I’m checking out a new happy hour in Madison each week along with my girlfriend, Abby. I’ll report on the hits, misses and best deals. Suggest your favorite happy hour via email.
Driven by an icy wind off Lake Monona, Abby and I ducked into the nearest restaurant with a happy hour on a recent afternoon. That happened to be The Post, a schmancy spot in the Park Hotel on South Carroll Street.
The space has a black and white tiled floor, curved wooden bar and a view of Capitol Square. This all adds up to be aesthetically pleasant, but in the manner of an upscale hotel lobby. We were the youngest people in the place by about two decades, and the only ones not dressed in professional attire.
Happy hour is a counter service kind of deal where you order at the bar, get a number and take your seat. The happy hour menu features Asian style ahi tuna tacos with soy-chile glaze, mojo pork sliders, buffalo wings, Wisconsin cheese curds and burrata mozzarella caprese salad, all for $5 each. We ordered the wings, curds and tacos, as well as a couple of beers. Which brings me to the best deal The Post offers during happy hour: buy one get one free 23-ounce beers for $6, and similar BOGOs on wine and liquor. The niftiest part is that you don’t even have to drink your second beer on the spot; they give you a token that you can redeem anytime.
While we waited for our order, the TV over the bar reminded us that Paradise, California — a mere six miles up the hill from Chico, where Abby and I lived before moving to Madison in August — was incinerated, and that many of our friends back home were in grave danger. It was the sort of reminder that drives a person to drink one too many 23-ounce beers. I had three, resulting in one of those same-day hangovers that happen once you hit 30.
When our food came, it to be straightforward, no-frills happy hour grub. It was solid, if unspectacular, and pretty much exactly what we expected based on the menu’s descriptions. Our tab was about $50, including a generous tip because our bartender was charming as heck.
At the end of our visit, I (somewhat drunkenly) observed that it was nice to pretend like we belonged to a social class above our own. Abby replied, “That’s what happy hour is all about.”
The big takeaway: The Post has middle-of-the-road happy hour food and a good deal on drinks, but if you’re someone like me, it’s easy to get carried away with the BOGO system. It’s is a great spot to grab drinks after work, drown your sorrows due to a natural disaster 2,000 miles away, or pretend like you’re part of high society without actually paying for it.
Happy hour: Monday-Friday 3-6 p.m.