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City Bar

In a word: Mayor may not.

The specs: #0625  
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at 77 Square, Yelp, Yellow Pages, Eat Drink Madison; official web site, City Bar on Urbanspoon

Latest City Bar news and reviews

JM ate the chipotle chicken wrap with fries and a lemonade.
Nichole ate the black and bleu burger with two Capital Winter Skals.
We split some fried pickles and popcorn.
The bill was $26, or $13/person, plus tip.
JM gave City Bar an A-; Nichole gave City Bar an A (see our grading rubric).

City Bar has been around the block, but joined the list in 2010. We have no idea why. Maybe it's hard to Google, like that guy Matt Smith everyone went to high school with. Maybe it's because it decided to start quietly chirping. It's definitely not somewhere people should go for good food and to get off the internet.

They don't have the friendliest bartenders in the world, nor free popcorn, and certainly not Bacon Salt to put on it. Or dill pickles fried in wonton wrappers. Or a Bitburger sign with a good story behind it. Or an approachable mix of pop hits on the stereo, from Katy Perry to Natasha Bedingfeld to Ray Charles to Len. Nope.

Popcorn and pickles

You can ask for a rare black and blue burger, but you'll probably just get a bloody, peppercorn-crusted meat patty with slightly browned edges on a lightly toasted, buttered bun. Why they put those moldy cheese crumbles on it is way beyond us.

Wrap and popcornBlack and bleu burger

You might think a wrap would be a better idea, and it almost is. If you choose the chipotle chicken, it'll be OK but mostly vegetables and not enough sauce. If you're lucky. Supposedly the fries and potato chips are cut in-house, but you wouldn't know it from how light and crisp they are.

You should probably just go somewhere else and leave City Bar for those who don't need the respite.


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I am confused. You both gave the place an A, yet the review was quite bad. Have we switched to Olympic gymnastics scoring where a complete face flop scores a 9.2?

The review appears to have been written with one's tongue planted firmly in the cheek, but it's not quite clever enough, and I can see where the misunderstanding would come from. I believe the idea is that The City Bar is a very well-kept secret.

An A- rating compared with the last sentence summary seems a bit confusing to me too, even taking into account the sarcastic rating. "B" would seem more reasonable to me, but what do I know LOL

Perhaps there should be a stealth link to the Coopers Tavern write-up, as a contrast to the scene laid before us here. Certainly, required reading for those even mildly befuddled by the tone of this post.

Why, why, why does this have to be on State Street?

I either need to start sucking it up and braving the college kids or find something like this out here on the fringes.

Bugger all.

Great drink specials, great homemade chips, more like 'home fries'. I had a burger here once and loved it, very messy and large. Unless you're eating at the bar itself, though, this isn't the cleanest environment, and it's often chock full of 21 year old meat-marketers.

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