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Great Dane Pub & Brewing Company (Downtown)

Not Rated.
Great Dane Pub & Brewing Company (Downtown)Great Dane Pub & Brewing Company (Downtown)
BEER AVG
3.65/5
Based on:
56 Beers
737 Ratings
Place Score: 94
Ratings: 159
Reviews: 107
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: n/a
Taps: 12
Bottles: --
Cask: Y
Beer-to-Go: Y
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]

123 E. Doty St.
Madison, Wisconsin, 53703
United States
phone: (608) 284-0000

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @greatdanepub

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 159 | Reviews: 107 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of KarlHungus
4.43/5  rDev +5.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

My girlfriend and I hit this place up a couple times while in Madison over the weekend. The atmosphere was very welcoming for a place with such wonderful beers. There is a lot of wood and exposed brick all over the place. I really like how the bar and dinning areas are separated by half walls and columns, instead of being closed off from one another. It allows for an open yet intimate feel. The service was good on both visits, and the staff was able to provide nice descriptions of the beers. Selection was pretty good for a brewpub. They had ten beers on tap, and two on cask. Those twelve beers were a nice mix of both ales and lagers, malty styles and hoppy ones, and light bodied beers and heavy ones. I really likes how they had both a German and a Czech pilsener on tap. The porter was excellent, but the dark mild on cask was the best (very floral and roasty). The food was good on both stops. I like how the portions are smaller than you will find in most American restaurants (the prices are smaller as well). I was able to finish everything on my plate without feeling ill, and with enough room left in my belly for another beer. Overall, The Great Dane is a place I would go out of the way to visit. The beer, the food, and the atmosphere are all top notch.

Photo of kdog630
4/5  rDev -4.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Hit this place every time we get to Madison. Stopped here twice while in Madison for the Ironman. (Not competing, of course.) Had dinner in their beer garden. Average pub fare. Good hot wings. Habanero sauce is only for the very brave.

Enjoyed their APA and Mrs. Kdog had the cream ale. She thought it complemented her meal well. Server was moderately attentive, but the place was really starting to pick up. We arrived around 7:30 and by 8:00 it was humming throughout.

Went back the next night (Sunday) after my friend finished and there wasn't too much going on. Went to the basement bar that was like going in a cave. The bartender said it had been a horse paddock back at the turn of the 20th century. He was very knowledgeable about the beers on tap, made a few recommendations and gave me a few tastes of their selection. Had the Texas IPA out of their beer engine. A pretty good choice.

Photo of botham
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

stopped here for lunch on a brewery loop of southern wisconsin. they have some decent brews, nothing to get real excited about, but their beer garden is great. it is basically an outdoor patio sunken into the ground, making it rather quiet and calm. tastings are free, and several sizes of servings make it easy to hone in on your favorite and order a pint. around 10 brews to choose from when i visited, so there is something for every taste (their porter was great!). the wait staff was very friendly and accomodating. food was a bit over mediocre.

Photo of rarevos
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Had the pleasure of stopping in here on a recent trip to Madison, and it was well worth the half-hour wait to get a table.

Started the night off with a cask ale, a rarity any place in my travels. Had the Extra Pale Ale on cask while we waited for a table, which was surprisingly good. While I sipped, I took in the interior. Wood paneling everywhere, reminiscent of some English pubs I saw during my UK trip earlier this year. High ceilings. Loud, expected for a Friday night. Good beer selection, all in-house. Noted that the special board had a beer labeled "our lightest offering!", presumably to take the choice out of the equation for a Corona-only drinker who wanders in off the street. That's beside the point. The point: good beer selection. Ten or so taps of regular offerings (try the Porter!) and a Specials board with seasonal or irregular beers. I noted a lot of folks drinking the honey pilsner and a wheat something-or-other with a slice of orange in it. It was 94 degrees outside.

Inside seating seemed a bit loud, and we were unfortunately within earshot of a mid-30s frat guy who apparently never discovered it's not appropriate to refer to attractive women as "pussy" when they walk in the door. It's big city, and it takes all kinds, I guess, but thankfully it took just a few more minutes to be shown to our table out back, and we left him to his shots of bottom-shelf whiskey that he was doing by himself. Cheers, buddy.

Spacious seating out back, very private, and significantly quieter than the indoor seating. Menu was expansive, and had a nice combination of "typical pub fare," "typical Wisconsin fare," and "something for the vegetarians and foodsnobs." I'd go back for the food, for sure.

Beer was very good. No 11% abv Java stout brewed on All Soul's Day with rainwater and 11 kinds of hops and served in a unique pewter glass to be destroyed immediately upon consumption, but there were plenty of nicely balanced session ales. The ESB was very good, and the IPA was also (though I don't know what "Texas Speed Bump" refers to). Their cream soda was excellent, and red. Seriously. It's red. The other plus was that the beer was served at proper temperature. But the verdict here is that it was very tasty, very solid brewpub beer. Great choice of sessionables.

They do sampler flights of various sizes, and pints were in the $4 to $4.50 range. Four of us had dinner and beers for around 65 bucks, which was well worth it. I'm already looking forward to going back.

Photo of JeffKrenner
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Large brewpub downtown Madison. Upstairs has two sides to it. One with the restaraurant and a bar and the other with pool tables and such and the other side of the bar. There is also a downstairs and a back patio that is much quieter than the rest of the place. Pretty typical brewpub atmosphere, with a lot of people that seem to know each other hanging out.

Solid beer selection with many different offerings. I had the Black Earth Porter (very good), cask ESB (decent), and cask Pale Ale (decent). They did run out of the porter at the main bar, but oddly enough still had it on the pool table side of the bar. Service was good, but most of the wait staff doesn't have any clue about what they are serving.

Food is a little more than your typical bar food. Most of it is pretty greasy, but that sort of goes along with being in WI. Everything was priced fairly.

Photo of egenerose
4.58/5  rDev +9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Great selecton of cask ales and firkins. They had a cask conditioned IPA, very hoppy, nice refreshing ale, in addition they had a cask conditioned porter, it was good, but didn't compare to the IPA. They had an EPA in the firkin, again it was good, but didn't compare to the engine brews. I was in this place two nights in a row and they were brewing both nights at about 10pm, really cool. The place is very spacious, never had a problem getting a set at the bar. Bartender was very helpful, give you samples without an attitude. I only had the bread made with their stout and light lager, it is served with honey butter and is extremely delicious. They have at least 10 taps.

Photo of blitz134
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

This was a definate stop while in Madison.

Lots of wood all over the place. High ceilings. There was what appeared to be more of a family area and a bar area with a long bar, hightop tables and the game area. This definately had more of a restaurant feel that I was expecting, but it was fine b/c we came for dinner. I had a burger which was quite tasty. Afterwards we played a little bar shuffleboard in the area with all of the pool tables.

Lots of beers were on tap and there seemed to be a good line up of everyday offerings and a good handful of rotating releases which I had. Two cask offerings. Quality is superb, not only judging by what I had, but by other BA and word-of-mouth reviews I heard about the place.

Good price on everything as well, nothign that stood out as too expensive. I just wish I could have gotten a couple of growlers.

Photo of Niniimaa
2.5/5  rDev -40.5%
vibe: 2 | quality: 2.5 | service: 2 | selection: 3 | food: 3

Coming in to the downtown Great Dane, the indifference of the hostesses(3) was matched by the lack of a service person who showed about 5 minutes after seated.

The location of GD was good on the corner of the block with great wooden floors and expansive bar and seating (tables and booths). Was there when only about 25% full and was still deafeningly loud inside.

House beer selections did include a couple of cask conditioned which get points from me. However I found the cask conditioned English ale was lacking in both malt and hop flavours; would give ice tea a run for its money however. Also tried the award-winning Peck’s Pilsner which was far superior to the german pilsner (which had no flavour) but was still a re-branded High Life, lacking any apparent hops.

The menu significantly lacked cheese choices for a Wisconsin establishment. Avoid the pretzels that look correct but are similar to hotdog buns in the inside. The Brats&Mash brought GD up to an acceptable only; brats being on par to a good breakfast sausage, and the mash potatoes being actual potatoes (not whipped). Salads were large but flavourless; maybe seasonality an issue on freshness.

This is not a destination pub. Trying visiting if in Madison for a few weeks.

Photo of Sconnie
3.93/5  rDev -6.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5

This is a great place to drink beer. The beers they have year round are all good, and they always surprise with their rotating beers. Good food as well, their artichoke dip and the beer bread with honey butter are particularly good finger food to have while drinking. Great atmosphere, always good people around. Whenever a friend comes into town or someone has a birthday or just about any other reason to go out, I often steer the group toward the Great Dane.
The only thing I don't like is their cask beer selection. I appreciate their attempt to replicate the British pub style, but the 3 cask beers i've tried there have all been sub par; the cask brown ale was the ONLY beer i've ever ordered at the Dane that I truly did not like. I've had cask ale's in England and I enjoy the style, so i'm not just some guy who doesn't like his beer warm and flat, but I just feel the Dane doesn't replicate them as well.
(Edit: I had there cask ESB the other day, and it was quite good. So maybe they've figured out the cask ales, or maybe I just randomly chose a couple that they didn't do well.)
That being said, this is a good brew pub and they always have tons of stellar beer.

Photo of happygnome
4.2/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

a: very nice, more restraunt than bar a lot of wood, like an old pub very pleasant
q: the beer was truly very good
s: we were seated very quickly, the waitress was very knowledgeable regarding what foods went well with what beers
selection: they have a fairly good selection of beers and food items. even my picky father in law was able to find something to eat and drink that he enjoyed
f: i was very pleased with the wings that i had very tasty\
v: not too bad, reasonable considering how good everything is

Photo of gueuzegeek
4.63/5  rDev +10.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

The first thing I want to start with is how incredible the bar tenders were. I went my first night in town and then again my last night. I was only in town for 5 nights and spent 4 of them at the various GDs!! I think the first bartender was named Debbie (sorry if I spelled it wrong) and she was terrific. She helped me pick my dinner too and it was great stuff!! Her beer knowledge was also right on! I liked it so much I had to go see the others and then finally made my way back again, at which time someone named Ryan (some people called him Nolan at first, which I learned was not his name, just the obvious Nolan Ryan thing) was doing an incredible job in spite of the fact that all patrons, other than the 150+ people who booked the pool-room bar for a party, were crammed into the front bar!! I think many bartenders could learn a thing or two from him about service and about keeping your cool even when the pace is making you sweat!!

These people are all knowledgeable and even the brewer came out for a bit as he was putting on a freshly filtered keg of the Devil's lake Red lager (NICE!!) I cannot begin to list all the different things I tried, but heck, I thought everything was damn fine!! The Old Glory APA was fab and I would have loved to have seen that on the hand pump!! The porter and stout I tried was great as well.

My food was fab too!! Love this place, and can't wait to get back!!

Now, just in case I don't get to review the others seperately, the service and both Fitchberg (Dennis) and Hilldale (Didn't get the names, but at least three people attended to me while I was there so I was NEVER without a beer or anything the whole time!!!) were great as well. Food also great and the beer at both was fab as well.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

What can be said about the Great Dane that hasn't already been said? Not much. It's clearly the best brewpub in Madison. Now, I haven't been to the Fitchburg location (I'll get there next time!), but I have been to Hilldale, and the downtown location just has so much more charm and character in its looks and feel that there's really no comparison. I love the big booths! Anyway, I also love the food. They have several vegetarian choices, which I appreciate, and they're clearly marked on the easy to read menu. Massive choice of beers!!! Of course you'll want to try them all. And, they're all good. Very well-made, balanced beers - without question some of the best brewpub beer I've ever had; and better than many micros... these guys do a really good job. AND, they serve some of it cask-conditioned :) The service can be hit or miss (college students...), but for the most part it's just slightly above what has become the average. It's a perfect place for a first date, a night out with the guys, or even a place to bring mom & dad. Highly recommended.

Photo of BeerBelcher
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I visited the Great Dane while visiting Madison during the day with the family, and I was impressed by the selection of beers, the quality of the food on the menu, and the quality of the beers was also good.

The restaurant was very crowded, due in part to a Mary Kay convention in town (those ladies were sucking down some beers!). It took awhile for us to get seated, but in the meantime I was impressed by the dark-wood ambience of the place as I enjoyed a beer at the bar.

Eventually we were seated in a booth. Everyone ordered, and was quite happy with their food. There was a nice selection of pizza, salads, burgers, sandwiches, and entrees on the menu. Everyone in my party (we met some friends at the Great Dane, so altogether there were 6 of us) was quite happy with their lunch. Service was not all that attentive, but was OK.

This is the best brewpub I've yet been to in Wisconsin (Onopa/Stonefly, Milwaukee Ale House, Rock Bottom are the others I've been to in WI).

Photo of jdoherty
4.45/5  rDev +6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Always a must stop when around the capital. This Madison bar masters the atmosphere a microbrewery and restaurant brought together. This place focuses on the beer, but the food is absolutely spectacular as well. Wooden walls and a mirror into the microbrewery make for some great decor. Tons of space, two bars, a poolhall, and restaurant space all in one, but it still feels really homey

The service is great and the waiters and bartenders know exactly which food goes with which. The beer quality is awesome, the Crop Circle Wheat is absolutely heaven during the summer. They have over a dozen of their own brews, including two casks.

The food is top quality for Madison and is made to go with their beers. Prices are reasonable, especially considering how high quality it is. Finally, a beer bar worthy of taking someone on a date to.

Photo of Tbone
3.54/5  rDev -15.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

This is my first review of the Dane, even though I have gone their about 8 times over the past 10 years. I used to be impressed with the Dane. In fact, the wife and I took a weekend trip up to Madison in part because of my past respect for the Dane. However, I tried 8 of their 14 beers on tap and was not inspired to order a pint of any of them.
The first dissapointment was seeing that out of 14 beers, they had nothing bigger than a rather modest Scotch Ale. The suppossedly german hefeweizen was thin, overly citrusy and lacked much bannana-clove. If they would have called it a Wit I would have been more impressed. The Belgian pale was way over hopped for the style and lacked any notable belgian qualities. The Octoberfest was only average and lacking the big malt profile. The Speedbump IPA and Potters Run IPA were largely indistinguishable and more like a good pale than American IPAs. The Devils Lake Red Lager had a very pleasing creamy moutfeel but not much going on tastewise other than a more than expected hoppiness. The Cascade Porter was a good solid porter with notable hop qualities. The Stone of Scone scotch was also pretty good but not a wee-heavy by any means. Both the porter and scotch were worthy of full pints, but with Come-back-Inn and Maduro still before us, I was hoping to (and did) find beers more worthy.

The atmosphere and service were good, and I have enjoyed their food in the past. I will still hit the Dane when I'm in town and hopefully they will have something more interesting. But I won't consider them a destination worthy of a road trip as I have in the past.

Photo of badbeer
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 5

We got seated almost immediately in a nice booth. Nice solid wood tables and a great bar atmosphere. Plus no smoking was going on around me, that was awesome. Service was out of this world, waiter was very knowledgeable and cared about the food, beer, and keeping the customer happy. Selection was nothing to scoff at either, and they had their Dark Mild on cask. Food was great, ordered the reuben, I highly recommend that. The other selection of food looked awesome too, I wish I could have tried more but I was quite limited on time. This is a must hit spot if you're in Madison.

Photo of Erdinger2003
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

We showed up got a seat and a beer in like two seconds. It was great beer and great food and the service was outstanding. Looking around it was like a nice old pub, but mostly a restaurant that served some really nice food. Made with an old world style that was new, fresh and fantastic. It was a personal relaxing experience. The selection was good sized I could see just under a dozen beers there and some even on cask, hand pump, and nitrogen keg. Overall it was a great experience except for the Madison traffic is a killer.

Photo of objectivemonkey
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4

8-21-2006: Came here with a buddy and a Madison local, went straight downstairs to the cellar-like basement bar. Really cool space, good bar, good atmosphere, it was like this underground vault-like bar in Prague I was once at. Pretty sweet. Didn't order any food, but the beer was just great. Ordered a sampler of their whole selection, something like 15-20 beers in all. Was a little upset that I they didn't have the porter in, but they had quite a few really good beers. From wheat to scotch ale to a lite, an impressive array of good beer. Sitting at the bar, had pretty good service. Overall, just a damn cool place, will have to hit it up several more times.

RE-REVIEW: 7-21-2008: Swinging through Madison on my way to Chicago on Sunday evening, sat in the bar area. Upon entering, there is the host stand to greet you, the bar to the left, some more island bar seating behind the host stand, some booths to the right, and the brewing equipment in view toward the rear. Lots of wood, a healthy does of stone, and a used, well-worn look to it all.

I sat at the island bar top and ordered from the bartender, as I didn't get a server to talk to after several mintues. The menu come in news print form, "The Dane Dispatch," which was pretty cool. On the back, it actually listed beer prices, which you don't see too often. Priced out in pint, pitcher, samplers in several quantities, happy hour, etc.

There were 9 beers on the wood-carved boards (standards), 6 on chalkboards, and two on cask and another few getting pulled. Pretty wide selection, to say the least. Ordered the Nakoma Nachos, which came in a whopping heap of their own tortillas made that day, with cheese, guacamole, sour cream, black olives, and jalepenos, and i ordered some spiced chicken with it. It was good, could've used more guacamole and more cheese, but still, yum. Had the cask scotch first, not too fantastic but hella good sessioner. Then the pulled Devil's Red, also pretty good. The food was average priced, the beers were cheap.

Pretty much, I'm a bit jealous of Madison with all its beery goodness. And I'll say, whenever I'm in Madison, I'll probably be hitting up the Dane at least once.

Photo of shivtim
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

With an excellent location, great beer, and great food, this is definitely a stop to make when traveling through Madison. Inside is bright and airy with brick and wood everywhere. Kind of typical brew pub, but classier and brighter. I wish it were a bit more original though, as we've all seen the brick/wood brewpub before. The food is excellent; I had a crazy peanut/squash stew that was unique and tasty. Service was good, but not very beer knowledgeable. Overall the impression is a slightly up-scale restaraunt that's not stuffy and happend to have 15 beers on tap. There were 6 seasonals and even the bizarre watermelon wheat; so a nice variety of available brews. I imagine the atmosphere here varies wildly from lunch to dinner to late-night.

Photo of expatsteve
4.45/5  rDev +6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

One of Madison's gems, the downtown Dane offers great beer, great food, and for the most part a great atmosphere. Decked out in the wooden trim that's become typical for many brewpubs, the Great Dane manages to create atmosphere with this rather than appearing cliched.

The downtown Dane is a sprawling place, with a beer garden, a downstairs bar, a dining room upstairs and a more casual bar area. This last area features pool and lounges for watching one of several TVs. All areas are spacious and comfortable, and conversation remains possible even on a busy night.

There are normally around fifteen different beers available on tap, with six regular beers (pilsner, porter, scotch ale, stout, an APA and a light) and an ever-changing array of seasonals and limited releases. There is also very little the brewers won't try, and for the most part there is always something to appeal to nearly everyone. My only criticism is that during the summer (and at the time of writing this) nearly all there seasonal capacity is taken up with Mallards Ale, which they produce for the local baseball team. While this isn't an awful beer, it certainly isn't good enough to bump seasonals for as long as it does. The weekday happy hour special is $2.75 imperial pints, which is as lethal an offer as it is good.

The menu is also a winner, with good offerings in nearly every category - try the Southwest Tortellini, any of their sausage offerings, or their pot pie. The appetizers are also really good, and aren't badly priced ($6-$9). Service is good for the most part, with a fairly knowledgeable waitstaff. This doesn't always flow over to the bar staff, but for the most part they're pretty good too. While staff don't always know all the beers (hard with the constant changes), they are nearly always friendly and fast to the table.

If you're in Madison, be sure to check this place out - arguably one of the best brewpubs in the Midwest.

Photo of soulgrowl
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

If there's one thing that makes me want to live in Madison, it's the Great Dane. Good beer (and plenty of it) at good prices with good food in a cool place. The first time I went, I didn't try any of their beers because I was sick, but this time, I tried the Watermelon Wheat, the Black Earth Porter, the cask-conditioned Extra Pale Ale, and the Scotch ale, all of which were delicious, especially the porter and the Extra Pale. Our waiter was a little slow at times but very friendly, and the food was a notch above standard pub food - I had the Great Dane burger with artichoke dip and also tried the fried walleye and the hummus plate, all of which were quite good. The atmosphere is pleasant, smoke-free, a little boisterous but still family-friendly, with a cool cellar area. Overall, a very enjoyable beer servery with fresh brews that were noticeably more gutsy and robust than what you'd normally get at a brewpub. Highly recommended.

Photo of tavernjef
4.68/5  rDev +11.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Madison is one lucky city to have such a wonderful brewpub. This place is very well thought out. Not sure where to start. Atmosphere is good, I can see this place getting pretty busy and wonder what it would be like then. Both my stops were for lunch which is a totally different crowd and feel then what I think the night crowd would probably be. The music being played within the walls is alternative mostly so it plays more for the college crowd I think more then anything.

The place is huge, an area bar with a large spread with 6 pool tables, an area for darts, and a leather seating lounge is impressive. And thats just one area. There's the main bar area in the center entrance which is average in size with bar seating, a few tables, and a wall section divided by tall booth seating. And to the right of that is a main dining area with room for many. The bar is itself, when seated, is very cool. Spacey from front to back. Nicely varnished dark wood in a browned mahogany tone. Taps with dog heads on them, and in the other bar area where the billiard tables are, the taps there have the various billiard balls on them. Nice touch. I could go on and on in some detail, but it could take awhile as this place has it all. Including some damn good beer.

Something like 15 beers always ready for the imbibing. They have 5 or 6 rotational offerings; seasonals and the like. And a brigade of standards including a Scotch ale, 2 pils (1 German styled), a Hefe, a Red, a Pale, a Porter, and a couple others. The names for escape me at the time as I didn't right them all down during my visits. Many, many, freshly made brews can be had here thats for sure. I got myself some growlers of course. But had a few pints during each visit and everything I has was damn solid. My favorite was the Mallard ale, named for the minor league baseball team in Madison. It was a perfectly tasty treat for the heat. I wanted to get to the Scotch and the porter but it just didn't seem fitting. I stayed with more of the standards and lighter beers this trip. The servers let me try a sample of em, and they were promising; so next time those will make the bill.

And speaking of servers, their service here was solid, very knowledgable of the beers they were serving and more then happy to let have a quick sample of something if you weren't sure what you wanted. The food came quickly too. Not long after ordering the food was at the bar.

Food was good. A good menu, lots of choices, solid grub for sure, sandwiches hot or cold, salads, and some entrees in about 8 to 10 other choices including soups. However, the portions of a few items that the group shared should've been bigger for the price. Which is the only downfall for the place. Prices. Food on the menu is a little high, especailly for what ya get. Burgers hovered around $7.50 and up and they weren't much of a burger for that price. Plus, the beer is $4.00 a pint, not what I'm used to with $2.50, $3.50, depending where and when (Great Waters and Town Hall), perhaps they run special prices on beer here and just missed em due to the whole lunch time thing? Other then that, no complaints.

One very nice brewpub! I'll be coming back.

Photo of bedwyr
4.43/5  rDev +5.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

The Great Dane in downtown Madison is Heaven on Earth for me. They always have some new beers available and they never seem to go for average...they go for the gusto. Every beer there has been a love it or hate it experience and even the ones I hated I could tell were quality beers, just not to my palate's taste. The food at Great Dane can nearly match the beers, as well. Great food, great beers, and just a fun place. What more can a guy want? The ESB and Crop Circle Wheat are always great, very drinkable beers and if you want, they'll have something ready to knock you on your can, too. If you're anywhere near Madtown, don't miss it!

Photo of edmundfitzoil
4.58/5  rDev +9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

On my 23rd birthday as my fiance and I traveled the long and winding road, which we chose to make long and winding, from Oregon to Ohio, we stopped in Madison to see the Great Dane, eat dinner, and for me to have a beer or two.

Inside the building the place is large. Packed and loud with conversations of the customers. The walls were decorated with plenty of pictures of old historic Madison, and in the main pub room, the brewing tanks were visible behind glass windows. There was a large room with pool tables, another large dining room, and multiple porches or patios that we saw. The tap selection proved to be a choice of 17 beers available along with multiple cask conditioned ales (a changing choice of IPA's on cask). Highlights from the beers were an American style wheat, which I sampled and was impressed by, a dark mild, a porter, and a dry Irish Stout. I had the Scotch Ale. The large, newspaper style laid out menus featured much of the expected pub fair favorites and plenty of vegetarian selections (exciting for a carnivore who occasionally plays with the concept of being a vegetarian). That being said, I ordered a grilled sausage platter with a selection of mustards and garlic mashed potatoes. The food was of good quality. My fiance loved her choice, and with the sheer number of selections there you could return again and again and not eat the same thing multiple times. The female server knew her brews very, very well (she distinguished between a glass and porter and stout by the nose of the beers) and was very friendly. The prices seemed pretty reasonable.

The Great Dane proved to be a real blast and would be a place, because of their selection of beers, good quality food, and sheer size of the place I would be more than willing to return to.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.4/5  rDev +4.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

After spending several hours buying a carload of beer at some of Madison's finest beer stores, I headed to what is unquestionably Madison's finest brewpub. The area around the Great Dane was crazybusy at noon on a beautiful spring Saturday and there was no hope of finding parking on the street. I pulled into a nearby parking garage and headed in what I thought was the right direction. Imagine my surprise when I exited a door and found myself within 20 feet of the Dane's front door.

I was seated right away, but by the time I left the place was full-to-bursting and all newcomers were being given those flashing coaster thingamabobs. Or are they whatchamacallits? I won't go into details about the interior since others have done an excellent job of describing the furnishings and the general atmosphere.

GD has an impressive selection of beer, the listing of which was handily located on a chalkboard that was right above my table. The menu was in the form of a small newpaper and, in addition to the food, included descriptions of the standard offerings, but not of the two cask beers or of the seasonals. I don't know that I've ever been in a brewpub with such a large and varied selection.

As far as beer quality goes, I'm not sure that it's fair to make a sweeping judgement after two pints. I started off with a disappointing Stone of Scone Scotch (ahem... Scottish) Ale and finished with a very good Texas Speedbump IPA. I trust the regulars who say the beer is of (almost) uniformly high quality. I thought about taking home a growler, but didn't feel like dropping another $11-12 after spending so much earlier in the day.

It's also not fair to judge a restaurant's food after one meal. My reuben was good, but the 'Kohl slaw' lacked zip. Again, I leave it to those who've sampled most of the menu to provide the lowdown on Great Dane comestibles. My waitress was very nice and my food and drink arrived in record time. Both were the perfect temperature for eating and drinking respectively.

It's a shame that I live so far away from the Great Dane and that I had to do a hit-and-run on what I'm sure is an outstanding establishment. If I lived in Madison, there's no doubt that I'd be a regular. A definite 'must stop'.

Great Dane Pub & Brewing Company (Downtown) in Madison, WI
94 out of 100 based on 159 ratings.