Madison is quirky, to put it gently. With all this quirk has come a plethora of provocative bars, restaurants, and other venues that provide rather fun backdrops to have a drink.
Here are some of the most unique, odd spots to catch a drink around the Isthmus.
For someone in need of a little magic in their life:
Oz by Oz | 📍 113 King St.
A soul-warming, sensory experience tucked away on King St. — Oz is dedicated to creating a mystical, cocktail + snack forward experience sure to make you feel spiritual.
Pro tip: The incredible art featured in Oz celebrates local creatives + you can take home a piece of the magic as some of this work is for sale.
For someone equally interested in literature + libations:
Leopold’s Books Bar Caffè | 📍 1301 Regent St.
A thoughtful intersection of a bookstore, bar, and caffè. Leopold’s is an armchair traveler’s delight with internationally inspired drinks + literature.
Pro tip: The book section at Leopold’s is organized by both author and geography, allowing for a highly expedited trip around the world — fictionally, that is.
For someone who likes to drink, but loves to game:
I/O Arcade Bar | 📍 924 Williamson St.
With 70+ games including arcade classics, pinball, and board games, there is no excuse for boredom at I/O. The barcade is perfect for anyone with a knack for games but a passion for drinking.
Pro tip: While I/O is strictly a 21+ venue, anyone is welcome to game + hang out on Sundays from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
For someone who fancies themself a creative:
Dark Horse Artbar | 📍 756 E. Washington Ave.
A multi-use bar and lounge space celebrating an eclectic mix of creatives and creators. From art galleries and stand-up comedians to belly dancers and more, Dark Horse fosters an inclusive atmosphere for local and national talent.
For someone who believes in supporting local:
Brix Cider | 📍 119 S. 2nd St., Mt. Horeb
A cidery with sustainability and locality at the core of its ethos. Check out the tasting room in Mt. Horeb for farm-to-table food and drink pairings + learn about the local farms and purveyors that help create the Brix product.
For someone who is still a camp kid at heart:
Camp Trippalindee | 📍 601 Langdon St.
A place where camp is always in session. Don your favorite outdoor gear for a trip back to 1980s camping + rural Wisconsin taverns for a drink at the camp-inspired bar and restaurant atop the Graduate Hotel.
Hole-in-the-wall or odd spots are intended to be exactly that, lowkey. While we don’t want to blow up your spot, feel free to drop us a note and let us know where your favorite offbeat or quirky hangout spot is — we promise we won’t share it without your go-ahead.