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Brocach Irish Pub

In a word: Breaks the "Badger" curse.

The specs: #0115
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews by Ultimate Madison Bar Tour, Christopher Robin, Yelp, Wisconsin Fish Fry Reviews, The Forked Tongue, and the Culinary Adventures of Jahboh and Tossy, 77 Square, In Search Of..., EatDrinkMadison, QSC, Madison Fish Fry, Table Talk with Don Gautreau, manager and co-owner; official web site, Brocach Irish Pub on Urbanspoon

Latest Brocach news and reviews

JM ate the ham and brie sandwich with chips and a lemonade.
Nichole ate the Irish stew with a Coke.
The bill was $24, or $12/person, plus tip.
JM and Nichole both gave Brocach Irish Pub an A- (see our grading rubric).

Until Brocach (Gaelic for "badger den," according to the web site), we had bad luck at places with "badger" in the name. Perhaps the rule only applies to English.

At first, we felt out of place at Brocach amongst a sea of legislators' (and legislators' aides and lobbyists') dark suits, but no one seemed to hold our jeans and t-shirts against us. On the contrary, the service was quite warm and the atmosphere intimate but not stifling.

When JM saw the ham and brie sandwich, it was love at first sight. Bravo, really! It had a ridiculuously large slice of removable tomato and came with a generous supply of "chips" which JM ate with "lycopene" instead of malt vinegar. The red cabbage, raisin, and walnut slaw looked good enough for Nichole to steal a bite, but, like the similar dish across the Capitol Square at Marigold, it didn't have much flavor.

By contrast, the Irish stew of lamb, onions, carrots, barley, and mashed potatoes was a-ok. Nichole also thought some of the other stuff on the menu looked worth trying, especially the roast beet salad. The prices being what they are - i.e., somewhat out of range for a regular weekday work lunch - she looks forward to a special occasion (like the in-laws visiting) to visit Brocach again.


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My husband and I ate at the Blarney Stone December 31st, 2005. It was an early dinner (5 p.m.) as we were headed to a Badger Hockey game. We had a very nice dining experience. My husband ordered the stuffed pork chops and rates them a B+. I had the Sheppards Pie and rated that a B+ also. We were too full for dessert and had enough for take-home for two more meals for each of us.

I visited Brocach for the first time this last Saturday (2/18/06), and it handily bested Claddagh for quality, if not also for ambiance.

The Irish stout steak was tremendous, topped with bleu cheese butter and cooked to medium. My companions (not one but two girls, hooray for me) had the stew and the roasted chicken, both of which were darn tasty. I get freaked out by chicken on the bone like that; I feel like I'm not a connoisseur enough to eat all the meat I should be eating. It kinda feels like a waste. That being said, I'd order that chicken for myself.

The faux-exposed brick (lamented in other reviews online) is unfortunate, but nevertheless does its job of adding to the feeling of Irishness. This is, of course, inexplicable as I've never actually been in Ireland, and the "feeling of Irishness" is a Baudrillardian phony.

Anyway, Brocach is good. Real good.

Jason, let's move the conversation over here. Care to provide your basis for stating that Brocach is part of a chain/franchise/conglomerate? I can't find any such information.

I vaguely know the owner of the Minneapolis incarnation and he informed me that a franchise would be opening in Madison, later confirmed to be Brocach.

You can see the similarities in the style and substance of their web sites:


It's the "Irish Pub Concept" created by Guinness:

And it's not something that they publicize (wisely, it seems). Whereas Keegan's makes no bones about the fact that it's a franchise. Not to paint them with too broad a stroek, but maybe people in Minneapolis don't care?

That's all wonderful. You'll forgive me if I don't take a vague acquaintance and an unpublicized, unconfirmed assocation as gospel. Since no one appears to know that Brocach is part of a "chain," it seems like you brought it up to be "oh I'm surprised you didn't know that" irritating. Like a gotcha moment.

Bad news, kid. I don't care if they are part of a chain. But if someone tells me that (or anything about anything, for that matter) in the absence of verifiable evidence, I'm unlikely to buy it.

That's fine Kyle. I don't expect you to know that Brocach is a franchise, and I don't expect you to care. Maybe we can drop this now?

Brocach is an independently owned. The similarities in design could be be attributed to the fact that Brocach was designed by a very popular firm called Bar None. Brocach is the first of two locactions (Madison and Milwaukee), both family owned and run. Whoever started this rumor that Brocach was a franchise clearly didn't ask anyone on staff because they will be the first to proudley tell you that it is an independently run place. May I suggest that you go visit sometime and ask?

My fiance and I wondered into Brocach on a Friday night in February when we couldn't decide where to eat after leaving campus. We were greeted upon entering with some festive Irish music. The happy hour at the bar had some tasty food specials (Scotch egg and Buffalo wings) to go with our Guinness pints. The overall impression was definitely more "bar-y" than suits in a restaurant. Overall very fun with good hearty Irish fare.

Their lunch menu must either be more extensive or just more interesting than their dinner menu, which was basically just a lot of seafood. I wasn't really in the mood for Shephard's Pie or stew, so I settled for a burger. I'll grant that it was a very good burger, but not something worth re-visiting Brochah for.

Apparently I'm in the minority, but I'd take Claddah anyday. :)

Had the Scotch egg and the beet salad the other night. The egg was less greasy than I expected & came with a good horsey mustard. The beet salad was a big so what except for the amazing honey-pistachio dressing.

Stopped here last night for restaurant week - two thumbs up. The offered both the regular menu and the restaurant week menu. We opted for the special menu - and weren't disappointed. For the appetizer I had the ploughmans platter (cheese, yummy brown bread, sausage) and my fella had the crab cakes. He said they were very good and the hot mustard adding an interesting new layer of flavor.

For the dinner he had the bangers & mash and I had the mastecholi with chicken sausage. These were very good. The apples and sweet sauce over the bangers caused many yummy noises from the other side of the table. The pasta was good - and the chicken sausage was very tasty with the pesto sauce.

The dessert was the whole reason for choosing Brocach. I had the Guinness Chocolate Cake - which was still warm, drizzled with chocolate and topped with two fresh razberries. Wonderful! It was more a dense warm pudding than a cake - but still delicious!

My bf had the Baileys Cheese cake which was drizzled with caramel and topped by a very nicely sliced strawberry. Both were tasty and even though our bellies were full from the first two courses - there was no way we would leave a bite of these yummy deserts.

Definitely would go back again - maybe skipping the appetizers as they were very filling.

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