Monarch Public House | Midwest Living

Monarch Public House

19 North Main St.
Fountain City  Wisconsin  54629
United States
(608) 687-4231
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    - Gustave Axelson
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Midwest Living Review

Grab a brew—and an old tale or two—at this tavern, one of the oldest in Wisconsin.

River travelers and settlers have been stopping in this historic tavern since 1894, making it one of the oldest continuously operating watering holes in Wisconsin. (And that's saying something in this tavern-friendly state!) Today, Monarch pours custom brews from the taps, including the heirloom lager handed down from an old-time employee. The Original Fountain Brew is a light lager, crisp and refreshing. An ambitious menu offers entrees, sandwiches, burgers, specialty pizzas, and an entire page devoted to "Irish Fare" that consists of recipes from owner John Harrington's family. The Irish Potato Soup ($4.25 a bowl) blends potatoes, garlic, green onions, in a sour cream base that give a pleasant zing to the typically staid potato soup flavor. The Reuben sandwich ($8.75) comes stacked with tender and delicate hand-pulled corned beef. Skip the Leprechaun Legs appetizer ($4.50), not just for the unappealing name, but for the overly fried flavor. (There are green beans inside there somewhere). Bailey's Irish Cream Cheesecake provides a perfect final touch. All in all, the food is a hit, the historic building a terrific bonus. Owners John Harrington and Lori Ahl meticulously restored the run-down bar back to its 19th-century charm, creating a living museum of the settler-era watering hole. Everything--the copper pressed tin ceiling, lavish wooden bar, wooden tables and chairs--is 115 years old. The tables even have black spots where late-1800s card players set their cigars while shuffling cards.

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