Nearby points of interest
Nearby points of interest
Reservation policy: We accept reservations for Dinner and Brunch services. We save some tables for walk-in parties on Friday and Saturday night.
As Merchants, we consider ourselves stewards of great ingredients. We source the freshest and finest local and international products that we can get our hands on, and feature and sell these ingredients in our dining room in order to achieve complete transparency of our operations.
It is our goal to bring you enjoyment through method-driven food, cocktails using only the best liquors and the freshest ingredients, and a place for you to blow off the rigors of a stressful day.
Madison, WI 50703
Contemporary American, Bar / Lounge / Bottle Service
Hours of Operation:
M-Sat 3:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Dinner & Late Night
Every Night 5:00 PM - BARTIME
Saturday 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM (Farmer's Market Season)
Sunday 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM (Year Round)
E. Doty Street
$30 and under
AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
We have Madison's finest DJs late night on Friday and Saturday nights and live bands on Thursdays at 9:30. Please check the entertainment schedule at
Please call if interested.
Streetside and Parking ramp available across the street
Downtown bus lines are one block away.
Private Party Facilities:
We have limited private dining available. Please call (608) 259-9799 to speak to management.
Private Party Contact:
Joshua Berkson: (608) 259-9799
Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Corkage Fee, Counter Seating, Dancing, Entertainment, Farm to Table, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Late Night, Outdoor dining, Takeout, View, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
Special Events & Promotions:
Please call us to arrange a special event, happy hour, or party.
Merchant Ratings and Reviews
For the price, there should not have been so many simple under/overseasoning missteps in the entrees. Appetizers (cheese curds and brussels sprouts) were tasty but much less quantity than you'd recieve elsewhere, and wouldn't rank on my own top 10 in Madison list for either dish. Our server was excellent though! Very attentive, although there was difficulty communicating at times with how incredibly noisy it is here.
Our waitress was outstanding - incredibly attentive and took my food allergies very seriously (since it's something that can be in a lot of dishes). She went above and beyond. It was Valentine's Day so it was a price fixed three course menu. We were unimpressed with the dinner entree selection for the price comparison. While the lamb was great, the pasta and fish dishes were nothing special and the pasta portion plating looked incredibly small in comparison to the lamb entree. It just made things look off balanced. Wine pairs were a nice touch, but a $3 different isn't much to make it a nicety.
Ate at Merchant w/my two college age children, ordered papardelle & two burgers, cheese curds. papardlle was a small portion of heavily tomato flavored unidimensional dish that was mostly noodles ($22) and the burgers were average. I've been to Merchant twice before both times for drinks. I'd summarize that this is a good place to go for a specialty cocktail and munchies but not for the food.
We were there early about 5 o’clock before a badger game. It worked out great and was a nice alternative to unload busy bar. Loved The brussels sprouts, lamb sliders in Port proper deal. Honey cinnamon cake was a bit dry for our liking but everything else was great. Thanks
Our first experience with Merchant and we went late on Friday, last night of restaurant week . . . . . and was disappointed given the generally very good reviews. Had a 15 minute wait at the bar for our table which did provided some excellent craft cocktails. We did order from the Restaurant Week Menu ($30 ea for 3 courses.) The Pear Salad was very good by my wife's comments, my field greens with house made "buttermilk ranch" was very so . . so, think a Dole bag salad. For the main courses; I had the Chicken Breast on couscous/butternut squash which again was very good. My wife on the other had the steak friets, which seamed to be a lower quality steak (by texture primarily and taste) and was over cooked. Course 3, desserts . . . . again a hit and miss. The wife had the dark chocolate and cherry custard which was very good, I selected the Honey Cinnamon Cake to have something different; bad choice. The cake was as if it had been cut/plated 3 hours earlier; everything about it was dried out. Service throughout the night was just ok and seemed a bit rushed. I would think for Restaurant Week a restaurant would offer a skinny'd down menu with a few specialty items (check), and items that they would be great at preparing (no-check.) Restaurant Week is about getting people into your establishment that might not otherwise give it a try and then wow'ing them with your food and service. In my opinion Merchant is a pass.
I reserved a table on open table a week in advance. Without knowing, I was assigned bar stool seating. The seats were uncomfortable and left our backs hurting (we tried to move and were given an excuse). With the exception of the brussels sprouts, the food was mediocre at best. Dry cake for dessert. Wish I had spent my money in a place that would have appreciated it more; it seems they are catering to a certain clientele.
First off the drinks are wonderful. The dinner's were ordered were spot on for taste, temperature and size. Rebecca was our server and she had a great personality and took great care of us. This is one of our regular spots for dinner and/or drinks and nothing has changed that after this visit. Always dependable for a great meal.
January Restaurant week 2018: Everything was top notch from being greeted, the friendly service, the cocktails ( had their Merchant signature Old Fashion which was well constructed and did not skimp on quality alcohol). The food selections were varied from meat to vegetarian. I selected the beef carpaccio, Mahi Mahi fish and chocolate custard. All had eye appealing presentation, interesting combinations of ingredients and delicious! Another diner had the chicken breast over risotto which was moist and flavorful. There were four of us and our server was attentive and never rushed us through our meal. Looking forward to a return visit. A great dining experience. Thank you to all at Merchants!
Eric has been my server at least 3 times now, and he remains my favorite. He goes above and beyond for us every time with a friendly, informative demeanor.
I'm a HUGE fan of the food AND dessert here (the only other time I get dessert anywhere else is when there's flan involved--but I can't miss it at Merchant!).
Tuesday is the day I usually go. I like to take advantage of Cheap Date Night - you can't beat it! Looking forward to coming next Monday for burger night... This will be my first Merchant burger.
Loud and bustling bar. Tables very close together, however this was OK with us. Ok selection of micro brews at the bar. Food was just OK, I had Moroccan lamb sausage which just fell apart basically, on a bed of raw-ish chick peas and squash. (I guess.) Son had pork papardelle, he thought it was just ok. Spouse had chicken breast w/ risotto - risotto was very very undercooked. Portions very small, I might add.
Arrived 40 mins early for reservation but hostess was very pleasant and was able to seat is right away. Large and delicious cocktail list!. Lots of unusual very flavorful food options all very well executed. Their charcuterie board is the best in Madison and the " small" portion is huge!
we visited for the first time on New Years Eve... we tried your special menu. the soup was cold... the shrimp in the soup were cold... for $65 we received 3 scallops and the accompanying dishes did not enhance the flavor profile. The New York strip was at least 1/3 fat. The desserts were just okay. Part of the problem was an over zealous effort to be too trendy and mixing too many different flavors. Sometimes simple is best. let the food speak for itself. With all this said... the staff was great! our time at the bar prior to being seated was fun and met some really interesting people.
This is a mixed review, but I think it's fair. Part of it is because of environment (my personal preferences), and partly because of the food (personal opinion).
On the upside: most of the food was superlative. My wife's lamb sliders were lovely, and worth 5 stars just for them, as was my mom's pear salad. The waitstaff was very attentive but not asking me every three minutes if we were enjoying our meal. The fried cheese curds were among the best I've ever had, super light breading and fresh cheese. WAY better than the Old Fashion's supposedly stellar cheese curds.
So far, a solid 4-star plus review.
But...it's noisy, so noisy it was hard to have a conversation with those at my table. Now if this were a review for a bar, it would easily be a 4-star review. I suppose if I went there as a bar patron, I'd feel differently. If you want blaring music (Blondie? Seriously?), check out the festive atmosphere. But I was there as a diner. Perhaps that was my mistake.
Still, let's give it four stars...but then the mussels came.
The one preparation I felt was poor was the moules et frites. In every place I've ever had moules et frites, they were served in separate containers; the frites in a paper cone, Belgian style, and the mussels in a bowl, usually covered. The fries were on the side and a third of them were soaked with the preparation for the mussels. Not authentic, and not very good. The mussels were exceptionally large and would have been perfect in a lighter sauce. Yes, I am a moules fan, so maybe that's why I was sad they were sub par.
Overall, I feel like it's worth three and a half stars as a restaurant. The bar is huge and clearly these guys do some cool mixology. I'd say go as a bar patron and enjoy some sliders, but I think there are better choices for a quiet dinner rather than a night on the town.
Hats off to the chef for the sliders---they were exceptional, but please work on the moules et frites. I'll come back for brunch and give it another shot.
Pros: Great ambiance! Nice for all ages. Great service. Nice variety, creative choices. Great cheese curds and brussel sprouts. Lamb sliders were great!
Not so pro, kind of con: Chicken dish was just ok. Risotto seemed more just smushy rice, no flavor. Sausage entrée was kind of bland.
Overall, I would go back. Just have a few things to work out.
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