1. Rating beers by attributes (look, smell, taste, feel, overall) is back! Read the latest update ...
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Come Back In

Not Rated.
Come Back InCome Back In

19 Ratings
Ratings: 19
Reviews: 18
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 7.8%
Taps: 0
Bottles: 0
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

508 E Wilson St
Madison, Wisconsin, 53703
United States
phone: (608) 258-8619

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Monday - Thursday:
3:00 P.M. - 2:00 A.M.
3:00 P.M. - 2:30 A.M.
8:00 A.M. - 2:30 A.M.
8:00 A.M. - 2:00 A.M.

(Place added by: cokes)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
« first ‹ prev | 1-10 | 11-20  | next › last »
Ratings: 19 | Reviews: 18 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BarrelAgedG
3.5/5  rDev -14.6%

BarrelAgedG, Jul 30, 2014
Photo of BoitSansSoif
3.5/5  rDev -14.6%

This is one of those places in which I've had a wide variety of experiences in just a couple visits. The atmosphere is pretty good, with a variety of interesting trinkets and decor around the entire place that is this place's calling card. The first time I went in some trashed patron was talking shit, and it seemed like the customers did more to get him out than the staff. Clientele is diverse, ranging from college students and macro fans to craft beer enthusiasts depending on the special of the night. Wednesdays have $2.50 domestic bottles, which is a great deal, and includes a wide variety of macros and micros from the fridge. You take and they uncap at the bar.

Service is fine. Most of the time I just go to the bar, since it's easier to take my bottle and have it uncapped. Also, during later hours there's no one circulating, so it's best to just go to the bar. I've had to exchange a few brews that had major flaws, and they were very polite and understanding. I haven't asked questions about beer there, so I don't know the extent of their knowledge.

Food is fine. I've only eaten there once, and it was standard fair. I don't like repeating things I haven't verified, but I hear it's the same kitchen as Essenhaus. I've eaten at both places, and I will say that Come Back In is much cheaper and tasted slightly better--at least for what I ordered.

If you go for the specials, the prices are excellent. Otherwise they are standard. Don't break the boot, you will pay for it!

Definitely worth checking out if in downtown Madison.

BoitSansSoif, Sep 05, 2009
Photo of cokes
3.6/5  rDev -12.2%

Located adjacent to the Essen Haus, and will be generally overshadowed for that very reason. Nevertheless, it is worthwhile to step through the door and leave the Germanic surroundings for a beer or two.
Simplistic, standard barroom feel. Somewhat blue-collar and grimy.
Roughly 20 taps with plenty of top regional brews and local favorites. Well stocked self-serve coolers full of beer. Actual numbers vary considerably, but typically about 50-75 more brews in bottled form, covering a wide spectrum of origins and styles.

There is an interesting "discount cooler" which sometimes features attractive brews that haven't sold well to the masses. Some are old or just uninteresting, but there is usually a gem or two in there.

A worthy and welcome companion to the Essen Haus. Never quite as busy either.

cokes, Mar 10, 2003
Photo of 4thoseabout2bock
3.93/5  rDev -4.1%

First, I am a sucker for dive bars, so take my 4.5 atmosphere rating in that context.

Free peanuts and popcorn and a bar full of locals and I am happy.
To find a bar with a dive feel AND a great beer selection made me feel at home immediately.

The ambiance is New World German (not super kitschy but blue collar Wisconsin, and also very reminiscent of Lancaster/Berks County PA where I grew up and started drinking). There is beer paraphenila on the walls and knick knacks in glass cases, and big old barrels that sport the taps in the center of the square bar that sits in the middle of two bar rooms.

The tap selection is respectable and goes beyond "just" German imports to encompass a nice selection of microbrews as well.

On tap they had Captial Autumnal Fire, Spaten Lager and Oktoberfest, Franzikaner Weiss and Dunkel Weiss, Okacim Pilsner, DAB, Sprecher Amber and Black Bavarian, Summit Porter, Ale Asylum Hopalicious, Dogfishead 60 minute, Bells Oberon, Spotted Cow, Sierra Nevada Pale, Founders Dirty Bastard, Anderson Valley IPA, Moose Drool, (Stella, Newcastle, Guinness, Beamish) and something by Berghoff (sorry, didn't write it down, I just know it wasn' t the bock)

Plus, there are additional beers on tap next door at the Essen Haus.
They had both Spaten Optimator and Paulaner Salvator on draft. Between the doppelbocks and the Oktoberfestive atmosphere in the Essen Haus, I got a major yearning for a good German meal. Alas, this was not to be. DO NOT eat here. Just drink and enjoy the atmosphere, watch the game, and cnack on free popcorn and peanuts.

shoulda listened to dapeculierdane or whomever warned against this below, but unfortunately I hadn't read the reviews that closely before going. Now I will have to go to Laschet's here in Chicago, and soon, to get my fix!

Service was nice enough, but also a little lost and not very knowledgable about their beer. Nevertheless, (perhaps because I had really low expectations) I really liked this place. Come Back Inn, I am sure I will.

4thoseabout2bock, Oct 08, 2006
Photo of beerinator
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%

The Come Back Inn is a beer joint. Warning: Do not wear your Sunday Go To Meeting Jeans to this place. There is a good chance that you will smell of smoke when you leave here.

If you can get past the smoke and slightly grungy looking atmosphere (It's Character!) and start to focus on the very nice tap selection, you will realize that this is a very nice beer destination.

It's an easy walk or roll from the Great Dane or downtown.

On both of my visits here the service has been struggling. If you like beer joints with character, then you may find that the service is one of the only weak spots here.

The food, while simple, is good and very well paired with the "character" of the place. I had a reuben and some fries, which was good, but it took a long time to arrive after an even longer time of getting a server to take the order.

So, if you can catch this place on a non busy night, if you're not afraid of averting your eyes from the dim corners, and if you can get a non smoky spot to hang out, I think the Come Back Inn is a worthy beer drinking establishment.

beerinator, Aug 26, 2005
Photo of Musky
3.98/5  rDev -2.9%

My dad and I hit this place the second Tuesday of every month as we are Stein Club member's at the Essen Haus next door.

The ambience is old school beer with Schlitz and Hamm's beer signs being used as art. A large cabinet of shot glasses graces the back wall, old coins are also on display. Dark and cozy is good way to describe this venue with dark woods it is a great place to throw down a few good beers with your best friends. A huge selection of on tap beers which is a rarity in the city of Madison, they also have a cooler full of individual bottles for you to pick from. Definitely top five in Madison for drinking establishments, just don't plan on eating there as it is mediocre at best.

Musky, Jan 10, 2007
Photo of daledeee
4.05/5  rDev -1.2%

Had been to the Essen Haus. This is adjacent to them. Stopped by here for lunch. This is more of your traditional bar. A large collection of salt and pepper shakers. Other antique memorabilia. We were the only ones not drinking!!. I finally broke down after lunch. We had some Ruebens. I have yet to find a better one. I had a Franzekaner Dark Weiss served in a weisen glass. We like the place and will return.

daledeee, Jun 15, 2003
Photo of expatsteve
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%

Went here to watch a Tigers/White Sox game, and try a few brews. Next to the Essen Haus, its german affiliate and more well known partner. With 26 taps and 100 or so bottles, this seemed like a good place to park for a few hours.

Nor was I disappointed - half-liters were $3, and the tap offerings included beers from Capital, Sprecher, New Glarus, Bells, and Great Lakes, as well as a number of German and English offerings and more recognized beers from Sierra Nevada, Dogfish Head, and Anchor. Service was attentive and friendly, and my glass never went empty. The bottle selection is similar in composition to the taps, with some good and hard-to-find German brews, and around 80 domestic craft brews from all over the country. Monday and Wednesday nights are $2 bottle nights, which provides the opportunity to sample some of these offerings.

The bar itself is a four-sided bar built through an internal wall. The two sides of the bar open on to two rooms that provide seating for diners and drinkers, with slightly dim lighting and old brick walls providing a more down-to-earth feel. The menu is fairly typical for a pub, with some fried offerings, sandwiches, etc.

But perhaps most noteworthy are the various collections of memorabilia located on the walls. From where I was sitting I could see an extensive collection of salt and pepper shakers, Hamms beer signs, and glassware. For people less interested in baseballs and kitsch, there are some video games and dart boards. The eclectic interior, far from being disorienting, manages to offer something for everyone.

Good for an afternoon brew or a night-long session. Will definitely please craft brew fans.

expatsteve, Jul 22, 2006
Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.09/5  rDev -0.2%

The Come Back Inn is just a hop skip and a jump from downtown and the Capitol. With the new MadTown laws about smoking the atmosphere continues to improve. The quality was very, very high with proper glassware when needed, but unfortunately the service lost a tick. The server was a bit slow and although apologetic it really did not get me a beer any faster. The beer on this visit only really started to flow after the good folks from Founders started a tab and from that point forward no complaints. The selection was good and everyone was having a great time.

From 11-28-03
overall: 4.06 atmosphere: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 |
That goodness this is tied into the Essen Haus. After a bad beer experience there, this was a welcomed excursion.

The selection was good and the service was quick. The atmosphere was much less smoky than the bar at the Essen Haus next door. They had quite a few beers on the menu and we even happened to see Larry Bell of Kalamazoo in there and have a quick conversation with him. I liked the Come Back Inn due to it's beer list of mainly ales when I visited.

I would definitely "Come Back"...

GCBrewingCo, Aug 17, 2005
Photo of longarm
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%

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.

longarm, Jan 07, 2005
« first ‹ prev | 1-10 | 11-20  | next › last »
Come Back In in Madison, WI
91 out of 100 based on 19 ratings.