Meet two coffee shops with bars that recently opened in the Madison area

Start — or end — your day at these newly opened bars.
Cold brew flight at Forward Craft & Coffee.
Photo courtesy of Forward Craft & Coffee
Cold brew flight at Forward Craft & Coffee.

Last month, two coffee shops opened in the Madison area on the same day: Forward Craft & Coffee and Hodge Podge. Forward on Madison’s east side and Hodge Podge in Verona officially opened on June 20. Both spots are serving coffee while providing bar life to complement the coffee.

Forward focuses on craft beer, while Hodge Podge has an extensive lists of cocktails. The large menus give so many options regardless of beverage preferences. Learn more about the new additions below. 

Forward Craft & Coffee
When COVID-19 postponed the launch of Forward Craft & Coffee, co-owners Chad Walhood, Melissa Moss and Dan Podell took that time to iron out any kinks in their new business venture: a cafe and taproom in one.  

Located in the Atwood neighborhood, Forward strives to create a positive and inclusive space for coffee and beer enthusiasts. “The craft coffee world and the craft beer world mirror each other so much,” says Walhood. “We just want to be a place that offers those flavor profiles to our clients and customers.”

Forward varies its beer and cold brew offerings throughout the week — so there’s always something new on the menu. 

Everything is locally sourced with coffee from roasters in Spring Green, cold brew taps from a startup in Milwaukee and pastry items from a baker in Sun Prairie. “It’s small artists in groups, breweries and roasters all over the country and all over the state who are really creating unique flavor profiles,” Walhood says. 

The bar features more than 20 tap lines including craft beer and cold brews. It also has a selection of nonalcoholic beers and specialty drinks such as The “Fox Paw,” a blood orange mocha made with Ghirardelli dark chocolate and oat milk. 

“We kind of want to be that place in the Schenk’s Corners-Atwood neighborhood where you go and have the beer or charcuterie board before you head on over to one of these amazing restaurants,” Walhood says.

Hodge Podge 
A few years ago, Katie and Kevin Gibbons started growing herbs in their backyard. A year later, they built a bar in their basement. After years of experimenting with different herbs, liquors and mixers, the duo opened their cafe and cocktail bar. 

Hodge Podge is focused on creating a unique experience for each guest that walks through its doors. It offers an extensive selection of tea and coffee from the cafe as well as classic, signature and craft-your-own cocktails. 

Katie Gibbons spent most of her time at the University of Illinois sitting in coffee shops and studying in between classes. “Our idea with some of the mismatched furniture kind of came from a reminiscent feeling of a coffee shop on campus,” Katie Gibbons says. “It’s just a hodgepodge of stuff.”

Hodge Podge is making sustainability its first priority down to the secondhand glassware and furniture that decorates the cozy space and the bar constructed of reclaimed materials. “You’ll notice that the front is this old tin, which used to be part of a different building, and so instead of ending up in a landfill, it ended up in Hodge Podge,” Katie Gibbonssays. 

Eventually, Katie Gibbons hopes to open a winery in the Madison area. But until then, you’ll have to try one of her concoctions at the new Keenan Court location. 

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