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by Hannah Giese

While looking for an upscale sports bar, Madison’s provided the perfect atmosphere and an urban spin on some classic dishes. Madison’s offers new American cuisine—Mediterranean and Asian twists on standard American eats—and boasts eight flat screens and two projectors to create the ultimate sport watching experience.

As I first glanced at the menu, I felt instantly at home with traditional Wisconsin items like cheese curds. But the menu took an unexpected turn when I saw these classic dishes paired next to more exotic choices, including black pepper seared ahi and mussels provençal. Flatbreads, gourmet salads and specialty sandwiches as well as various fish, poultry and beef entrées were also on the menu.

Turkey Pesto Sandwich, photo by Hannah Geise

For our entrées, my friends and I ordered the turkey pesto sandwich layered with goat cheese and red onions with a side of sweet potato fries. The sandwich was delicious, and the fries were delightfully crispy and not overly salted. We also indulged in three-cheese tortellini and an Italian sausage flatbread sandwich with sage, basil, mozzarella and marinara sauce. Our entrée items were well portioned and the flavors complemented each other well.

Three-Cheese Tortellini, photo by Hannah Geise
Italian Sausage Flatbread Sandwich, photo by Hannah Geise

For dessert, we sampled the fried cheesecake—a slice of cheesecake fried in a puff pastry, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. This proved to be the weakest dish, and the texture and taste of the cheesecake was mediocre and reminiscent of your usual fried doughnut.

Fried Cheesecake, photo by Hannah Geise

Beyond the menu, the décor created a casual, urban atmosphere complete with contrasting brick and wood architecture. A textured, maroon ceiling added a subtle romantic ambiance. The restaurant’s playlist included a mix of fast jazz and indie rock. Large glass windows that look out onto King Street and lounging furniture enhanced the urban feel. The service was excellent; friendly, smiling staff complemented the overall tone of the restaurant and certainly enhanced our dining experience.

Overall, I enjoyed my Madison’s experience. With its unique spin on classic American dishes and urban atmosphere, this downtown eatery has definitely become a personal favorite I will recommend again and again.

Check out Madison’s at 119 King Street. Hours are Monday-Saturday, 4pm to 2am. Peruse the menu at or call 608-229-0900 to make a reservation.

Madison's Interior, photo by Hannah Geise