Finding a new spot

My food writer buddies JM and Nichole of Eating in Madison A to Z have apparently coined a really great term. Swivel factor. Found first in their write-up of the Hody Bar & Grill, swivel factor refers to the frequency or severity of the barstool spin the regulars do when a newbie walks through the door of a bar/pub/tavern. I say that they apparently coined it because, when I Googled the term, I got a lot of Epinions reviews for computer monitors and chairs. So it's hard to tell.

But I love the term, and I've been thinking about it lately. The missus and I need to branch out a little, and we don't know enough people (sad but true) to ride along on a bunch of coat-tails. So we want to find a spot or two that are new (to us), good, and relatively welcoming to virgins. I don't want to have to know no damn secret handshake to get a burger and a beer.

It falls, then, to you, Madison readers: gimme some low swivel-factor joints that either serve reasonably good food, feature a lot of good beers, or are just good clean fun. We're not looking for the place that secretly circumvents the smoking ban. On the contary, we're big ban fans insofar as our dining is concerned. I'm particularly interested in Mickey's, since they're just down the road. But they're so damn tiny, I can't help but feel that walking into the place when it's busy might incidentally result in a minor sexual act.

For you non-Madisonians, please check out in the next day or so. I should have a new column appearing soon, this time on soft-shell crab. Come read about me biting into a whole creature, not just some faceless part.