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Madison's Grill & Tavern
[closed, no longer in business]

525 State St, Santa Barbara
Phone: (805) 882-1182

  • Category: American
  • Hours: Winter: Mon 4pm-10pm, Tue-Fri Noon-10pm, Sat-Sun 11am-10pm, Summer: Closes at Midnight
  • Price: $10 - $20
  • Serving: Lunch & Dinner
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Reviews by the General Public

F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S!
Reviewer: Lynne Snyder from Northridge, Ca
My son was in from Norfolk Naval Air Station on an overniter. We drove up to spend some time with him and just "happened" upon Madison's. We were treated so wonderfully. Food was spectacular, when we first arrived drinks were 1/2 off! We arrived at 5pm and stayed until closing (which they pushed to midnite because of the crowd). Just happened to be last show of current Karaoke host. We had a ball. Staff were friendly, service was great. I highly recommend this place. We plan on visiting again when in Santa Barbara. Thanks Madison's! You made my son's visit extra special! As we were leaving, the bartender and our waitress "Sam" both made a point of coming over to say goodnite. Now that's pretty special! We made some new friends that night. We'll be going back!


Best Steak Ever!! Unfortunately........
Reviewer: Janet from Santa Barbara, CA
Their steak is wonderful!!!! They USED TO have happy hour 2 for 1 steaks from like 7pm to 9pm every day, which made it an absolutely great deal for really cheap, but excellent steaks. Unfortunately, they changed their 2 for 1 steaks happy hour to, I think, an earlier time and maybe even only on 1 day, but it's still a great deal. Also, I think they changed the sides that come with the steak - NOT AS GOOD. Also, they USED TO have a huge barrel with peanuts, but they changed it to something else (popcorn?). They USED TO have those Ande's chocolate mints as an after dinner thing (it came with the check). Not anymore. I rarely go anymore though because of the changes. Unfortunately, a lot of "USED TO'S". I USED TO recommend it to a lot of people, but not so much anymore. Their steak is still good though.


Had a great time
Reviewer: Pam from Mission Viejo, Ca
Good food, great happy hour, fun sports fans. No complaints at all! Surprised to hear country music on State Street.


J*Mad
Reviewer: J Madison from California
I thought Madison's was great! Besides the fact that my last name is Madison, I had a really good time! The staff seemed to be nice and, the food was really good. I went on a Thurs about 4p and they had 2 for 1 drinks. Not sure if that's the case every Thurs but, sure enjoyed it! The company I was with definately played a major role in how much of a great time I had as well! Hopefully my next visit will be even better!


Are you kidding me?This place is AMAZING!!!
Reviewer: Kath & Tommy from Orange, CA
Great food, even better atmosphere! We didn't order shots in a packed nightclub; we just wanted to watch The Masters with our kids and have lunch. The service (Ashley) was very attentive (we got plenty of drinks) and the food was creative and very well presented. In a competitive area, you cannot go wrong here! If you want an amazing dessert, try Madison's Monster Cookie.


TERRIBLE SERVICE!!!
Reviewer: Eva from Santa Barbara, CA
The service as well as the prices are TERRIBLE. We were completely ignored for quite some time as the bartenders talked and socialized among themselves (it was obvious that they knew we were waiting as well) Finally after ordering 3 shots we were charged $28!!! One of the bartenders was extremely rude when I asked about the price and she immediately gave me attitude. I mentioned this to her fellow bartender because we were so taken aback, and next thing I know she is yelling across the entire bar "do you have a problem with me?" instead of apologizing for her poor customer service she decided to tell our entire party to leave for "talking sh*t" We obviously had no problem leaving at this point, but we were given attitude and unnecessarily humiliated.


Great Spot to Bring Your Friends & Eat
Reviewer: Jennifer ONeil from Goleta, CA
Finally found a nice place to bring our kids and meet up with my gal frinds. The front patio is perfect and the kids love the waffle fries and giant lemonades. The place is always clean and the staff remembers what we need. Food is great with hot dogs and hamburgers and fancy stuff for adults.


Best Lunch Spot to Relax
Reviewer: Steve Walker from Santa Barbara, CA
I love the front patio, great to relax and watch the SB show parade. For a sports bar, the menu is staggering with all the entres. I usually start off with a Blue Moon and Chicago Dog with saukrat and then move on into the Rueben on Rye sandwich. I bring my wife and she always loves the onion soup with blackened salmon. The staff is always attentive and hussling around to get whatever I need. I like to watch my sports too and its great to enjoy some commradre with other fans during the big games, instead of like at some other places where a fight breaks out. Overall, best gals downtown. You know its good when the german tourists are there, too!


Whats with the beer mugs? Wine glasses on steroids?
Reviewer: Jennifer from Santa Barbara, CA
Whats with the beer mugs? They are awkward at best, and folks - guys like to drink out of a beer mug not a wine glass on streroids...

I've NEVER had good service here. It's actually laughable. The guys are just more into chatting about sports than actually serving the drinks they were hired to serve. We came one night when a few of the bartenders were dressed up for some "local bar" event which they were WAY more interested in than actually serving the paying customers. Hint, if you actually serve people, they will tip you better. :) ...

I have worked in many bars and restaurants in my time as both server and manager. This would be unacceptable under my watch. ...

When I go to the bar we usually rack up at least 100-150 bucks for a tab or more and I tip huge, but I have to fight to get my food and drinks and I'm just not into begging to be served, sorry. ...

The food is OK, but last time I had chicken it tasted like dish soap? Random. Kind of pricey for bar food too. Nothing great, just very average or below average. ...

The last time we were there we said we wouldn't be back after 4 consecutive bad experiences but we were meeting friends so we went anyway against our judgement. It was the same... bad. ...

They took our barstools away from the counter even when we had drinks with coasters on them when we stepped outside for a minute. ?? We had to get a manager to get them back? Also random... ...

Food - OK Service - BAD Atmosphere - So So ...

Will I be back? No! Will I recommend ? No


yum
Reviewer: Shay Love from Bakersfield, CA
So me and my boyfriend were in town shopping with some friends. they ended up taking forever so we stopped at Madison's Grill. the service, i personally believe was absolutely horrible. i dont care how pretty these ladies are, they do not know how to keep up the service, and talk with their co-workers instead of paying attention to paying customers. one of the waitresses even set some ketchup with the customers next to us and careless dropped the glass bottle on the floor and didnt come back to clean it up. Another waitress noticed it and cleaned it 20 minutes later...??? Anyhow i got a steak and shrimp which was absolutely amazing!! i think about it all the time. ha. my boyfriend got a burger and some onion rings and absolutely died. We loved the food. Service, not so much...


Worst Place I've ever Been
Reviewer: Jason from Ontario, CA
Food was okay. Service was okay, nothing special. We were there on a Thursday night getting dinner (6/4/09) and enjoying the game. Good music, but as soon as I went on the dance floor (I'm a 37 yo married man with a child), a guy bumped me and I immediately put up my hands above my head (like "what's going on?"), then the bouncer grabbed me and dragged me (embarrassingly) out of the club, with everybody starring at me as if I did something wrong. Like I said, I'm a 37 yo man, and I've never in my life been treated like this! Now, I understand the bouncer's responsibility, but this is way beyond over-reacting. In fact, the same guy who bumped me started a fight with somebody else and was thrown out of the club/bar. I got the old, "...o' yeah sorry about that, or yeah that sucks" from the other bouncers, but never admitted that they were wrong, even the manager wouldn't directly addresss the problem. Eventually, I was "allowed" back in to spend more money...ostensibly, I refused! Horrible experience


Staff is lazy, food is bland
Reviewer: Jarrod B. from Santa Barbara, CA
I had a few friends in town and wanted a place to watch a game. The bartender was nice enough to change the channel of one tv for us and got us our first round of drinks. However, that was pretty much the end of the service. We had a table, and were constantly ignored by the staff. After about 15 minutes, two in my party approached the bar to try and order appetizers and more drinks. They seemed annoyed that we'd ask for that - and my friends returned to the table upset. The staff never really seemed to care about their service. I know it's a sports bar, but how can you make money if you don't serve drinks to people waiting?? The apps came eventually and were kinda boring. The potato skins didn't have much flavor, and the spinach artichoke dip was far from fresh. (The tortilla chips were good, though) I ended up flagging down another server for a drink refill which never came - she forgot about it. Oh well, their loss. At least we got to watch the game.


great place
Reviewer: john from Santa Barbara, CA
I'm not from santa barbara and was definitely lucky to find madisons. The food great, no complaints-bring on the party platter! Service was even better beautiful bartender/waitress with an amazing smile! I'd reccomend this restaurant/bar! Had a wonderful Thursday afternoon.


bestfood
Reviewer: merri linville from Santa Barbara, CA
like it


Thanksgiving dinner is always great.........
Reviewer: Larry Hauser from San Pedro, CA 90731
I used to make Madison's Thanksgiving dinner a regular thing. I moved away a few years ago, but I was back in town this year and once again had the pleasure of eating a full course turkey dinner with all the trimmings: white meat, dark meat, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, and a vegetable (I think it was carrots). All in the comfort of a bar stool while being able to watch several sporting events on one of the many TVs. Madison's is not a lonely bar room on Thanksgiving, but quite a happy place with plenty of people enjoying the atmosphere without being cooped up inside with boring relatives. Hope I can get back next year for the same.


NO WATER POLICY
Reviewer: Mike "Ned" Fladders from Santa Barbara, CA
Recent we were in Madison's after 11 PM and were shocked to discover that they would not provide us with a glass of tap water but would only sell us bottled water. This may only be their late night policy but just be aware of it.


Good good good
Reviewer: Mark Speer IV from Chatsworth, CA
Madison's was absolutely great!! My grandfather and I frequent santa barbara by train to have lunch. My first/second choice for most times is Madison's. Great food, rich and filling. Great service as well. Go there! Eat, drink, enjoy!


Madisons is great
Reviewer: piper from vineyard haven
From Martha's Vineyard.....Santa Barbara was wonderful, but me and my friend went to Madisons everyday for happy hour!!!!!


Great place to party
Reviewer: steve from santa barbara ca.
I do have to say this is a fantastic place to have a nice stiff drink and enjoy a relaxing club enviroment.. Employees seem to be very nice and not to mention the ladies are beautiful...


Overall..
Reviewer: N. from Santa Barbara, CA
... I think it's pretty ok. I've been here twice since arriving in SB a while back. The food's OK, although my personal favorite so far is the chili which is just as I want it (perhaps I could do with a bit more of chili). The drinks are nice, a bit sweet but OK. And overall pretty cheap. I was served by Cheryl, and she did an amazing job.


Never Again!
Reviewer: Jackie from Providence,RI
I had a terrible expierience. The food was not only not good but it would've been nice if the waitress came back to ask before the rest of my party was completely finished. Good thing we didn't need anything. I agree with the other review they need new staff. After I told the waitress Jenae I couldn't eat even the salad with no dressing I was still charged for it!!! She took it away and didn't ask if I wanted it wrapped or even something else.We had to ask for appetizers and that was after waiting 10 minutes for a waitress to even order a drink! She informed me they were under staffed. Why would I pay for bad service and food I didn't eat. After asking for a manager she did not get one , took the bill back with an attitude and removed the salad( Which was my dinner)placed it on the table and walked away! I do not recommend this place to anyone, apparently new staff didn't even help.


It's for college kids
Reviewer: Ella from Goleta, CA
Sorry Jim (see review a few below), but Madison's caters to the college crowd. They don't care if you don't want to stand up, and if you really care, go somewhere else. Other than that, Madison's is amazing...their food and drinks are good and they have great specials. If you're in college, that is.


Response to Jim from Santa Barbara
Reviewer: Angela Carlotti from Los Angeles, CA
Ambience is very chill with good food and great bartenders. I think it's totally disrespectful and completely ridiculous that “Jim from Santa Barbara 4/6/2007” would not tip the bartender because of his issue with the bouncer. Way to be a total ***** Jim. You sound like a whiney baby boo-hooing because you had to “pay the bill standing up.” Be a man dog – welcome to the bar scene.


power hungry bouncer ruins good evening
Reviewer: Jim from Santa Barbara
Myself and two other friends were at Madison's last night enjoying some pretty good bar food and drinks. At about 10pm, we were leaving and were just getting the bill (we were sitting at the bar). A bouncer walks over and tells us we need to get up from our chairs (they evidently clear out all the chairs after a certain time to make room for the night's crowd) and I respond by saying that we are paying the bill and then leaving. He insists that we move immediately. I said "give me a break, we are paying the bill and we will be done in half a minute." He responds by saying "give me a break, pay the bill standing up". Next thing I know, he has his hands on one of my friends and is "escorting" him out. I still feel kind of bad that on a $70 bill, I tipped exactly $0. It wasn't the bartender's fault. This scene that the bouncer caused was completely unnecessary. We literally would have been walking out the door if he would have given us 30 seconds (he could have picked up some other chairs). Despite the good atmosphere and pretty good bar food, I don't think I'll be going back any time soon. Bartender, you can thank your bouncer for ruining a good tip.


Happy Hour!
Reviewer: C.S. from Goleta, CA
It's awesome that they have Happy Hour on the weekends too. I believe it's from 4~7pm? Double-sized drinks for regular price and half priced appetizers are great deals. I love their Strawberry Margheritas and spinach-artichoke dip with chips.


No food if you are 20!!!!
Reviewer: Amanda from Santa Barbara
My husband and I went in to enjoy a 2 for 1 steak and upon ordering an ice tea I was carded. I asked why and I was told that I could not eat there if I was under age, even though there was a child sitting at the table next to us. We were then refused service and left hungry. It is their policy not to let anyone who looks close to drinkng age eat food because they might be slipped a drink. While this might be understandable if the place was packed, it wasn't it was empty!


cheap, stiff drinks
Reviewer: Andrei from Camarillo, CA
honestly. inexpensive hyper-stiff drinks. pretty cool. the service is mediocre and the clientel predominantly ucsb students, but by your 2nd drink you can pretend like it's okay.


A little too busy, but worth the wait...
Reviewer: Nancy from Port Hueneme, CA
My husband and I first discovered the 2 for 1 steak night a couple of years ago when newly dating. We have returned for this great special several times since. The restaurant does get a little too packed & it is hard to find a table at times or even a waitress, but the delicious steaks are well worth the minor inconveniences. We'll be there once again this Saturday!


Can't beat there 2 for 1 steak night
Reviewer: Sergio Garcia from camarillo, Ca
Just went there this saturday night 2 for 1 steaks that were actually good! Highly recommended! will be back!


great food!
Reviewer: Kelli from San Diego, CA
I live in San Diego and every time I go to Ventura to Visit my sister, we always make a special stop here to get lunch or Dinner. I love the food here. Its great.


Service could have been better....
Reviewer: Rey from Fullerton
This was the first time here, My wife and I got there at about 5PM on a Friday. When we got there it was open seating. We could not find a bar waitress, so after about 5-10 minutes of waiting we went to the bar. The bartender was polite and helpful. This bothered the waitress because we didn't order the drinks from her. We didn't think anything of it and ordered the appetizers from her. When I saw a table along the street open, I hurried over to get the table. I sat down, my wife followed and we told our waitress that we were moving tables. The waitress got mad and said we could not do that and she would not serve us since we sat at her table first, she also said that we could not transfer the check. Next, I waited at the table while the new waitress bussed it for us. While she bussed the table, she spilled a drink on me. She did apologize,but then stated, "This is why you shouldn't sit at unbussed tables". Basically she blamed me for her clumsiness. She didn't get the manager to at least apologize. By this time, I did not want to ask for a manager, I got up and left!


New Service
Reviewer: Dayna Howard from SF, Ca
I love the food and service there, especially now that they've hired new help. The atmosphere's awesome and I'd reccomend everyone to go hang out there if looking to eat downtown.


Best sports bar and grill in town!
Reviewer: Big Smooth from Santa Barbara, CA
I was surprisingly shocked to find Madisons so crowded on a Monday night (Not realizing at the time how much of hit Monday night football really is). Even though the place gets jammed packed on any given sport night, with so many tv's and plasma screens it is not hard to watch a game. The beer specials and great steaks also add to its appeal giving this joint an A+ in my book.


Poppin!!!!!!!!
Reviewer: nicole from Santa Barbara, CA
The club is alway's poppin, it is never boring when I go to madison's. I see alot of fine looking people aka...(men). I love the music,the drinks, and the food. I really enjoy madison's....


Horrible
Reviewer: Rebecca Hayworth from Goleta CA
The food was terrible and the service was just as bad. Not only did the old bartender act like a snob but would not leave me and my friend alone. Take a hint, "trying to relax". The bar had shells all over it, try cleaning that once in a while.


lots of familiar faces!!!!
Reviewer: clarissa from goleta, california
the atmosphere is poppin!!! good music, great drinks, and lots of good looking people.........one minor problem......we always seem to run into the same old people like reggie and his funky girlfriend Farrah that acts up like the bitch that she is.


Great Atmosphere

Ate and drank at the bar. Bought the 2 for 1 steaks. Not too bad for the price (but a bit overcooked). Drinks were excellent as was the bartender/service. Some great looking gals hang out (and work) here too. Would definetly eat/drink here again.


They charge my debit card twice
Reviewer: Meisha from USA
They charge my debit card twice on the September 14th the money was taken out twice on September 17th. When I called to have the problem fixed, they told me the only one that could help me won´t be back until Monday I had to wait for a manager to call me there was nothing they could do at 6 o´clock on a Friday. So I waited for Monday and of course no one called me so I called them. Now they told me I may have to wait until Tuesday, this is their mistake and I don´t feel like I should have to wait for my money to be returned to my card. I WILL NEVER GO THERE AGAIN THEY´RE NOT CONCERNED ABOUT PLEASING THEIR CUSTOMERS. THEY SHOWED NO URGENCY FOR MY SITUATION.


They gave my ID and Debit Card to someone else...

They gave my ID and debit cards to someone other than myself. How hard is it to put a face to the picture of an ID???


Slow Service, Cold Food
Reviewer: Stan from Santa Barbara, CA
I ordered the New York Steak sandwich which was served open faced, requiring sivlerware. The sandwich and the fries were cold and I had to ask for silverware after the food finally arrived. Also had to ask for water twice. The waitress was pleasant but evidently had a few too many tables to take care of. Later, the waitress brought a regular margarita to our table even though a strawberry margarita was ordered. We kept it but ordered another margarita and made it clear we wanted a strawberry margarita. You could hardly taste the strawberries. Very disappointing. The highlight of the evening was being able to share a table with five beautiful femininas and watching the drunk guys at the next table stuff peanut shells into the pockets of their friends jacket while he went to the bathroom.


Great Steak, Horrible Service

The steaks at Madison´s are some of the best in the downtown area of Santa Barbara but the service is exceptionally bad. I´ve been there four times now and had four different servers.... all were aweful! Realize you´re going to a bar that hires rude, young servers...... accept that..... and move on to enjoy the food, because it´s great.


Unbelievable!

Great atmosphere. Really tasty steaks, and some of the coolest people around. Bartendars are responsive and social. Some of the best club/dance scene on State Street.


Great drinks!

Great place for drinks and appetizers - haven´t tried the dinners yet but am looking forward to returning. Only problem was the homeless men walking by asking people for peanuts from their tables!


Looks good

Looks good but I´ve never eaten here because of the long wait. I´ve tried three or four times (even on a tuesday night!) and it´s been packed. So it´s good, evidently.


Madison´s steaks are awesome!
Reviewer: Christine from Santa Barbara, CA
Madison´s has great 2-for-1 steak specials. I think it´s one of the better steaks in Santa Barbara-- a well-kept secret. My favorite: the Bourbon Street steak which comes with shoestring onion rings and garlic mashed potatoes. You also get a basket of salty peanuts to start off. The atmosphere is a typical sports bar scene, lots of TV sets featuring every sport imaginable, and a large bar in the center of the restaurant. Service is great. My only complaint is the high volume of the music. At 4pm when you´re trying to have dinner and conversation, it´s kind of a pain to holler over the blaring music. I think they should lower the volume until after 7pm, when the clientele is there to watch sports and drink beer. Other than that, it´s a great place!


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