Boar & Barrel's bar opened Feb. 26 and it's offering nearly 200 types of whiskey, craft cocktails, and more than 150 bottles of wine, eight by the glass.
Owner Josh Jiru plans to roll out Boar & Barrel's "pork-centric" and small-plate food menu by April 1 with an Easter brunch.
The bar and restaurant at 101 N. Hamilton St., on the Capitol Square, replaces Hamilton's on the Square, but the location was better known for 29 years as the Blue Marlin.
Jiru, 36, formerly owned Cahoots Bar in Verona and BarNone in Milwaukee. His chef is Aaron Millon, who was owner/chef of a restaurant in Vermont.
Boar & Barrel's wine list is diverse, ranging from a bottle of pinot grigio for $30 to bottles of Opus One for $500, Jiru said. "We've priced our wine so it's approachable for people to maybe try one that they haven't tried before and not have to break the bank."
The restaurant and bar can seat 45 people inside and another 35 people outside when the weather permits.
Jiru said he and Millon are trying to narrow down their food menu. "It's big right now. We came up with some really good ideas and now we're just fine tuning it and figuring out what we want on the roll-out menu and what we'll use to rotate in."
Millon, 45, is currently working at the Argus Bar & Grill. He had his own farm-to-table restaurant in Montpelier, Vermont, for eight years called Restaurant Phoebe.
Before that, he owned a butcher shop that employed the same sustainability philosophy.
Millon grew up in Washington D.C. and learned to cook in Miami, Florida. He later graduated from the New England Culinary Institute.
He moved to Madison after his wife, Debra Millon, took a job as principal of Wingra School.
Millon said Boar & Barrel seems like a good fit. "We are going to do simple food and do it really well... No reinventing the wheel."
Boar & Barrel doesn't have to be the most cutting edge restaurant, "we just want to be the most popular -- people's favorite restaurant," he said with a chuckle.
Millon said the menu will change a couple of times per season and will range between high-end food and comfort food. The restaurant has a smoker, so they will be smoking some of their own local meat.
Because the location was home to two prominent restaurants, Millon said it has a great kitchen where he'll be able to do a wide variety of things.
Boar & Barrel won't serve lunch, but will offer brunch. Dinner will be served seven days a week.