Just like State Street and stunning lake views, Madison's supper clubs are a must-do. Their history: fascinating. The décor: it’s everything. The experience: it’s changing. 

It’s well documented that the first supper clubs started in London in the late 1800s as private clubs where theater actors could gather for late-night nosh after the pubs closed. They took root in America during the Prohibition, first in New York where they were speakeasies and nightclubs. Soon, supper clubs were everywhere—with a mid-century prime that has stood the test of time, especially in the Midwest. 

So what’s next? 

Classic supper clubs are still dining destinations worth a road trip. Places where phrases like pink squirrel and knotty pine and lazy susan are secret passwords to traveling back in time. But there are a few new trends, too. In cities like San Francisco, supper clubs are surfacing as pop-ups: underground dining destinations with exclusive invite lists. In others, entertainment plays as big a role as the endless salad bar. In Madison? It’s a mix. 

Our collective of classics has expanded to clubs that consider how people eat and drink today. Where supper club-inspired means the experience is mired in family traditions and storied spaces and familiar faces who linger over late-night meals. Here are four restaurants to try if you’re looking for that kinda vibe.

The Harvey House 

Hidden behind Madison’s historic train depot on West Washington Avenue, Harvey House is a place that celebrates the ways Wisconsin’s iconic supper clubs collide with culinary innovation and modern design. 
Nod to nostalgia: It's named after owner Shaina Papach’s grandfather who shares a name with Fred Harvey—an entrepreneur who started restaurants called Harvey Houses located near train lines in the 1800s. 
The twist: Yes, there’s a relish tray. But it’s done with rotating seasonal crudité. The entire menu celebrates Midwestern roots with a modern spin: Smoked Kielbasa in a Blanket, Superior Whitefish with Pumpernickel and Chicken Schnitzel with Canoe Harvested Rice. 
Don’t miss: If you’re hosting an event, you can reserve the Private Train Car. But if you start your evening at the main bar, you mayyyy be able to sneak a peek inside this stunning space. 

Driftless Social 

Supper club meets social club in this downtown Mt. Horeb hot spot that’s reminiscent of a 1920s speakeasy: dark interiors, vintage booths and exposed brick walls. Its specialties? Signature martinis and family recipes. 

Nod to nostalgia: Owners Matt and Tim Schmock are third-generation supper clubbers—their dad, uncle and grandparents all ran Smoky’s, a University Avenue supper club staple that was known for its massive list of martinis, steak, seafood and intentionally tacky atmosphere. 

The twist: Driftless opened with classic cocktails first; then launched its food menu in January 2024. 

Don’t miss: Revived recipes for Smoky’s Hash Browns and Knoche’s Double Smash Burger. 

Lola’s Hi-Lo Lounge 

While Lola’s doesn’t bill itself as a supper club, this wildly successful Sherman Avenue space is giving all the vibes: mid-century sensibilities. Late-night dining. Eclectic bar food. You decide. 

Nod to nostalgia: The name honors Lola Otto, the classy 87-year-old bartender at Tom Cat Lounge, located in the small Wisconsin town where co-owner Tori Gerding grew up. 

The twist: Vinyl records spin nightly, from Motown Mondays to weekend DJs. 

Don’t miss: Cheese curds. Deviled eggs. Dumplings. Friday Filet-O-Fish. Topped off with Push-Pops for dessert. 

Tornado Steakhouse 

This downtown steakhouse, located a block off the Capitol Square, presents white linen dining in a supper club atmosphere. From its speakeasy history to attentive service, Tornado always delivers a memorable experience. 

Nod to nostalgia: Low lighting. Wood paneling. Bar-room booths. Kitschy fixtures. Friendly bartenders. This one checks all the boxes. 

The twist: Despite the classic mood, the menu goes beyond steak and seafood to include duck, rabbit and lamb. 

Don’t miss: Friday and Saturdays offer a lower-priced, late-night menu; the Steak Sandwich and French Onion Soup get rave reviews.