There's loads of handsome distressed wood, and a square-shaped bar makes the earth-tone-rich space feel both cozy and active. The result is understated and sophisticated. The farm-to-table efforts are laudable, but craft cocktails truly put Oliver's on the map. The seared scallops and shrimp, cheese plate, trout, and grilled pork chop are all wise menu picks. $9-$27.
Oliver's Public House
2540 University Ave., Madison, Wisconsin
11 am-11 pm Mon.-Thurs., 11 am-midnight Fri., 9 am-midnight sat., 9 am-9 pm Sun.