The dream of the ’90s is alive in Madison – no need to buy a plane ticket to Portland.

Instead, just hop on your fixie and pedal away to Williamson Street, located only two miles from campus and what should be a hot contender for the world’s Most Hipster Block Ever.

If you’ve never hung out there, make it a priority to spend at least one afternoon and one night. It feels like its own tucked away niche country, and hanging out there will probably make you a better person.


A friend asked me to go to her band mate’s release party at Mother Fool’s Friday night. Once I got to the quirky coffeehouse, I looked at the flyer – it was a cassette release party. You know, those things we sang Disney songs to in 1994. (This wasn’t just me … right?)

But, as luck would have it, the Facebook event that promoted the concert we were trying to go to listed the wrong night, which left us free for a Willy Street bar crawl.

The first stop was Jolly Bob’s, a fun Caribbean restaurant with an extensive drink menu. My friend’s boyfriend had to order for me because I was too embarrassed to slaughter the pronunciation of the caipirinha, (pronounced cayp-ee-ree-nyah) which is apparently Brazil’s national cocktail. It’s also served with pure sugar cane and is generally delicious. There were a slew of interesting photos set up around the already colorful restaurant, and food was still being served, so it was a full sensory experience.

The next stop was Take Five, a brand new, classy hipster hangout that apparently had replaced an odd corner store. My friend said that when she tried to get milk from them, it had to be retrieved from a secret back room. The new restaurant seems like a sure improvement.

We tried the Willy Street Pub next – a dive bar with volleyball courts in the back. One guy I was with commented on his fear of bikers. We laughed and then opened the door to find a particularly menacing looking bouncer asking for a $5 cover. I’m sure he’s a lovely gentleman in different circumstances, but we bolted.

Finally, we stopped at the Weary Traveler. I’ve never seen so much flannel in one room at once before. Kombucha was on the menu – something I was told was loaded with probiotics and was “super healthy.” I’m the worst consumer of food that I know: McDonalds is my favorite food ever made. So naturally, my kombucha was spiked with vodka.

As far as other Willy Street hangouts go, I’ve never actually been to Plan B, which is billed on its website as “Madison’s hottest LGBT bar and dance club.” I tried once. A friend and I waited an hour in line in front of a group of girls who were sucking on penis-shaped lollipops to announce their straightness, and we left, disgusted with our generation. That one’s still on my personal bucket list.

Speaking of personal bucket lists, I’m graduating in two-and-a-half terrifyingly short weeks. Since I bid you farewell with this last edition of the column, I wanted to share a handy list of some things you should do before you leave town that we didn’t get to this semester.


” Watch a Terrace sunset.

” Go to the Saturday Farmers’ Market.

” Attend Concert on the Square in the summer. 

” Eat breakfast at Mickies Dairy Bar.

” Eat lunch at the Mediterranean Caf?.  

” Take a Capitol tour.


” Go on an alternative break.

” See a WSUM show live.

” Ice fish on a frozen Lake Monona.

” Take a dance class.

” Go to the UW Geology museum and see a freaking dinosaur.

” Sail on Lake Mendota.

But most of all, try not to get too sucked into the stress of school and other nonsense to forget that we live in 77 square miles surrounded by reality. Enjoy it while you can.

Katie is graduating with a degree in journalism, music performance and communication arts. Want to avoid discussing the real world and share your own personal bucket list? Email [email protected] or tweet @kforanmchale with your two cents.