Dexter’s Pub is dedicated to providing a diverse selection of high-quality beers on tap and in the bottle. Selections change frequently to reflect the season and preferences of the customers and staff. Enjoy a local ale or porter, or soak in summer with a light lager. Once your stomach is hoppy and joyful, look to Dexter’s menu for a culinary cohort of delicious selections. The menu boasts homemade soups ($2.29–$2.99), salads ($2.95–$7.49), burgers (build-your-own and other specialty burgers start at $5.49, veggie burgers at $5), sandwiches ($2.50–$7.75), pizzas (starting at $5.99), and more. If these selections don't fill your bottomless torso purse, come back on Saturday for prime-rib night ($13.99–$15.99), which offers local prime rib from Knoche’s butcher shop in Middleton.
Dance Wisconsin is composed of young, nimble-footed dancers from across southern Wisconsin, many of whom have gone on to professional careers. This deal will get you a close-up view of the company’s performance of Nutcracker Fantasy, with more than 70 local dancers joining two guest performers from New York’s prestigious American Ballet Theatre to present a contemporary adaptation of Tchaikovsky’s famous ballet. Last year’s performance was lauded by the Isthmus for its crowd-pleasing dance moves. Audience members of all ages will feel warm inside Uncle Drosselmeyer's toy shop, where toys come to life and lead children on quests to other worlds and fourth-dimensional convenience stores. This production breathes youthful imagination into the ultimate dream story by juxtaposing the traditional ballet and score with original costumes, music, and plot elements, such as a ballroom dance performed to “Carol of the Bells.”
The name The Sports Pub explains it all. Here, the night's biggest college and professional games zip across 15 high-definition LCD screens scattered among the bar's tables and booths?and patrons can also watch live sports every spring and summer from the patio, when volleyball-league members serve and spike balls across the pub's four sand courts. Weekly karaoke nights and live DJ appearances diversify The Sports Pub's entertainment lineup, which spectators can relish while sipping one of the bar's 13 draft beers. Those brews make perfect matches for the kitchen's pub food classics, such as pizza burgers and baked pretzels filled with jalape?o cheese.
Madison's experiential comedy show takes place at the eastside Glass Nickel Pizza Company on Atwood Avenue and begins at 8 p.m. (doors open at 7:30 p.m.). The Monkey Business Institute features no sets, props, or scripts, which allows the hilarious ensemble to craft improv hilarity off the spur of their cufflinks. With decades of improvisational cosmonaut experience and interactive audience participation, each show is distinct and spontaneous. This simian comedy collective features improvisers such as Matt Sloan and Aaron Yonda, who have received more than 70 million YouTube hits for viral video sensations such as "Chad Vader." Keep a third eye peeled for other local favorites Brad Knight, Jason Stephens, Sheila Robertson, and more.
The Old Sugar Distillery produces small-batch liquors made from Midwestern ingredients. Its cornerstone concoction, the Old Sugar Factory Honey Liqueur, is distilled from dark-brown beet sugar and then aged in a wooden womb of American oak before being subtly sweetened with pure Wisconsin honey. The Cane and Abe Freshwater Rum, named in honor of President Lincoln and his favorite criminal-scaring stick, is made with cane sugar lovingly beamed up from the saccharine states of Hawaii and Louisiana and then aged in charred American oak barrels. These luscious liquids can be sampled either by sipping a freshly made cocktail ($6) at the distillery's long wooden bar, or by buying a bottle ($30) for midnight sips in the dead chill of winter. The Old Sugar Distillery also offers free tours and tastings with up-close views of the large copper pot still.
Live music is king at The Brink Lounge. The audiophile-geared bar hosts diverse acts every night from Tuesday through Saturday. Any number of bands might stop by to enchant audiences with their stylings, from national acts to small local bands. Their sound can vary, too, with past musicians regaling audiences with jazz, rock, folk, or soul-flavored stylings.
Visitors to The Brink Lounge don’t just sit back and listen to the music, either. Periodically, the bar puts on swing-dance nights and tango or salsa nights that encourage visitors to leap from their chairs, grab a partner, and cut a rug with their regulation-sharp tap shoes.
Patrons can also visit the bar for its liquid entertainment, which includes an extensive list of creative martinis and more than 100 internationally sourced wines. Bartenders shake and stir cosmos, lemon drops, and a coffee lover's martini, which blends espresso vodka, Frangelico, and cream. Drinks in hand, bar-goers can gather around a regular table or sink into cushy chairs and couches to soak in the music and the paintings hung on the walls. Between sips, groups can split plates of handmade pizzas or dive into bowls of spinach-artichoke dip and aged-cheddar fondue.