Looking for a place to meet people in Madison
December 18, 2009 9:20 PM   Subscribe

Where are good places to go alone in Madison during the weekends?

I'm a 22-year-old guy and I just moved to Madison, WI a few months ago. What are some good, low-key places I can go on the weekends where I might meet people my age? Obviously State Street is full of bars, but that's really not my scene. I'm looking for places where I won't feel out of place showing up alone, and I'm not opposed to bringing my laptop or a book to keep me company if I don't make any friends. Any suggestions?
posted by kjackelen05 to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
you could go to College Library next the Memorial Union on Park Street -- when i was there two years ago, they didn't check for student IDs during the day (sounds like you aren't a student at UW?). There is a cafe downstairs that is always full of people.

if you are trying to avoid students (or at least most undergrads) you should check out the Willy Street area (northeast of the capital building). There are some great coffee shops there and there are ALWAYS interesting people out and about on Willy Street.
posted by nanhey at 5:58 AM on December 19, 2009

On Willy Street there is the Weary Traveler. Its a pub with really good food. No problem sitting there with a laptop or whatever.

Up the road a little bit is Wonders Pub. They have really good bluegrass. Its super mellow and they have decent food.

True, these are bars...but they are quite different than the State Street bars.
posted by ian1977 at 7:19 AM on December 19, 2009

Wonder's closed a couple of years ago. I think the Weary Traveler is a good choice, also along Willy Street is the Crystal Corner and Mickeys. On Atwood is the Harmony Bar. All of these places will have plenty of grad students and other 20-40 age crowd.
posted by sulaine at 7:40 AM on December 19, 2009

You can also try EVP coffee shop on E Washington, Mother Fools on Willy, Mermaid Cafe on Willy. Cafe ZuZu in the Vilas neighborhood will also have plenty of grad students, but also families.
posted by sulaine at 7:54 AM on December 19, 2009

Barriques (any of them) is a pretty good place to hang out. The Union is also pretty decent, whether you're looking for a place to listen/people-watch or a quiet corner.

Another benefit of the Union is that there are so many wacky little clubs or mini-courses meeting, they're almost certain to welcome people inquiring what's going on. Just yesterday there was a Go club, and they also have a lot of international conversation tables on various days. And then there are the Hoofers folks, and everyone else wandering in and out just to see what's going on (like you). So even if you're not interested in those kinds of things, the Union is really the place where all of Madison converges.
posted by Madamina at 10:48 AM on December 19, 2009

What interests do you have? In Madison there are tens of thousands of kids your age doing anything at any given moment. The student unions (Memorial Union and Club 770 at Union South) have free concerts on the weekends (which have tables and a laptop or book would not be at all out of place at), as well as movies (get a schedule at the Union and a Cinematheque schedule at http://cinema.wisc.edu/).
If you're OK with probably a few weirdos and hippies, try visiting one of the housing cooperatives for dinner. They ask prospective members to attend dinner with current house members. You'll get served a healthy meal and chat with a few people. Look at Madison Community Cooperative (http://www.madisoncommunity.coop/membershipping.cfm), and independent houses like Nottingham.
Coffee shops, book stores, the farmers market (when it's in season, a must). Check the Isthmus, get on facebook and see what people are doing.
posted by ism at 11:43 AM on December 19, 2009

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