Walking down Main Street and into Maduro, the first thing you will most likely notice is the scent of a cigar, a pleasant odor. Your attention is then drawn to other interesting features, such as the overstuffed black leather couches and chairs, the exposed brick wall behind the bar, the unique vintage posters, or the intricate vintage tin ceiling.
Outside of this aesthetic composite, you notice the customers comfortably enjoying such an intimate setting; it seems as if time is on pause. Albeit somewhat dark and mysterious, it is very inviting. You become relaxed and decompressed in a capacity few bars are able to provide.
But this soothing feeling does not mean the bar is sedate — in fact, quite the opposite. The place is lively, jovial and entertaining. Thursdays, you will find uptempo jazz played on the sound system. On Fridays you might find legendary lounge singer Joe Scalissi working the crowd with an awesome Dean Martin impression. On Sundays DJ Corey Lee is spinning chill grooves. Wednesday is cigar night, with 25 percent off all cigars after 7:00 p.m.
If scotch and cigars are your thing, you get the house choice for only $10 Monday through Thursday. If this is not enough to make you smile, you can enjoy the Happy Hour Monday through Friday from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., featuring $1.00 off all cocktails and tap beer for $2.50.
Now it is time to enjoy a drink. Sitting down on one of the leather couches, you get a chance to examine the bar menu. Your eyes open wide at the variety of unique drinks to try. Names like Hepcat, Dante’s Martini, Brazen Hussy, and Pink Panther are some of the over 26 unique and unusual cocktails on the menu.
As your eyes glide to the other page, you see over 37 varieties of Scotch, or on the opposite page, a variety of interesting imported cordials and flavored liquors, such as Aalborg Akavit (caraway-flavored), Tuaca (orange- and vanilla-flavored), and Pearle de Brillet (pear-flavored). There are also a considerable number of vodkas and gins available for martinis, as well as a diverse selection of rum, tequila, whisky, beer, wine, and port.
Co-manager and bartender Vanessa Shipley explains, “We try to let our customers explore different drinks — you won’t find large macro-brews or trendy drinks of the day here.” Such logic is compelling, and being relaxed, you decide that the selection process is not such a bad problem to have after all.
It is early; you decide to postpone adventure until your second drink. For the first cocktail of the evening your mood is set on a Tanqueray 10 martini, standard (it is one of your favorites, after all). A fine martini is a delicate art and a good measuring stick of the quality of a bar. It must be served very cold, but with care taken to not get much ice in the drink. Before you know it, Vanessa returns with your martini. First sip — Aaaah, yes; you are not disappointed. This is a fine drink.
Sipping your martini, you take an opportunity to examine some of the scenery. The couches are cozy and perfect for a couple on a date, yet the romantic overtones are hardly confining. You can see how Maduro is a great place to go with a small group of friends, or perhaps even a place to take your parents. There is a peaceful vibe here.
As a cigar-friendly environment, Maduro does not take itself overly serious; the bar must be accommodating. Co-manger Corey White credits the atmosphere to the quality of the staff, “I don’t want to jinx it, but we’ve been together for quite some time, and we really know how to keep our customers happy.” There is even a sophisticated smoke-removal system to control overall smoke levels, as many loyal customers are not cigar smokers.
It is easy to agree with the scene at Maduro. You begin to feel fulfilled, quite content that the most difficult decision of the night might be whether to order another standard martini or to choose their most popular drink, known as the “X File.” If only other decisions in life could be as much fun!
Maduro is located at 117 E. Main St., just off the Capitol Square. The bar is open 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Maduro closes around bartime, and major credit cards are accepted.
The X File
Mix in 8 parts. 1. Add 5 parts vodka and 2 parts Kahlua to a shaker. 2. Shake contents. 3. Pour into a chilled martini glass. 4. Add 1 part Godiva White to glass, and enjoy!
As we head towards Homecoming Weekend, Bartime will begin a three-part series called the “Campus Legends Tour,” where we will visit three campus-area bars that are famous in UW lore: the Pub, State Street Brats, and the Kollege Klub. Tonight, Friday, Oct. 12, we will be at the Pub. Take a walk up State Street if you don’t know where it is. Cheers!