Free House Pub, The

Cozy gastropub offering sandwiches, burgers and bites, as well as more substantial entrees. Also boasts a large beer, wine, cocktail, and whiskey menu, within a cozy setting and an outdoor patio. Open for lunch and dinner.

Many historical sites in Middleton have an interesting past, but the The Free House Pub, combines history with intrigue, and happens to be one of the oldest and longest-running businesses in the city. The original site was used at one time as a retreat for generals during the Civil War. The original business was built in 1867 (with a later addition added onto the back) and served as the American Hotel. It was operated by John Colton, who traded his farm for the hotel. Colton and his wife sold the hotel in 1877 to Gerard Ausssem who sold it in 1885 to Dr. Jake Stricker. The Stricker family operated out of the building through 1964 as a hotel, restaurant and later as a doctor’s office. At one time, the hotel earned a renowned reputation for its 25-cent chicken dinners and people from Madison would take the train to Middleton to enjoy Sunday dinner. According to local lore, the establishment ignored prohibition laws and continued to serve alcohol when other establishments were “dry.” After the Stricker family sold the building, it continued housing shops, art galleries and restaurants. The Free House Pub opened in 2012.