In addition to helping support the Union, a completely self-supporting, non-profit organization, a community membership to the Wisconsin Union grants card-carriers access to grand opening events, hotel discounts, specialty classes, and more. During summer, the Terrace on the shores of Lake Mendota hosts live music five nights a week, and the Lakeside Cinema screens films on Monday nights. Throughout the year, members can take advantage of renting rooms for events, purchasing food from the Union’s 21 eateries, campus-wide WiFi access, and a connection to the heart, soul, and sweaty date-night palms of the University of Wisconsin student body.
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.
Hawk's comfortably juggles delicious eats and sudsy sips, jazz-filled days and party-tuned nights, sage regulars and slurring students, and a healthy dose of sports. The menu is an eclectic smorgasbord of hearty salads, handmade burgers, homemade soups, savory sandwiches, and fresh appetizers. Balance a top-sirloin burger ($6.95 and up) with the Mediterranean plate, a colorful spread of hummus, couscous, greek tomato salad, grilled pita bread, and yogurt sauce all nestled together in fine democracy ($5.75–$7.75). After ordering from the food counter, head to the barroom, an elongated easement that's festooned with palpable drinks and first-rate conversation. Along with a giant selection of tap and bottled beers, there are specialty martinis, cocktails, and more than 20 wines by the glass. If the weather is nice, visitors can soak in some of the city's best people watching on the outside patio, or head inside to catch a sports game on moving-image machines such as a massive projector TV beyond the bar and the stereoscopes hidden beneath the bar stools.
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).
Madison's is an aptly named establishment dedicated to crafting a casual, comfy, and classic atmosphere full of good vibes and tasty comestibles. Sate burgeoning grumbles with upscale appetizers like coconut shrimp ($11) and goat-cheese crostini with caramelized onions ($9.75), or keep it classic with a helping of savory cheese curds ($7.75). Bask in the extensive menu en route to exquisite entrees by nibbling on portabella-and-prosciutto flatbread ($10.50), a flavor-packed barbecue-chicken-ranch salad ($8.75), or savory sandwiches such as the six-ounce grilled yellowfin ($13.50) or the bacon, guacamole, and pepper-jacked Isthmus burger ($9). The hearty entrees are as strapping and enjoyable as a forest jaunt atop Paul Bunyan's shoulders, and come in classically refined shapes like the 6-ounce tenderloin filet ($20), served with mashed potatoes, or the salmon piccata ($16), laid atop a bed of wild rice and drizzled in a white-wine cream sauce and capers.
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.