Isthmus Annual Manual

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Peter O'Toole

Isthmus readers pick their Madison Favorites, from beer to body art. more

Sep 1, 2016 3:17 PM Isthmus Annual Manual

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Mike Merg

No Madison neighborhood ever shone more brightly than Mansion Hill in the 1890s. The neighborhood contained more political power and intellectual influence than any other neighborhood in the state. more

Sep 28, 2015 2:04 PM Isthmus Annual Manual

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Mike Merg

The north side generally receives low marks for being a “walkable neighborhood.” But for quick uncrowded access to nature, it’s exceedingly walkable. Nature is woven into the fabric of the north side. more

Sep 28, 2015 2:04 PM Isthmus Annual Manual

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Mike Merg

The great thing about walking my dog is it’s given me the opportunity to find all the art around the east end of Williamson Street. Over the last year, I’ve worked out what one might call an art crawl through my little corner of Madison. more

Sep 28, 2015 2:04 PM Isthmus Annual Manual

Every year, Isthmus asks its readers to tell us about what they love about Madison. Thanks to everyone who voted. We wouldn’t know all this unless you told us. Read on, and you too will know all. more

Sep 28, 2015 2:04 PM Isthmus Annual Manual

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Mike Merg

In Madison, there are a number of walkable areas where one could spend an afternoon (or evening, or longer) doing a bit of gastronomical immersion learning. I recommend the pedestrian-friendly Monroe Street corridor. more

Sep 28, 2015 2:04 PM Isthmus Annual Manual

While former mayor Dave Cieslewicz may be readers' favorite visionary, current mayor Paul Soglin appears to be the favorite mayor, as Hizzoner bested both non-candidate Cieslewicz and recently declared Dist. 8 Ald. Scott Resnick as candidate for next mayor of Madison. more

Aug 28, 2014 2:00 PM Isthmus Annual Manual

Heritage Tavern, chef Dan Fox's elegant locavore pub, goes from snacks to fine dining without a hitch, and is this year's runaway winner for Favorite New Restaurant. While celebrating ingredients from local farmers is nothing new (nor is paying lip service to same on a menu), Heritage blends style with substance in a particularly appealing way. Other voting to note: Banzo, which began as a food cart and expanded to a cafe, has risen to top the charts for Middle Eastern restaurant across the board. And Sardine, the lakeside bistro by James Beard-award nominated chefs John Gadau and Phillip Hurley, has become the preferred place to go for a fancy date night. more

Aug 28, 2014 2:00 PM Isthmus Annual Manual

Madison is a beer town. A craft beer town. While the number of bars with fine, even daunting, tap beer lists proliferates, the Malt House " the revival of the historic Union House Tavern that pioneered the whole craze here " still comes out on top. As far as wine bars go, there's less growth. Eno Vino remains the champ, and Barriques, the second-place favorite here, actually doubles as a coffeehouse. more

Aug 28, 2014 2:00 PM Isthmus Annual Manual

What are the dishes around town that really stand out? Madison has a longstanding love affair with Bob's Bad Breath Burger from the Weary Traveler Freehouse. The Hot Spicy Cheese Bread from Stella's Bakery " most often procured at (and generally consumed during) a trip to the Saturday Dane County Farmers' Market " has achieved the status of legend. Others clearly headed to the local menu hall of fame include the cheese curds at the Old Fashioned and Paisan's Porta Salad. But have you tried the egg roll inside of a spring roll at Ha Long Bay? more

Aug 28, 2014 2:00 PM Isthmus Annual Manual

Though you wouldn't know it from looking at the drive-through window at Culver's on any given night, people do buy groceries, cook, eat and drink at home from time to time. And when you do, you like to buy from the best " carefully sourced produce and meats at the Willy Street Co-op, artisanal sausages from heritage breeds at Underground Butcher and from-scratch bakery at Batch Bakehouse. more

Aug 28, 2014 2:00 PM Isthmus Annual Manual

Kids in Madison get a firsthand education in how to be a rock star at the Madison Music Foundry's Student Jam and how to be a Shakespearean actor with the Young Shakespeare Players. That get-up-and-go spirit " active doing over passive watching " pervades your picks for favorite things to do and places to go with the rugrats. more

Aug 28, 2014 2:00 PM Isthmus Annual Manual

Bookstores, we are happy to report, are not a thing of the past. Madison has a new entry in the field, Mystery to Me on Monroe Street, which sells not only mysteries, but other books of interest, and hosts events and book clubs. And it's your favorite new store, of any genre, from the last year. A Room of One's Own garnered plenty of votes as overall favorite bookstore, too. Votes for Michael's for big-time craft supplies vied with votes for "Not Hobby Lobby" in the favorite craft shop category, while State Street's Anthology " which sells handcrafted gifts " tied for second place with locally owned Wisconsin Craft Market for more DIY supplies. more

Aug 28, 2014 2:00 PM Isthmus Annual Manual

It's impressive that voters know the names of the farmers who grow the food they buy. Barb and Dave Perkins left downtown Madison for the town of Vermont to start Vermont Valley Farm in 1994. Twenty years later, they have a thriving CSA. They're your favorite farmer, though visionaries, too. Favorite visionary goes to former Madison mayor, "Isthmus" blogger and executive director of the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin "Citizen Dave" Cieslewicz. Ride on, Dave. more

Aug 28, 2014 2:00 PM Isthmus Annual Manual

In just a year and a half, Katie Austin's @madisontraffic Twitter has become more than a novelty " it's essential reporting on the increasingly hairy Madison commute. In addition to its crowdsourced moment-by-moment look at traffic snafus, there's the long view " political analysis from John Nichols, neighborhood and community news from WORT, and even a crowdfunded documentary-in-progress about our own recording legend, Smart Studios. more

Aug 28, 2014 2:00 PM Isthmus Annual Manual

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Peter Patau

When we asked you about your favorite neighborhood secret, we got a lot of local pride ("Atwood is the coolest with the greatest people"), some nonsense ("The giant spider that lives in the caves beneath Willy Street") and a lot of "Not tellin'." Maybe you didn't know about these. Now you can check them out. more

Aug 28, 2014 2:00 PM Isthmus Annual Manual

It might not be well known around the rest of the United States, but Madison is mad for the Bard. That's right " Shakespeare, the Sweet Swan of Avon. Young Shakespeare Players comes out on top for Favorite Theater Troupe this year, supplanting American Players Theatre of Spring Green, which also spends the majority of its time producing Shakespearean dramas. What ho, thou liketh not 17th-century drama? A weasel hath not such a deal of spleen as you are toss'd with! Thou beslubbering full-gorged whey-face! Of course, there's plenty of time to boogie to disco-flavored cover band favorites VO5, or salsa to Latin and jazz favorite Tony CastaÃeda. "When you do dance, I wish you/A wave o' th' sea, that you might ever do/Nothing but that." more

Aug 28, 2014 2:00 PM Isthmus Annual Manual

What does it say about our town that one of the most hotly contested categories in the poll is for veterinary clinics? While your personal trainer is good, your manicurist fine, and your alternative health practitioner groovy, what you really care about more than yourself is the well-being of your pets. And that makes for good karma, Madison. more

Aug 28, 2014 2:00 PM Isthmus Annual Manual

This year's "Isthmus Annual Manual" feels a bit like "The Orange Barrel" edition. All across the city, roads are being reconstructed and reconfigured, as traffic snarls or halts altogether. County roads meet city streets in new roundabouts that have left drivers spinning. Overlooking it all is a convocation of cranes, swiveling high over the city's changing skyline. It's a testament to Madison as a dynamic, growing city. more

Aug 28, 2014 2:00 PM Isthmus Annual Manual

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Tommy Washbush

We have always subscribed to the position that "you don't know unless you ask," which is why, every year, we ask "Isthmus" readers questions regarding their favorite things in Madison. We always learn a lot from the answers. more

Aug 30, 2013 2:00 PM Isthmus Annual Manual