In a word: Check it out.
The specs: #00945
320 N Randall Ave., 53715
Details at Yelp,
Official web site
Latest Library Cafe and Bar news and reviews at del.icio.us
JM ate the Texas burger with fries and a lemonade.
Nichole ate the corned beef sandwich with chips and a Gray's root beer.
The bill was $25, or $12ish/person, plus tip.
JM gave Library Cafe and Bar a B; Nichole gave Library Cafe and Bar a 647.9577583 and an A- (see our grading rubric).
The Library is situated right at the split where University stops being University and Johnson Street starts coming the other way. Over by WID, you know? Though the Library hasn't been covered by the 070 folks much, we found plenty to report back on. The name, is of course, another of those great old bar-disguise names.
MOM: Where were you all night?
KID: I was at the Library.
100: PHILOSOPHY AND PSYCHOLOGY
The overall vibe of the Library was not 130ish at all - it was pretty warm and cozy (and that was due to more than the fact that one of the tables is actually a fireplace). Bookshelves lined all the walls and were packed with thrift-store hardcovers and the odd textbook. We had last been here, long ago, when it was Cool Runnings, and we were glad that the place is being well taken care of. Service is semi-158.1-style, order at the counter and take a seat.
Of course, in Wisconsin, drinking is practically a religion. The Library does indeed have a pretty lengthy beer list and a full bar with the requisite nightly drink specials. We were pleased to see the full coffee bar as well, though we both stuck to soft drinks - lemonade, of course, and a Gray's root beer, which was a rare treat.
300: SOCIAL SCIENCES
Maybe decorating a bar with real books attracts nerds, but the crowd at the Library definitely appeared more studious - and more versed in 395.53 - than those at the campus area bars we've been to (Wando's, Church Key, Chaser's, etc.). The couch set-ups were great for fostering interpersonal communication.
500: NATURAL SCIENCES AND MATHEMATICS
The bill was correctly tallied.
600: TECHNOLOGY (APPLIED SCIENCES)
Now, on to the meat of this post. The salt and pepper chips arrived fresh and seemed like about the best execution of this idea available. They were tasty and disappeared quickly. Meanwhile, JM's far more processed fries were the opposite of good. They were cold, thin and had not give. He would have gladly traded them for Nichole's chips and he doesn't really like chips, but these were icky despite the technology that went into bringing them to this table.
The art of assembling a decent BBQ burger was, fortunately, on display. JM's Texas Burger came with cream cheese! sautéed onions! chives! and all of these flavors did work together. Unfortunately, a thin commercial patty is an unfit canvas for recreational burger eating and the untoasted bun was a little less than fun. He'd eat it again, but wouldn't seek it out. Other menu items, and there are several, look maybe a little better.
700: ARTS & RECREATION
As mentioned before, the Library was thoughtfully decorated. There must have been music, but we can't remember what was playing.
We enjoyed the Library's books - we found an old copy of Jay Leno's Headlines and had a few aimless laughs. It was like having a funny friend entertain us before dinner.
900: GEOGRAPHY & HISTORY
And with that, we were history. If we found ourselves needing lunchtime coffee (Nichole) or west campus student-budget eats (JM), we might return just because the rest of the campus-area competition is so meh. So you may want to add this location to your map.