Behind State Street Brats' charming Old-World half-timbered façade, a convivial bar-and-grill atmosphere welcomes visitors to lively feastings of pub fare. With a special focus on sausages and cheesy meals, the menu celebrates the best-loved staples of Midwestern cuisine. Chefs serve up brats two traditional ways, with the Sheboygan-style white brat soaked in beer and red brats split open and grilled for a smoky flavor. Patrons can customize their orders at the condiment bar by slathering on a wide selection of toppings, such as tomatoes and sauerkraut, and picking the best flavor from a spread of local mustards, including Koops, Silver Spring, and Mustard Girl.
A two-time finalist for Madison Magazine’s Best Sports Bar, with a gold in 2011 and silver in 2012, State Street Brats relishes the company of happy regulars and avid sports fans there to catch games on the bar’s 25 TVs. Extensive cable and digital subscriptions keep crowds entertained with professional football and baseball or collegiate action. Four evenings a week, the second floor comes to life with a live DJ and a packed dance floor. Bartenders also keep fans on their toes with themed specials, such as Flip Night Tuesday, where patrons can flip a coin to determine how much their drinks cost.
The Capitol Pedaler was designed and built by a Dutchman in bicycle-happy Amsterdam before arriving in Madison to whisk travelers around town in eco-friendly style. Lovingly referred to as “The Big Red Bike”, it adopted its signature hue state-side in honor of the Wisconsin Badgers, and frequently takes breaks from escorting pub-crawlers and wedding parties to ferry fans on game day. Capable of accommodating up to 14 passengers, with the recommended group size of at least six–eight pedalers the vehicle typically cruises at 5–7 miles per hour—the perfect speed for drag racing local steamrollers.
Prechosen routes include excursions to the zoo or the Old Sugar Distillery, making up to three preselected stops en route at local bars, public parks, and coffee shops. While alcoholic drinks aren’t allowed on the foot-powered party bus, passengers are welcome to bring their own snacks and nonalcoholic drinks to enjoy between stops, and can blast premade playlists of party songs or favorite commercial jingles courtesy of an on-board stereo with iPod and mp3-player connections.
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 jalapeño cheese.
Jade Monkey's menu has a martini, iced tea, mojito, classic or specialty cocktail, hard-hitting spirit, or craft, imported, or domestic beer to appease any esophagus. Chase the bubbly Rosie Palmer, a champagne cocktail with PAMA pomegranate liqueur and champagne ($4), with a red-headed slut specialty shot ($3) to jumpstart a sultry summer-night romance. For hops and froth enthusiasts, Jade Monkey's eight on-tap brews (including Ale Asylum Hopalicious, Bell's Seasonal, and New Glarus Spotted Cow) complement a hearty list of craft brews, domestics, and imports. Because an ice-cream truck's jingle only hypnotizes children and stray dogs, adults sweeten hot days with Jade Monkey's ice-cream drinks such as the grasshopper, a creamy whirl of crème de menthe, crème de cacao, and ice cream ($7). Classic cocktails such as the mint julep ($6) are available along with signature creations such as the Dog Sled, a sweet and tart pour featuring Captain Morgan, Southern Comfort, orange juice, and pineapple juice ($4).
Lucky’s satisfies appetites for pub fare and sports with a lunch and dinner menu and 50 televisions broadcasting all major sports packages from above a dark wood bar. Patrons can commence flavor explorations with six wings, which cooks toss with a choice of buffalo, barbecue, or garlic-parmesan sauce ($6.99), before strapping one to each shoulder to attract newly single griffins ($6.99). For the Wild West burger, grillmasters herd a beef patty and strips of applewood-smoked bacon onto a fresh kaiser roll smothered with barbeque sauce, grilled onions, and cheddar cheese ($6.99). As parents masticate on the sauerkraut-filled Regent Street reuben ($7.49), pint-sized palates can step up to bat with the minor leaguer’s menu and punt a slider hamburger into a side of fries or applesauce ($2.95).
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.