Essen Haus

Essen HausEssen Haus
BA SCORE
4.01/5
48 Ratings
Essen HausEssen Haus
PLACE INFO

Type: Bar, Eatery

514 E Wilson St
Madison, Wisconsin, 53703-3431
United States

(608) 255-4674 | map
essen-haus.com

Notes:
No notes at this time.

Added by brakspear

PLACE STATS
Reviews:
29
Ratings:
48
pDev:
10.72%
 
HISTOGRAM
 
View: Place Reviews | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 48 |  Reviews: 29
Reviews by BoitSansSoif:
Photo of BoitSansSoif
3.38/5  rDev -15.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 2

I am going to rate my overall experience at Essenhaus, which is less than flattering, although beer-wise, it's an excellent find.
My first time here, we sat and sat and were never even approached by the waitstaff. 15 minutes later, we left.
My second time, we were treated warmly. The atmosphere was decent, and the oompah music kicked off halfway through the meal. The waitstaff this time did a stellar job. The beer selection is excellent, and it is enjoyable to drink from a boot, but be prepared to sign a waiver--those things aren't cheap if you break one, and they are tippy! The glassware goes beyond the boots, and you can catch a nice glimpse of window displays if you are walking the sidewalk on the Lake Monona side. It really lures you in. The decor is also charming, and a welcome respite for the thirsty.
I thought my first impressions of the place were unfounded, and based on a unique, atypical, and unfortunate experience...and then they brought out the food. I know what traditional German food tastes like, and although it's not a culture known for its haute cuisine, it's infinitely better than what the cooks tried to push over on us. The sausage barely rivaled those of my high school cafeteria, and the spatzle was already starting to get cold when it arrived. The highlights of the meal were the delicious beers, which washed the food down and made it taste better as I drank my way toward the insole, and the mustard, which spiced up the bland flavor between sips. Why didn't I put it aside? I was famished.
The food was quite pricey for its quality. I ate it anyway; I'll eat almost anything, but I still know what constitutes good food. If all meat tasted this way, I would turn vegetarian tomorrow with no regrets. In all fairness, I will return here because it is unique and charming, and the beer selection is good, which is supposed to be the primary focus of this review.
It pains me to bash what is actually a beerlover's gem, but we got started off on the wrong foot. I went in expecting a decent restaurant with a modest beer selection, but found a great bar with a poor dinner menu. It is one of four local bars I like to bring my visiting friends to, and it should remain just that...a bar, and not a restaurant. It's also a decent place to catch Badger games on the telly if you can't make it to Camp Randall.

 2,350 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of Rilesmiles
4.09/5  rDev +2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Photo of emerge077
3.86/5  rDev -3.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.5

Stopped in here and at Come Back In over Great Taste weekend.
It was late at night, and fairly empty. The oompah band was finishing up their set, and a couple tables lingered. The walls were heavily laden with dark wood and German kitsch, many maßkrugs lined the shelves and hung from hooks in the ceiling. A painted sign above one corner table signified the Stammtisch. or "regulars table". The space was sprawling, yet when empty it had a certain eerie stillness about it. You could imagine the tables full of jovial souls belting out the chorus to Ein Prosit as the oompah band played, but not tonight. For some reason the air was still and the mood was weary.

The bartender was friendly but no nonsense, busying herself with menial tasks rather than chatting with anyone.

Beer selection was ok, pretty much the typical German standbys. Mostly the big 3, Spaten, Hacker-Pschorr, and Paulaner, but one Ayinger, Jahrhundert. Also Hofbräu, DAB, Krombacher, and Warsteiner. Oddly there were still 2 Maibocks on tap at the beginning of Oktoberfest season, and the printed tap list was 3 months old. Guessing the selection doesn't rotate all that much. Spaten Okto was on, but I went for my go-to, Würzburger Hofbräu Pils.

Overall it was a good experience, except for the working lady that followed us from the Come Back In, which the bartender guessed was "probably a prostitute". Ya don't say...

 1,405 characters

Photo of Riff
4.24/5  rDev +5.7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5

German themed bar and restaurant. Inside has a feeling of a college town bar. The decor is okay but the atmosphere was fun while we were there. Did not partake of the food while were there. The big draw is "Das Boot" or basically glass boots of craft beers. Good selection of craft beers, mostly local but a few national beers. They will make you sign a form and take your credit card in case you break one of the boots, they're a bit pricey. On the other hand you can buy boots from them, they have a number on hand.

 517 characters

Photo of Zatch90
3.86/5  rDev -3.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 3 | food: 4.5

Photo of UWBadgerFan4Life
3.64/5  rDev -9.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.75

Photo of Duff27
4.3/5  rDev +7.2%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

Photo of ShawnL
4/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Photo of djhowell
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3

Photo of redleg411
4.06/5  rDev +1.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4

Photo of twb0392
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%

Photo of Todd
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of Jason
4.25/5  rDev +6%

Photo of Canada_Dan
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of Fargrow
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of bigred89
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of BarrelAgedG
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of Gotti311
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of jera1350
4.25/5  rDev +6%

Photo of TX-Badger
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%

Photo of Ri0
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of ms333
3.25/5  rDev -19%

Photo of crossovert
3.56/5  rDev -11.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3

Was at the biergarten here for a brief bit during a great taste pre-party. The beer was Revolution and it was only 2 bucks a half liter. In retrospect I should have stayed there all night and sucked the tap of Maerzen dry.

Didn't go in, or eat. Just slugged a beer listening to the German band they had. I liked the atmosphere, not as authentic as it should be but fun in a sense. Just wish it was always 2$ half liter night there. Saw the taplist for normal hours and it is just a decent mishmash of German beers.

 515 characters

Photo of scones
4.05/5  rDev +1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I love this place, just like I love all German bars. Fun atmosphere, German beers on tap, large selection of German food. Service is pretty good (and all wearing German outfits), and the selection is pretty good too. Only thing I don't like about it is the price - 15+ for a sausage plate/schnitzel with sauerkraut and potatoes. Oh well, I'll still go whenever I can. Also it's attached to another bar next door, the Come Back Inn, which has a vastly different menu and beer selection but is also really good.

 509 characters

Photo of CuriousMonk
4.05/5  rDev +1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

A great place to visit, even though it’s sort of a chain. The ambiance is great - live polka music, German decorations and stuff all over the wall, and an overall great time to be had with the huge Das boots and everything else. The service was quick and friendly. The selection is pretty good for a restaurant - but hey, it’s German! The food was good, not the best German fare I’ve had, but still good especially the potatoes and sauerkrauts. Typical German beers on tap - nothing mind-blowing. The value was about average, and overall, I’ll definitely be hitting this place again whenever I visit Madison again.

 622 characters

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Essen Haus in Madison, WI
Place rating: 4.01 out of 5 with 48 ratings
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