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The Crystal Corner

in Madison, WI
by Mike Huberty - January 2008

Photo Caption: Madison's eastside tradition: The Crystal Corner Bar

Madison's eastside tradition: The Crystal Corner Bar

On the corner of Williamson Street and Baldwin, Madison’s Crystal Corner Bar is an east-side favorite that combines neighborhood pub charm with an eclectic live music schedule and fun drink specials. Madison’s near East side is one of the most diverse populations and closely knit communities (indeed the Crystal Corner is just down the street from two Jamaican restaurants and kitty corner from the Willy Street Coop, an organic grocery store), it’s right smack in the area that gives Madison its colorful reputation. It’s that sense of community and neighborhood feel, plus the fact that the building has been a tavern since 1935 and it’s had the same name since 1947, that gives the Crystal its homey atmosphere.

The Crystal started having live music in the 1970’s, and today you can expect to see an incredible variety from jazz to jam-band to punk rock (Chicago area pop-punk giants, Masters of the Obvious, make the Crystal their regular stop) to surf music and energetic Celtic rock. One of Madison’s most unique cover bands, The Hometown Sweethearts (the cover band that can cover anything), have a regular gig every Tuesday night and is as energetic as any weekend night show anywhere in town, accompanied by free pool and $2.50 shots! It’s the kind of place where you can see touring bands, still get that local feel, and also get a good buzz on for only a few bucks.

For those event-minded, there’s the Madison East Side Pool League and there’s Jeopardy! every weekday. If you decide to take The Trebek on, you get a free drink for answering Final Jeopardy correctly and two free drinks if you’re the only one in the bar that gets it! For a live music and tavern experience that’s distinctive to Madison, the Crystal Corner is a Willy Street institution.

The Crystal Corner
1302 Williamson Street
Madison, WI 53703 608-256-2953

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