plain spoke cocktails

Restaurant of the Week: Plain Spoke Cocktails

Need a “mood boost” after being cooped up for months during quarantine life? Then a heavy-pour bevy—or two—at Plain Spoke Cocktails is the exact remedy you’ve been craving.

The widely popular canned cocktail line has expanded into a full-service bar located above Young Blood Brewery In downtown Madison. “We needed a place people could come experience the brand in-person,” says owner Tom Dufek.

The lounge’s retro aesthetic helps to authenticate Dufek’s intention to create a drinking destination just off the Capitol Square. And thanks to the keen eye of designer Charles Barrows, neutral walls contrasted with pops of neon purple word art and lighting fixtures results in a chic 80’s vibe that literally glows post-sunset.

Of course, the main draw is Plain Spoke Cocktail’s (PSC) forerunners—Mojito, Bourbon Smash, Moscow Mule and Brandy Old Fashioned—plus the new offerings added to the lineup by manager Lucas Endres. “Our motto: It’s just good spirit. Put it in a cocktail,” says Endres. “Our drinks are bright and playful. We don’t mask the booze.” Especially since the PSC crew also makes Lowbrow Spirits, the only well options the bar is currently stocking. 

Credit: Dana Dufek Photography

The Bourbon-forward No Tippin’ Pippen’ easily stands on its own, but also pairs nicely with Kushiyaki Grilled Skewers—served fresh from the downstairs kitchen run by executive chef Nathan Grajed. Other menu standouts include the Veggie Frankie, Kimchi Quinoa Cone and the decadent beignets. If looking for a sweet finish to the evening in liquid form, a Brandy Slush is an ideal nightcap.

Dufek has tapped other Wisconsin vendors to contribute to PSC’s ongoing evolution. Rishi Tea is currently used as a mixer in the Evergreen Collins and Hibiscus Cooler; local artisan Madeleine Parker Pottery is in house as décor and serving vessels; and Forage Kombucha is also on tap for patrons looking for a refreshing, non-alcoholic effervescent sip.

Credit: Dana Dufek Photography

Keeping a community-forward approach as an integral component to his business model, Dufek continues to prioritized COVID-19 safety precautions and social distancing regulations. Masks are required before seating upon entry; and any cocktail on draft can be canned onsite and picked up “to go.” Also, be sure to try via carry-out his latest endeavor Resting Spritz Face, PSC’s sparkling wine spritzer ‘lil sis—and sure-to-be Madtown hit in no time.

For more information on Plain Spoke Cocktails, visit

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