A casual, hip vibe and welcoming energy, live music and local food, where dark modern furnishings and industrial iron barstools are met with damask wallpapered columns and walls of liquor for sale; Merchant is definitely somewhere you'd want to drink a Carolina ($10) and eat Charred Bone Marrow ($14) regularly, if you lived in Madison.
The bone marrow is striking with parsley butter, lemon marmalade, shallots and grilled bread, and the aforementioned drink is an electic blend of Torres Brandy De Jerez, Grape cocoa nib shrub, lemon juice, Bittercube cherry bark vanilla bitters and Cava. The cocktail menu here is extensive and ingredients are fresh and intriguing, take the Smoking Barrels ($10) with Redemption Rye, maple syrup, angostura and pipe tobacco tincture as another stellar example.
If you can't decide, the bartenders are happy to create on a whim, the coupe glass pictured with Makers Mark, Aperol and St Germain is straightforward and still ideal. Madison seems well in tune to the craft cocktail scene, but no where elevates the drink quite like they are doing here. A night spent at Merchant should certainly be a good one.