Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Welcome summer with Madison’s outdoor restaurants

Embrace warm weather at one of the many restaurant patios in Madison
Celia Hiorns
Badger Herald archival photo of Vintage Spirits & Grill from February 2024.

Longer days, warmer weather — hopefully — and the chairs returning to Memorial Union’s terrace can only mean one thing — spring has sprung in Madison and patio season is upon us. Let us forget about the snow we had a few weeks ago and plan out some time to dine in the sunshine with this comprehensive list of Madison “streateries!” From brunch plans to happy hours and late night specials we’ve got all of your plans covered.

The term “streatery” first launched in Madison during the Summer of 2020, allowing restaurants, taverns and other eligible businesses to expand their seating outdoors, according to the City of Madison. First implemented to allow for social distancing and to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, streateries quickly became loved by Madisonians and are here to stay during the warm months.

First, restaurants on the square. With a phenomenal view of the State Capitol building, you cannot go amiss with any of these options.


Marigold Kitchen

If you are lucky enough to beat the crowd and grab a table at Marigold Kitchen for a bright, filling brunch, I am envious of you. With their outdoor seating off of South Pinckney Street, you are guaranteed to leave full and happy. 

Ancora Cafe + Bakery

With the return of the beloved Dane County Farmers’ Market on Saturday mornings, what better way to start your day than with a seasonal drink, pastry or a breakfast item from Ancora’s select menu. Featuring weekly special items, Ancora’s comforting breakfast food is best enjoyed with a view of the State Capitol in their inviting, outdoor patio space.

Wonderstate Coffee

Perched perfectly on the corner of Main Street is Wonderstate Coffee. An additional great coffee option whether you are attending the Dane County Farmers’ Market or looking for a weekday pick me up. Settle into one of their patio chairs facing the Capitol for a breathtaking view. 


Not feeling breakfast food? Head over to Merchant Madison off of East Doty and South Pinckney Street for a plethora of options, ranging from their all-day Sunday brunch menu, Tuesday date night and happy hours. Enjoy your company outdoors on their patio or indoors, with a view of their “preeminent” cocktail bar. 

Settle Down Tavern

“Home of the Good Idea Burgerand sister restaurant with Merchant Madison, there are several weekly specials, including happy hour from 2–6 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, Wednesday bingo nights and late night meals on Saturdays from 10 p.m. to close. Grab a reservation for their outdoor cafe seating or a table under the sky in their enclosed atrium.


Needing to impress an out of town visitor? Graze is most certainly the spot to be. James Beard Award winning Chef Tory Miller, a stunning view of the Capitol and seasonal, fresh menu selections are guaranteed to impress. Graze certainly has a range of options, from Sunday brunch to lunch and dinner. I recommend grabbing an outdoor table at night for a fantastic scene. 

Great Dane Pub & Brewing Co.

With three Madison area locations, Great Dane Pub & Brewing Co. offers a stunning patio shaded with flourishing greenery. The Great Dane is a perfect spot to please everyone in your party. You might even just forget you are in Madison!


A University of Wisconsin student favorite, Canteen is located on the corner of South Hamilton Street and South Carroll Street. You are promised a spectacular view of the state Capitol. With a wide selection of food, drinks and select specials, Canteen is the place to go!


Lucille, the classic and adored pizza spot for when you’ve had one too many Ian’s Pizza slices is bringing back their outdoor dining this spring. A few pizzas to share and a craft drink in their tavern-chic environment under the night stars of Madison is guaranteed for a fulfilling evening. 

For something near class, try some of these spots closer to campus.

Vintage Spirits & Grill

I think the best news UW students have heard all year is Vintage is here to stay! With the announcement back in February that the proposed development for high-density student housing was pulled, the campus shrieked with excitement. Just imagine — a late-night Madison summer on the iconic twinkle light patio.

Bassett Street Brunch Club

It would be a crime to not mention Bassett’s outdoor seating in the warmer months. All-day breakfast bites under a large patio umbrella is sure to fuel you up for whatever your day brings.

State Street Brats

Last but certainly not least, do I even need to mention State Street Brats’ patio? You love it, and I love it. The quintessential start to spring and patio season is when State Street Brats opens its patio doors. 

With the plethora of options, Madison’s streateries offer something for everyone while soaking in the sun with a vibrant view of the state Capitol. 

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