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Mickey's Tavern

1524 Williamson St.
Madison  Wisconsin  53703
United States
(608) 251-9964
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    - Melanie Radzicki
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Midwest Living Review

Melanie McManus
This 100-year-old bar-restaurant doesn't look like much from the outside, but its retro-shabby chic decor is charming, and the food's great, too.

Talk about delightful surprises. Mickey's is a long-time bar-restaurant in Madison's colorful, Bohemian Willy Street neighborhood. It looks kind of beat up from the outside, and you might wonder whether or not to step in. You must. Surprisingly, the interior sports a homey, retro look, with a small jukebox on one wall, wooden tables and chairs scattered about, and several scarlet, 50s-era lamps atop the bar, which is decorated with hunting dog silhouettes. Two back rooms are set up as quasi living rooms, with couches, chairs, cocktail tables and a pool table; you can eat wherever you'd like. When the weather's pleasant, many patrons dine on the back patio, a spacious area filled with umbrella-topped tables. A wooden fence strung with Christmas lights corrals everyone. (While it's delightful out here, note that it's an attractive area for smokers to congregate.) You'd expect a limited menu at a place like this -- some burgers and fries and, if you're lucky, a sandwich or two. While Mickey's does have those items on its menu, it also has more upscale entrees like a steak salad, featuring mixed greens topped with flank steak and ginger-lime dressing; eggplant-pesto pizza; and mac 'n' cheese, an enticing dish pairing macaroni with smoked Gouda and sharp cheddar, plus sliced ring bologna as an extra. And don't forget the signature Sexy Fries: deep-fried potato wedges tossed in white truffle dressing then sprinkled with Parmesan. There are plenty of drinks available, although the wine list is a bit thin. Brunch is also served. The only possible negative is that the establishment is cash only, although an ATM in the main dining room makes it easy to pay.

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