Cardinal's Nest serves up a mountainous menu of sports-friendly fare in a lively ambience. Eager eaters can dig foam fingers into a Cardinal's Nest appetizer, a nest of onion rings filled with deep-fried pickles, green beans, cheese curds, and chicken wings ($9.99). Sandwiches ranging from a slow-cooked barbecue-pork wrap ($7.69) to a half-pound all-American burger smothered in barbecue sauce, cheddar, bacon, and onion straws ($8.29) tackle halftime hunger along with entrees such as blackened chicken and fettucini swimming in homemade alfredo sauce ($11.99). On Friday nights, the bar fries up beer-battered cod fillets for seafarers ($7.99–$11.99).
All three affiliated bowling alleys offer state-of-the-art synthetic lanes for bowling as smooth and entertaining as Captain Kirk's romantic prowess. Both Prairie Lanes and Ten Pin Alley sport 32 lanes, and the Bowl-A-Vard location offers 40 full lanes of polished fun. An automated bumper system lets kids bowl on the same lane as adults, making the experience fun for the whole family or for five unrelated strangers forced to bond over recreational sports for an upcoming reality-television series. With today's deal, spend two hours taunting your friends and taking out frustrations on a group of hapless pinheads. Unlike other competitive sports, such as dogsled racing and rap battling, bowling has zero barriers to entry and a shallow learning curve.
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.
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.
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 creamy cherry cheesecake specialty shot ($3) to warm sudsy stomachs. 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. Sate a nagging sweet tooth 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 whiskey side car ($7) 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).
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.
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.