Great Dane Pub & Brewing Company (Downtown)
Ratings: 146 | Reviews: 106 | Display Reviews Only:
4.45/5 rDev +5.2%
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.
10-30-2006 05:04:34 | More by jdoherty
3.54/5 rDev -16.3%
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.
10-08-2006 21:06:35 | More by Tbone
4.5/5 rDev +6.4%
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.
09-05-2006 20:46:20 | More by badbeer
4.47/5 rDev +5.7%
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.
09-04-2006 03:04:42 | More by Erdinger2003
4.3/5 rDev +1.7%
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.
08-21-2006 00:03:41 | More by objectivemonkey
4.15/5 rDev -1.9%
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.
08-17-2006 01:24:24 | More by shivtim
4.45/5 rDev +5.2%
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.
07-25-2006 03:26:55 | More by expatsteve
United Kingdom (England)
4.3/5 rDev +1.7%
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.
07-22-2006 15:12:08 | More by soulgrowl
4.68/5 rDev +10.6%
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.
07-17-2006 00:02:32 | More by tavernjef
4.43/5 rDev +4.7%
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!
07-08-2006 20:16:26 | More by bedwyr
Great Dane Pub & Brewing Company (Downtown) in Madison, WI
94 out of 100 based on 146 ratings.