An iconic institution of the East Side, the Willy Street Pub & Grill recently officially changed its name to "The Wisco," which is what everybody has been calling it for years. Ironically enough, "Wisco" is also a term used almost exclusively by coasties to denote UW-Madison. As you might imagine, rare be the days when the coastie presence in the Wisco exceeds the equivalent of one Statesider dorm room. That being said, it's always tough to tell with Hipsters, who are a guaranteed force at most Willy St locations.
My main reason for supporting the Wisco is its unique pool situation. Whether out of laziness or benevolence, the bar has apparently not upped its price since my old man's UW days. 50 cents for a game is 50 cents lower than any other table I've come across in Madison. In fact, many are as high as $1.50.
The Wisco staff is great as well. Make sure to ask for "Sharkie" if you go in. You'll have to go more than a few times for him to remember your name, but he treats you like an old friend every time nevertheless.
Additional kudos to Wisco for Blatz promotions. Unfortunately, the recession has hit Blatz particularly hard, and it's good to see it get some institutional support in Madison. It's every bit as good as PBR and it's about time the hipsters caught on! Read a review of the place at Beer Advocate.