Lake-side bar and patio serving a small number of the most pedestrian regional and local craft beers. The setting along lake is certainly nice, but otherwise it’s just concrete and picnic tables, the space not ever feeling like anything but what it is - a student union at a state college. Give me this location with a characterful bar, maybe some plants and natural shade, a well-curated draft list and a couple of clean bottle-conditioned Belgian beers, then it could be called an absolute must.
The place to be when you don’t have a place to be and want to drink the day away outside. On the lake. Tons of tables and chairs everywhere. Awesome people watching spot. Great atmosphere. For this type of venue the selection is quite good.
An absolute must if in Madison! The Memorial Union Terrace is the place to be in the spring, summer, or fall. Right on the lake, the view is fantastic, the beer selection is pretty solid, always good WI beer choices. I spent a lot of time here while in school. Great place to hangout with friends!
theisti (893) Kansas | October 4, 2011| Updated September 8, 2014
Visited late afternoon on a Friday, right as a band was warming up. This is a no frills spot - patio tables outside, wood tables inside, plastic pitchers throughout. Service is serve yourself. However, they always have very solid beer (especially for a University union) and the Terrace is my quintessential memory of visiting Madison when I was in school down the road in Milwaukee. I have never had a bad time here. Beautiful views of the lake, laid back atmosphere. Overall, not truly a beer spot, but certainly a Madison must-do, particularly when the weather is good.
70 = ★★½ (Locals should check it out, visitors with extended time)
I only use the total score, not the component parts.
You usually have to come here with a union member or a student. Ambiance changes with the seasons. Indoors is pretty cool, but can get very crowded and college-y. However...the music on thursdays and fridays can be quite good. Extend this to the terrace...the atmosphere is always awesome (weather permitting) and the music can also be great. Beer selection is crazy good for a college establishment. Always a bells or two...new glarus...sprecher...ale asylum. Cheap too...buy the pitcher. Not much service so to speak...just walk to the bar and get a pitcher...no tips allowed. Food...oh yea...it is pretty much college meal plan food. I like the burgers. With all the stuff going against it...it is still pretty awesome
I went here with my wife when she was a law student. First off, the ambiance rocks!... nicely set against the lake with an active feel to the joint. The beer selection is most assuredly solid for a student union, but not much compared with some local bars. This was a cool place to hang out.
A very unique place to spend a lazy afternoon. Grab one of the chairs at the Terrace and sit there listening to music or just relaxing. The selection of beers is pretty good, ranging from swill (Pabst Blue Ribbon, Budweiser) to decent (seasonal Capitol brews, Leine Red and Honey Weiss) to some nice ones (Edmund Fitzgerald Porter, Two Heared Ale). The only problem is that the beer comes in a plastic pitcher and cups so don’t expect to get ideal taste of what was on tap. If the weather is bad, sit in the Rathskeller.
Der Rathskeller at the Memoral Union is a place that I didn’t appreciate when I was there. I worked there from 1988-1990 as a dish dog with a friendly junky. Having gone back since then and been in other student unions, I realize that this is one of the best in the country. The beer selection is above average. The free music on the terrace in the summer is amazing. The murals and German beer hall vibe are something I don’t think the student will realize are part of a unique midwestern experience until they leave. I didn’t.
If it wasn’t so crowded and the having to be a member/student this place would be the best beer garten on Earth. Fantastic on-the-water location, gorgeous sunsets. Beer is hard to get but great slection considering you are at a student union! Consistently great music. Fantastic place...it just is a hassle to get a beer.