A food, drink and celebration guide to Madison Game Days

Game Day is finally back, so here are some ideas of where to go to get in the spirit.
Bucky holds the Wisconsin flag at Camp Randall Stadium in front of the marching band and crowd.
Photo Courtesy of Phil Roeder/Creative Commons
Bucky holds the Wisconsin flag at Camp Randall Stadium in front of the marching band and crowd at a football game, which officially begins this Saturday, September 4.

One year ago, we could only imagine to hear the echoes of fans decked in cardinal red and white cheering on the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium, but now the game day experience is back. The packed businesses along Regent Street and fans jumping around in celebration at the end of the third quarter make it feel like Madison is alive again.

More than one million people trek to Madison for the event. It requires some planning — here are some suggestions of where to celebrate, watch the game if you did not purchase a ticket and the best spots to eat before and after the games. Don’t forget to bring a mask and stay safe.

Where to tailgate and/or celebrate

Union South’s Badger Bash
With more than 100 hot food and beverage options, the Badger Bash is a classic, family-friendly celebration, perfect for private or public tailgating. Connect with friends and dance to live music as you watch the game at the Union, which has hosted the event for 40-plus years. See the marching band and spirit squad, and you may be lucky enough to even spot Bucky. 1308 W. Dayton St.

Rocky Rococo
A game day would not be complete without a slice of pizza. Rocky Rococo is a Madison staple, with hamburgers and brats served as early as 9 a.m. There will also be beer and cocktails available — grab a drink on your way to the stadium. 1301 Regent St.

State Street Brats
With wings, burgers, sandwiches and vegan and vegetarian options, there is something for everyone at Brats. The bar and grill is the perfect family spot to watch the game for those looking to sit outside, grab a bite or just relax. 603 State St. 

Kollege Klub
Alumni remember the good old days spent at the KK, full of life and good friendship. And current students absolutely love the drinks, its central location, the music and camaraderie. The best part is that you can get one free drink before you even go — just download the app LineLeap to purchase a $5 ticket in advance. It also opens at 8 a.m. on Game Days so you can get the party started early. 529 N. Lake St.

Jordan’s Big 10 Pub
Near Camp Randall is Jordan’s Big 10 Pub, which has the largest outdoor beer garden on Regent Street. Every home weekend there are hundreds of people who flock the beer garden to watch the game and crack open a beer. 1330 Regent St.

The Red Zone
There are four different areas to get drinks in the sports bar and an outdoor tailgate area at The Red Zone. In addition to indoor areas with 35 large TVs, there is an outdoor tailgate area with music and games. 1212 Regent St.

Danny’s Pub
Danny’s Pub hosts deals all day for guests stopping at the bar. The offers may change weekly, but $8 pitchers and $4 Badger Bombs remain staple offerings. 328 W. Gorham St.

Chasers Bar and Grill
Across the street from Danny’s Pub is Chasers Bar and Grille that has a large outdoor space with TVs and specials all day. Along with the original location, Chasers 2.0 recently opened a second location next to Riley’s Wines of the World. 319 W. Gorham St., 408 W. Gorham St.

Where to eat before the game

Mickie’s Dairy Bar
Before you start drinking, be sure to eat a hearty breakfast. At Mickie’s, you can indulge in sweet pancakes for the early game beginning at 6 a.m. Omelets, eggs and sandwiches are just a few of the options on the menu. 1511 Monroe St.

MacTaggart’s Market & Deli
Right off of Langdon Street sits a hidden gem known as MacTaggart’s — which sells wine, beer, soups, snacks and breakfast sandwiches. You can customize your own and enjoy the freshly baked bread on the way to the game. While you’re there, grab some free popcorn with a purchase. 230 W. Lakelawn Place

Greenbush Bakery
Doughnuts are a scrumptious treat, but at Greenbush — which has been voted for the Best of Madison time and again — they are nearly impossible to beat. Greenbush doughnuts are good for breakfast or dessert and close to Camp Randall. 1402 Regent St., 5225 High Crossing Blvd.

Addtional Pre-Game Food Ideas:
8 cozy Madison cafes
14 breakfast restaurants in the Madison area

Where to eat after the game

Dotty Dumpling’s Dowry
Dotty’s opens at 11 a.m. — so when you’re just about to get hungry, you can dine in or get a specialty burger for carry-out. The “melting pot” is a bestseller, made with cheddar, Swiss and provolone cheese, smoked bacon and its signature garlic sauce. 317 N. Frances St.

Ian’s Pizza
Eating a slice of any one of Ian’s signature pizzas is always the best way to find comfort after a win or loss. Try the classic Mac and Cheese pizza or be spontaneous and go for the “Drunken Ravioli,” which combines ​​vodka marinara sauce, mozzarella, cheese ravioli, butter and asiago. You can even get your vegetables in with one of their salads or by eating the spinach feta pesto or tomato pesto pizza. 100 State St., 319 N. Frances St., 3241 Garver Green

The Old Fashioned
Known for “paying tribute to all things Wisconsin,” The Old Fashioned is a great sit-down restaurant to stop at in honor of game day. And in the name of the dairy state, trying some beer battered cheese curds is essential. In addition to burgers, salads, soups, and sandwiches, there are plenty of other cheese-related items including grilled cheese, Wisconsin fondue, and beer soup, to name a few. 23 N. Pinckney St.

Additional Post-Game Food Options:
11 burger restaurants
15 new establishments
13 Black-owned food businesses

Wisconsin Badgers Home Game Schedule
Sept. 4, 11 a.m.: Wisconsin vs. Penn State
Sept. 11, 6 p.m.: Wisconsin vs. Eastern Michigan
Oct. 2, TBD: Wisconsin vs. Michigan
Oct. 16, TBD: Wisconsin vs. Army
Oct. 30, 11 a.m.: Wisconsin vs. Iowa
Nov. 13, TBD: Wisconsin vs. Northwestern
Nov. 20, TBD: Wisconsin vs. Nebraska

Find more food and drink ideas here.

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