City Cast

🏘️ Get to Know the Tenney-Lapham Neighborhood

Hayley Sperling
Hayley Sperling
Posted on August 24   |   Updated on September 12
The Tenney Park Steel Bridge is one of the neighborhood's most iconic landmarks. (Dylan Brogan/City Cast)

The Tenney Park Steel Bridge is one of the neighborhood's most iconic landmarks. (Dylan Brogan/City Cast)

Situated just east of the Capitol Square, the Tenney-Lapham Neighborhood is home to many of Madison’s hidden gems (literally).

Tenney-Lapham is within walking distance of downtown, Willy Street, and the now-bustling portion of East Washington Avenue near the Capitol.. The isthmus neighborhood is home to lakeside mansions, old-style brick apartments and condos, single-family homes, and new skyscraping apartment buildings. (Plus the neighborhood association has its own merch collection.)

To get the scoop on this part of town, I turned to two experts who also happen to be on the City Cast Madison team: lifelong neighborhood resident Dylan Brogan, and Bianca Martin. Here are their recommendations.

Somewhere to Drink

DB: Johnson Public House is the best coffeehouse in town. Robin Room is the best cocktail bar in town. And the Caribou is the best dive bar in town. What more does one need?

Somewhere to Eat

BM: The Caribou Tavern is also warmly referred to as the ‘Bou’. They have a famous cheeseburger, and for good reason. Plus, the Madison area’s best bartender, no competition. My last statement is also not secret, nor a controversial opinion, so I feel great saying it. Winslow, thank you for your service. And East Johnson Family Restaurant has a great eggs benny. I get that with the side salad with green goddess dressing. Chef’s kiss. Bonus, they’re owned by the same family who runs the hip and quality Johnson’s Public House cafe aka JPH for regulars.

Something to Do

DB: Breese Stevens Field has become a real hotspot in recent years and has become a venue for some big acts (this summer’s lineup included Weezer, Modest Mouse, Bon Iver, Jason Mraz, and Brandi Carlile). The best part is you don’t even need a ticket to hear the show. Just bring a lawn chair to Reynolds Park — kitty-corner to Breese on East Mifflin — and enjoy. For not actually being inside the venue, the acoustics are darn good.

BM: Burnie’s Rock Shop. I have a suspicion that it’s one of the many reasons this area is a vortex for good, charming things and solid people. And it’s a great place for jewelry gifts if you like pretty and scientifically cool natural things.

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