After Hours: Discovering Madison Nightlife

Wherever you are in our fun-filled state, there’s always something happening (day and night). When the sun goes down, Madison is ideal for an elegant evening with a view, or a great micro-brew. This list should satisfy both:

Live Music:

  • Inferno – This venue features everything from house to trance and hip-hop. Open Wednesdays through Saturdays, it’s a great place to get your dance on.
  • Monona Terrace – Start with a beautiful rooftop view of the lake, add great local bands, a tasty cocktail or beer, and you’ve got a night at the renowned terrace!
  • Ivy Room Piano Bar – Start or end your night on a good note by singing along while local and national acts play all of your favorite tunes. Requests are encouraged!


  • Ian’s Pizza – Few foods hit the spot like a slice of pizza pie! Get it by the slice or by the box at one of Ian’s two Madison locations. You’re sure to love their specialty creations featuring everything from macaroni and cheese to french fries or eggplant.
  • The Old Fashioned – For an iconic Wisconsin experience, this is “the place”. Burgers, fish fry, cheese curds – you name it they’ve got it. Top it off with a brandy old fashioned and you’re living the Wisconsin high life!
  • Big Red’s Steaks – Hoagies, burgers and of course tender steaks cooked to your liking make Big Red’s a must-stop! The crown jewel, though, is Big Red’s cheesesteak – praised as the best in the Midwest!

Pubs & Bars:

  • Cooper’s Tavern – Cooper’s is a favorite among craft brew lovers and travelers. The owners have trekked the world to come up with a huge selection of the best beer from far and wide. Like rugby? Stop by to watch the games while you sip a tasty Australian or European brew.
  • The Great Dane – It’s all about the beer. Sample house-brews form the darkest of the dark to the lightest of the light. Try Devil’s Lake Red Lager, wet your whistle with and Emerald Isle Stout or grab a gulp of Landmark Lite Lager. You don’t have to be a connoisseur to know these beers are tasty!
  • Opus Lounge – If you prefer a martini, head to the Opus Lounge for a list of every flavor under the Wisconsin sun. A banana bread or raspberry truffle martini? One of each, please!

Intrigued yet? For more ideas to — we never close.

Know of any hotspots for nightlife in Madison? Let us know as a comment below!

This entry was posted in Things to Do, Nightlife, City Getaways and tagged Discovery, Entertainment, Arts, Food / Drink, Summer, Travel Wisconsin