Bar Review: The Vintage

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by Taylor Nye

Vintage Bar
The bar area at Vintage

The Vintage, located at 529 University Avenue, was voted “Best in Town” by the Wisconsin State Journal in 2008. But is it still the cream of the crop? Although many aspects of the bar are a hodge-podge of different stylistic elements and marketing tactics, the Vintage delivers as a place you feel comfortable making your first stop of the night.

The bar’s website states that it is “Distinctively housed in a vivid blue & yellow, art deco building, with an inviting patio.” In fact, it is actually housed in a square cinderblock building next to Ian’s pizza, with a few chairs fenced in on a cement outcropping. This demonstrates the disconnect Vintage owners share about the theme of their bar versus what it really is. The decor ranges from Madmen-style elegance (that fish tank, am I right?) to 70s suburban kitsch. The discord in theme is arresting, and I’ve never been able to get over it as I sit at a booth with my friends.

The food and drinks, too, lack a certain cohesiveness. One would expect that a bar called the Vintage would feature classy cocktails of a bygone era. However, the fare, ranging from blue Hawaiians to cans of PBR, has no discernible motif whatsoever. The same can be said about the food. Are southwest sliders reminiscent of a golden age? No, not really.

However, what sets the Vintage apart is that it’s the all-around bar you want to start your night with. Its location makes it a perfect entry on to the bar scene of State Street and the Capitol square, and even though the food and drink aren’t anything special, boy is the price right. With most sandwiches costing about $6 or $7, that’s pocket change to what you might pay later in the night at a classier bar. And who can say no to a $1 Wisconsin tap, even if it’s a Monday?

As a themed bar, the Vintage has little to offer in the way of atmosphere. As a beginning of the night bar, the Vintage is sure to be a cost-saver, and worth your while to visit. Order a round… or two, or three, and your pocketbook won’t be too diminished for later in the night.


Monday- Friday3-8pm  Happy Hour:

  • $1 pints of PBR
  • $2 rail mixers


  • $1 Wisconsin taps
  • $2.50 Vintage Co. beers


  • $2 Smirnoff mixers
  • $2 Shorty & a shot

Wednesday 8-close:

  • 2-4-1 PBR cans
  • $2.50 Pinnacle mixers
  • $0.75 mini brats


  • $1 pints of PBR
  • $2 Russian Standard Vodka mixers
  • $2 Chicken, beef or fish tacocs


  • $1 off Vintage Co. beers


  • $1 off Vintage Co. beers
  • Bloody Mary bar and breakfast at 9am


  • $1 PBR pints
  • $2 rail mixers
  • Bloody Mary bar and breakfast at 9am

Drinks: 5/10
Specials: 11/10
Atmosphere: 3/10
Location: 9/10
Overall: 7

The Vintage is located at 529 University Avenue. Its hours are 3 to close Monday through Friday and 9am to close Saturday and Sunday. For additional information please call (608) 250-0700 or visit

Photo Credit: Vintage

MODA Magazine and the WUD Publications Committee do not endorse underage or irresponsible drinking. This article is intended for informative culinary purposes, and these beverages should be consumed in moderation by those of the legal drinking age.


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