I’m checking out a new happy hour in Madison every other week with my girlfriend, Abby. I’ll report on the hits, misses, and best deals. Suggest your favorite happy hour via email.
The other day, my allergist recommended DLUX as a good place for casual dinner downtown. As with all medical advice I receive these days, I ran it by Google.
Apparently, readers of Madison Magazine voted DLUX’s burgers among the best in Madison a couple of years ago. Certainly not a bad sign, right? They’re also known for their milkshakes made with Sassy Cow ice cream (and made boozy upon request). So, with evidence mounting that my allergist was actually on to something, I checked out their happy hour on a recent weekday afternoon.
I just wrote about another place owned by local restaurant group Food Fight, but unlike the creative and colorful Canteen a couple blocks away, DLUX is modern-looking in a faux classy sort of way, with a distinctly college-oriented vibe. The squarish space is decked out in dark leather and dark-stained wood, and overall kind of looks like an airport bar.
Unlike an airport bar, however, there is a happy hour with some decent deals. All appetizers, tapped beers and kegged cocktails are $2 off, plus you can get parmesan tots with a glass of sparkling wine for $6. Deluxe indeed.
On this day, I could not live off of appetizers alone, so I decided to order a sandwich. I have been avoiding red meat lately because we’ve been hearing and reading about how it’s as horrible for the planet as it is for your colon, pancreas and prostate. As much as I like steak and burgers, I’ve found it to be a surprisingly easy habit to kick. Thankfully, you’re not limited to beef at DLUX. Their menu has a section of “sorta burgers” including a vegan burger, salmon and portabella burgers. And you can sub anything on the beef section of the menu with chicken, white bean or portabella patties, so your options are wide open. On Mondays after 5 p.m., all the burgers and “sorta burgers” are just $5. That gives you an hour-and-a-half overlap with happy hour!
I got the standard burger (butter lettuce, tomato, onions, pickles, American cheese and house aioli) with a chicken patty instead of beef. I can’t say I was particularly pleased with the decision. The chicken was dry, so was the bun, and there wasn’t much else going on. I also ordered some cheese curds for $6, though, which saved the day by virtue of being fried cheese.
The big takeaway: DLUX is shooting for a fast-paced and boozed-up take on the classic burger-and-fries joint. People swear by their beef burgers, but their chicken burger wasn’t exceptional. It’s possible to take advantage of the discounted drinks and appetizers at DLUX into the early evening. Burgers and shakes, however, remain at full price during happy hour. Unless you go on Monday between 5 and 6:30 p.m., this isn’t a place where you’re going to sneak a more or less full meal on the cheap.
Happy hour: Monday-Thursday 3-6:30 p.m.