Our Take on the Tip Top Tavern

February 18th, 2014

Post by Becky

Not long after the Tip Top Tavern re-opened it's doors I popped into the Weary Traveler for lunch. (After a successful stop at Iona where I scored a gorgeous Raquel Allegra tie-dyed tee and the softest ever NSF sweatshirt. But I digress.) As I walked into Weary I was greeted by Jeff, a friend and bartender there who motioned to the man sitting next to him that I had just walked by. It was Josh Harty, also a friend and past Weary bartender, not to mention a fantastic musician. I was very happy to see Josh as he's been traveling the world this past year on tour. I was even happier when it was intimated that there was to be a surprise performance by Josh and friends at the Tip Top Tavern that night. I'd been meaning to get to the newly remodeled space and what better reason?

Several hours later my boyfriend and I settled ourselves into our seats at the Tip Top's refurbished bar. The space was cozy and highlighted with art deco wallpaper, wood walls and tin ceilings. It's not a large place by any means, but it was not too crowded, even with people standing at the bar. And it was very homey, especially on a cold night.  After looking at the menu – upscale bar food – I chose the veggie burger which apparently is so popular they were out of them. Veggie pizza it was. And I was not disappointed. It was very good pizza – thin, crispy crust and veggies that were cooked perfectly. (The owner is Ben Altschul who is the brother of Gil Altschul, the owner of Grandpa's Pizzeria, so maybe there's some recipe love going on between the two places?) But the best part of the meal was the appetizers we ordered: fried pickles and onion rings (Yes, we ordered them both. Quit judging.) The bartender talked us into the pickles and I was very happy he did. They were lightly friend and perfectly tangy. But the onion rings are what I'll be going back for. They were the most delicious onion rings I have ever had. (Reminiscent of the onion ring block from Hackney's, a long-time Chicago institution) Writing about them now is making my mouth water. Seriously. Do yourself a favor and go get some as soon as you can. 

With excellent food, an inviting atmosphere, friendly staff, great music and the neon sign above the door that says “For all lovers of life” in bright blue, you really can't go wrong. Once again, consider yourself lucky to live in Madison.

You can read more about the Tip Top in this  Madison Magazine article.