Back Inn to be rather subdued. A good place to grab a beer and chill with a friend or two, but hardly a good place to get your party on. Lots of Emokids here too. That was a major drawback for me. Not my flavor.
Ahhh, but the beer selection more than makes up for that. Lots and lots of craft brews and when they are on special (Wednesday night, I believe) many of them are actually cheaper than buying the singles at Riley's.
03-05-2006 20:42:39 | More by shbobdb
4.22/5 rDev +2.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5
What a great place. When you go to school at UW-Madison, this bar is known as a "grad student" bar. I can see why. Since graduate students are often even more broke than undergraduates, it seems like a proper fit. With bargain drink specials ($2 half-liters!) it's hard to pass up.
The atmosphere is classic. On one end of the bar, you have pretty nice views of Lake Monona. Also, all around the bar is memorabilia from 1950s campus scenes at the UW. It's pretty priceless.
The quality is pretty good. I've never had a bad or skunky beer, but the place does not conjure up images of cleanliness and sanitation. Maybe because it gets trashed Thursday though Saturday, year-round.
The service is impeccable, mostly because it's all young hotties who make sure your glass never goes dry.
The selection is nothing to write home about, although they do have some impressive German beers on tap, such as Kostritzer Schwarzbier and Aventinus Weizenbock.
I definitely recommend going there for brunch the following day, and look for the Florentine omelet with a bloody mary.
11-16-2004 13:24:33 | More by Sixpoint
4.2/5 rDev +1.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
I didn't know this wasn't the Essenhaus, because it was like walking through the door to another bar in the same building. They have a great great bottle selection in a cooler. They also have a good selection on tap. While I was there I got a Bell's Two Hearted. The service was good, I didn't notice anything bad or exeptional, so must have been pretty good. They have yards too if you like to have that much beer. They have a lot of cool breweriana one the wall, it's like a little museum at which you can drink beer! Nice little bar, I will be back.
04-26-2007 22:19:56 | More by Erdinger2003
4.16/5 rDev +0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | $
Dirty, dank, skuzzy, and just wonderful. The comeback is a place rich with character, the kind of bar that we dont have enough of these days. On top of that they have one of the best beer selections in town and its cheap! Twenty taps include top offerings from Great Lakes, Lake Louie, New Glarus, Capital, Sprecher, Three Floyds, and Founders along with several German imports. Prices are generally low but the specials make them a downright steal. I was recently there on a Wednesday night when Founders Red Rye was going for $2.50 a half liter. They also have a special cooler for singles that dont sell well. These beers are 2 for 3 bucks and Ive found some real gems in there. Recently, a friend and I shared two bottles of Founders Black Rye from this cooler. Service is hit and miss. The crowd is very counterculture kid, mostly emo these days but with lots of dirty hippies too. Oddly, however, a fair number of businessmen also make their way down form the Capital Square too. I dig the eclecticism of it all. Perhaps the best thing about the Come Back is that its connected to the Essenhaus, which features an insane amount of German beers on tap and even more craft beers in the cooler.
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 Essenhauss food too. Seriously!
04-03-2006 17:15:38 | More by DaPeculierDane
4.16/5 rDev +0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | $
The Come Back has become a weekly hangout for my roommates and myself over the past year. Great place to avoid lame fratboy crowds on campus and overcrowded yuppies around the Square.
Atmosphere is quintessential Wisconsin. Old-timey Hamm's and Old Style signage, huge collections of tap-handles and salt-shakers, dark wood and beer-barrel motifs...makes one forget they're not in the Northwoods, but downtown Madison. There's nothing refined here, just loads of kitsch and best of all - good, cheap beer.
Upwards of 25 beers on tap, a mix of local, regional and national micros with a few good German imports and a fe standard Euro-imports. Founders, Anderson Valley, Three Floyds, Capital and Sprecher are frequent features. Beyond taps, the real gem is a singles cooler with upwards of 100 bottles to choose from. Micros from across the country and some decent imports as well (Okocim Porter was nice to find). Best of all, on Mondays and Wednesdays micro bottles are $2 a pop. DFH 90 Min and Founders Curmudgeon are recent gems, cheaper than you can buy singles anywhere in town. Other weekly specials include $10 boots on Thursdays and $3 half litres on Wednesdays. Free peanuts and popcorn seal the deal as well. Service is hit and miss, but as long as they can pour me a pint or open me a bottle, I could care less.
Just a laid back place to go on a weeknight and enjoy good, cheep beer and play cards or darts with friends. A frequent after-bar with its proximity to the EssenHaus (it's connected), Dane, and Maduro.
06-07-2006 21:54:52 | More by Golden2wenty1
4.14/5 rDev +0.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
This bar is attached to the Essen Haus so when that closes you can stumble next door. I was on a quest for "the boot so I was happy to see you can get your beers served in a 2L boot here aswell. They had a good list of taps but at the end of the bar, beside the free popcorn maker they had a large cooler of singles with many good selections.
The bartender was really friendly and pretty laid back but the manager was very adamant about the rules of how to drink a boot. It has been quite a few days since I chugged beer so I was content to sip my Black Bavarian and eat popcorn while watching my friends karaoke.
The bar is an oval in the middle of the room and on the other side is more tables with someones grandma's salt and pepper shaker collection displayed on the wall. In the back they have some dartboard and TVs around the bar.
It did have a nice old school feel and plenty of good beers on tap and in the bottle.
07-02-2006 02:20:46 | More by rhoadsrage
4.13/5 rDev 0%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4
As the step-brother to the Essen Haus (they're attached), The Come Back Inn enjoys a great selection of beers, with less of the German feel as Essen and more of a laid back bar that you might find in any Wisconsin town. A great place to saddle-up to the bar, the bartenders have always been exceptionally friendly and chatty with me. Food is decent and reasonably priced as well.
As far as atmosphere, it's not quite as interesting as the Essen Haus, but it has plenty to keep the eyes occupied, including a substantial collection of beer cans from the 60s and 70s along with tap handles and other brewiana.
For those traveling in large crowds with diverse tastes in food and beer, the Essen Haus and Come Back Inn are a solid combination, since they offer wide selections of both within very close proximity.
01-07-2005 22:12:35 | More by longarm
Come Back In in Madison, WI
92 out of 100 based on 18 ratings.