I fresco, you fresco, we al fresco. Patio season is in full swing and there’s no shortage of outdoor dining in Madison.
What is a Streatery?
In June 2020, the City of Madison launched the Streatery program, which allows restaurants and taverns to expand outdoor seating. Restaurants’ tables and chairs spill out onto the streets, sidewalks and parking lots, providing more outdoor seating than ever before. These unique areas – some squished between buildings, others adorned with art and fresh herbs – are scattered throughout the city. Popular Streatery spots include along State Street, down Pinckney, King and Main Streets off the Capitol Square, as well as Atwood Avenue.
King and Pinckney Street Eateries
One of the densest hubs of outdoor dining and streateries in Madison is located on adjacent King and Pinckney streets just off Capitol Square. These streets are home to brunch spots like Ancora and Marigold Kitchen; pubs and breweries like Young Blood Beer Company, Settle Down Tavern, Great Dane Pub and Brewing Company; and sweet treats like Good News Ice Cream.
It’s always Taco Tuesday at BelAir Cantina. Their sunny patio is the perfect spot to enjoy BelAir’s Californian-style Mexican food— amazing tacos, burritos and a trio of salsas. Try their weekday happy hour, $2 tacos Tuesday and Thursday and extended weekend brunch menu.
Looking for a classic American steakhouse with a local twist? Try the spacious, semi-covered patio at Rare Steakhouse. With an unbeatable happy hour (half-priced bar menu), USDA Prime steaks aged in-house and sommelier-guided wine selections, you’re sure to enjoy a premier dining experience.
The Rigby Pub
The Rigby patio is an ideal spot to relax with a pint and pub fare. As part of the E. Main Streatery, they’re tucked just off the Capitol Square, with plenty of people-watching opportunities. Try one of their 14 rotating taps, famous infusion cocktails and nightly food specials.
State Street & Campus
Pizza, pasta and prosecco await you at Cento. Enjoy locally sourced, authentic Italian cuisine on their patio, just one block off the Capitol Square and State Street. Brunch more your speed? Try their boozy brunch on Sundays that includes pastries, brunch cocktails, and coffee or tea.
Ian's Pizza on State
Home of the Mac ‘n Cheese pizza is also home to a spacious patio at the top of State Street. Ian’s Pizza serves up pizza by the slice, showcasing upwards of two dozen different varieties. Did you know they also offer some of the best and most unique salads in town? We suggest starting with the Wisco.
Memorial Union Terrace
Summertime in Madison isn’t the same without a trip to the Memorial Union Terrace, known for its iconic sunburst chairs and Instagram-worthy sunset views. Cool off lakeside with a scoop of Babcock Dairy ice cream or a pint of Spotted Cow.
Sometimes all you need are good friends and falafel. Make Banzo your next meet-up, where you can enjoy award-winning falafel and freshly made Mediterranean dishes on the spacious patio. Their brightly colored building is hard to miss!
The Lone Girl Brewing Co.
Enjoy a craft beer and delicious pub food on the expansive rooftop deck of The Lone Girl Brewing Co. in Waunakee. Friday nights during the summer mean live music, with firepits if it gets chilly. And for Sunday Fundays, it’s bingo, brunch cocktails, and beer.
On Lake Mendota’s north shore, Mariner’s Inn is known for its waterfront dining and superb steaks and seafood. Arrive by land or water to dine on their patio — the perfect place to watch boats roll in and the sun set. Stop by on Saturday evenings for their “Live on the Lawn” summer music series.
The Biergarten at Olbrich Park
It’s hard to beat views of Lake Monona and downtown Madison, especially with a stein in hand at The Biergarten at Olbrich Park. Open daily, the Biergarten’s menu includes a list of craft beer, cider and seltzer plus locally-sourced snacks like a giant pretzel from Clasen’s European Bakery. Prost! Dog friendly. Bring a blanket or camping chair, or pull up on a traditional long table.
Daisy Cafe & Cupcakery
An east side favorite, Daisy Cafe and Cupcakery serves breakfast, lunch and dinner (and of course, cupcakes!) all day. Their large parking lot has been replaced with patio tables, and plenty of space for all – including your favorite furry pal. Dogs on the patio get free bacon, so as you’re enjoying a fresh-baked cupcake, you don’t have to be the only one with the treat.
Garver Feed Mill
Grab a spot on the Garver Feed Mill patio any time of day. Located behind Olbrich Gardens and along the Capital City Trail, Garver is home to local producers like Ian’s Pizza and Ledger Coffee Roasters. Make it a night with outdoor live music and a cocktail from the Garver Lounge.
Monty's Blue Plate Diner
Breakfast all day, every day. If that’s your motto, Monty’s Blue Plate Diner is the place for you. The retro, repurposed gas station also serves up burgers, sandwiches, salads, vegetarian and vegan selections. Cool off on the patio with a sundae, shake or ice cream cocktail. Small patio with plenty of action on Atwood Street.
Buck & Honey's Monona
Sit along the banks of the Yahara River and enjoy the upscale-casual atmosphere of Buck & Honey’s Monona. Accessible to bikers, boaters and everything in between, their two spacious patios offer the idyllic spot for a craft cocktail and their famous firecracker shrimp.
Off Broadway Drafthouse
With 24 craft beers on tap, it’s easy to find a cold brew to drink on a nice day at Off Broadway Drafthouse. The menu includes thoughtfully sourced food with traditional Friday Fish Fry and weekend breakfast. Their open-air patio offers a great view of one of the community’s colorful murals, the Monona Mural.
Dine in the gardens next to two historic buildings at Quivey’s Grove. The Paddock tent is picture-perfect for an al fresco evening. Or choose to enjoy a glass of wine on the Stone House Patio. For dinner, we recommend their famous Friday fish and a brandy old fashioned.
Coastal vibes meet craft cocktails and tasty tacos at bartaco. No towel, cooler or umbrella needed to feel like you’re on a beach here — sunscreen still recommended. Located at Hilldale Shopping Center, bartaco’s patio is an ideal spot to relax and recharge for your next shopping spree.
On Sundays we brunch. Saturdays too, at Café Hollander located at Hilldale Shopping Center. Serving up amazing bloody marys alongside Belgian beers and an extensive food menu sure to satisfy any mid-morning craving. The European café culture extends to their first floor and rooftop patios, and the open-air dining options available year-round.
Sip German-style brews at one of Wisconsin’s original craft breweries, Capital Brewery. Their outdoor Bier Garten, affectionately known as “Middleton’s Backyard,” welcomes guests (and even well-behaved pups) from April through October for live music, camaraderie and award-winning beers.
Longtable Beer Café
Beer connoisseurs and foodies alike should flock to Longtable Beer Café. Pick out a brew from their self-serve cooler, pair it with house-smoked BBQ and Belgian-style frites and pop a seat on their patio. If it’s busy on the patio, the Stone Horse Green right across the street offers plenty of seating to picnic.
Otto's Restaurant & Bar
The “Cheers” of the west side. Otto’s Restaurant & Bar is in a historic brick farmhouse and their wooded deck is a popular warm-weather spot. Reserve your seat for dinner during their weeknight night live music series and graze on upscale Mediterranean fare while sipping a classic cocktail.
Try the best waffles in Wisconsin. Yola’s Café on Madison’s west side serves up breakfast all day and cozy patio seating for the whole family to enjoy. Their Waffle of the Month concoctions taste sweeter, knowing that a portion of the proceeds goes to local non-profit organizations each month.
Bailey's Run Vineyard in New Glarus
Rolling hills. Wood-fired pizza. Wisconsin wine. What more could you need? Sit back and relax with a glass of vino on the expansive patio at Bailey’s Run Vineyard. Known as the place “Where Wine Goes to Have Fun,” this dog-friendly spot offers Neapolitan brick oven pizza every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Full Mile Beer Co. & Kitchen in Sun Prairie
Small batch brews in the heart of downtown Sun Prairie, Full Mile Beer Co. & Kitchen crafts beers to accent and compliment their comfort-food-with-a-twist menu. They don’t take reservations so plan accordingly when looking to soak in the sunshine on their wrap-around patio.
Sugar River Pizza Company in Verona
With names like “Maple My Bacon” and “Ricotta Be Kiddin’ Me,” it’s hard not to be intrigued by Sugar River Pizza Company - Verona. Boasting over 20 specialty pizzas — and a plethora of other menu items — you and your family can enjoy a slice or two next to a fire table on their covered patio.
Vintage Brewing Co. in Sauk Prairie
Best beer garden view? Vintage Brewing Co. Sauk Prairie has it. Situated along the Wisconsin River, this brewpub features two outdoor areas — one for dining, the other for drinking. The Beer Garden is spacious for hanging with friends and enjoying locally made craft beer. Bring your pup too, they’re allowed on a leash and can order from the “Dog Menu” if they get hungry.
Want more patios? The Capital Times took photos of over 250 spots to show you exactly what to expect when dining in Madison. Browse its guide here and check out the interactive map below.