We’ve imagined the equivalents of some iconic pop culture bars right here in Madison. Some are loosely connected, and others are spot on. It’s fun to think that we can experience the world like some of our favorite characters — even for just one night.
Cheers, “Cheers” → Mid Town Pub
This listing wouldn’t be complete without a reference to “Cheers,” an iconic show that managed to create 275 different episodes about going to the neighborhood bar. Our editors immediately thought of Mid Town Pub for the comparison. Coincidentally, the beloved Middleton bar already considers itself an embodiment of Cheers in Boston. Longtime former general manager, Lacey Drury credits bar owner Joel Egan for creating that feeling. “He’s literally there all day, every day,” says Drury. “He simply cares … about people, his business.” Sounds like he’s the kind of guy who wants to know the name of everybody who walks through the door. 2405 Allen Blvd., Middleton -EW
Three Broomsticks, “Harry Potter” → Der Rathskeller
If Der Rathskeller stood alone on Langdon Street, we think it would have the same medieval exterior as Hogsmeade’s Three Broomsticks in the Harry Potter series: constructed of brick and wood with a precariously peaked entryway and a jumble of dormer windows protruding from the snowcapped rooftop. Even though it’s tucked into Memorial Union’s more stately facade, Der Rath still feels like the kind of place you’d enjoy a frothing pint of butterbeer (er, beer) in front of the crackling fire. 800 Langdon St. -EW
The Griffin, “New Girl” → Cordial
Before Nick and Schmidt bought The Griffin, it was Clyde’s Bar. Before Cordial became Cordial, it was Rustic Tavern. And just like competing bar Presh opened down the street from The Griffin in “New Girl,” The Borough Beer Co. opened around the same time Cordial did here in Madison, just a block away. We’re having fun thinking about an imaginary riff between Cordial and Borough. If either ends up with a dead fish in its vents, they might want to check security footage. 516 S. Park St. -AB
Roadhouse, “Twin Peaks” → High Noon Saloon
Although Julee Cruise never sang haunting ballads from the High Noon Saloon stage, it’s not hard to imagine her up there. High Noon Saloon mirrors the Roadhouse from “Twin Peaks” (donning the name The Bang Bang Bar on a sign outside) in a few ways: most notably, the sparse decor with bars flanking either side of the dual dance floor and seating space, the stage for underground performers and the reddish glow it sometimes takes on during a show. 701 E. Washington Ave. -EW
Paddy’s Pub, “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” → Mondays
Every town needs an Irish pub where the bar’s character is bested only by the characters who sidle up to it. That’s certainly the case at both Paddy’s Pub — depicted in TV’s longest-running live-action sitcom — and Mondays on Madison’s State Street. Let’s just hope the comparisons stop before we get to Paddy’s Yuck Puddle. 523 State St. -AB
The Wobbly Elm, “Schitt’s Creek” → Chicken Licks
When David Rose called The Wobbly Elm a sketchy bar on the outskirts of town where you might go missing, he could very well have been describing Chicken Licks. We say that in the most loving way possible about this rough-around-the-edges place that’s known for its chicken wings. We feel at home in such establishments and, like David’s sister, Alexis, we love a good spot to meet randoms. 5508 County Highway N, Sun Prairie. -AB
Moe’s Tavern, “The Simpsons” → The Caribou Tavern
Two iconic watering holes that function more like town gathering spots than taverns, Moe’s and The Caribou (or the ’Bou) are known for their colorful bartender(s) and great service for regulars. Both operate out of unpretentious digs on the main drag. 703 E. Johnson St. -EW
Shaw’s Bar, “Brooklyn-Nine-Nine” → Paul’s Neighborhood Bar
Charming brick exterior? Check. Walking distance from a police department? Check. Strong sports bar vibes, billiard chandeliers and neon signs? Check, check, check. We’re convinced Paul’s Neighborhood Bar is the Middleton equivalent of the 99th precinct’s basement watering hole in “Brooklyn-Nine-Nine.” 2401 Parmenter St., Middleton -AB
Andrea Behling is editor at Madison Magazine. Emma Waldinger is associate editor at Madison Magazine.
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