Are you searching for a Christmas gift for someone who is hard to buy for? Then consider giving them a discount passport they can use throughout the year to save money at Madison-area restaurants, bars, breweries, wineries, and more.
Personally, I’m all about experience gifts. God knows I have enough stuff! I don’t need more. For the past couple of years, we’ve received CityTins for Christmas, which help make it a little more affordable to dine at nice restaurants, which we love to do.
Here are 11 discount passports that would make great gifts this holiday season.
The Bucky Book is the most popular discount book in the Madison / Dane County area. The annual book contains discounts at over 300 Madison-area businesses, including restaurants, golf courses, pizza, automotive services, attractions in the Dells, and more.
The Bucky Book comes out every September, and its coupons are good until September of the following year. It costs $35, and you can purchase a book as part of a fundraiser for different organizations around town. Once you purchase a Bucky Book, you have access to a mobile app with all the coupons in the book, plus more mobile coupons and bonus discounts. However, you can’t redeem the Bucky Book paper coupons from the app.
With CityTins, you get discounts at Madison area restaurants when you spend over $30. Each tin is full of restaurant “coupons” in the shape of round coasters. With the coupons, you can get $5 off $30 for takeout orders (at participating restaurants) or $10 off $30 when you dine in. If you are not sure where you want to eat, the Tins also come with a fun spinner that you can use to choose a restaurant.
The Madison CityTins costs $30. Restaurants in the 2024 Madison CityTins include Bonfyre American Grille, Delaney’s, Gates & Brovi, Lombardinos, and Off Broadway Drafthouse. If you have friends in Milwaukee, Rockford, the Fox Cities, or the Twin Cities, there are also CityTins available for those areas.
The Madcity Cocktails Passport first started as a 2-for-1 drink book, but it has since added more food offerings. Most of the participating bars and restaurants in the book enable you to get two or three BOGO drink deals, but you can only use one per day per location.
The first year these books came out, I bought four of them and gave three of them out as gifts. The price has increased since then, but at $25, the book still pays for itself after just a couple of uses. For extra fun, the books also include a Scavenger Hunt where you have to find which bars have the statutes, pictures, and other knick-knacks pictured. In 2024, the company also released a separate Rock County Cocktails Passport.
The people behind the Madcity Cocktails and Rock County Cocktails passports have created a digital BOGO passport with WiscoBogos. The digital passport offers “Buy 1, Get 1 FREE” offers at over 100 local bars, breweries, and restaurants. You can buy the passport for one month at $9.95, six months at $24.95, or a year at $39.95.
I haven’t used this yet, but from what I understand, WiscoBogos is not a mobile app. According to the WiscoBogos website, once you sign up for the pass on the website, you receive a text and email that contains a link to your pass. I’ll check it out and update this post when I know more about the passport.
The PubPass is a program available in select cities across the country, including Madison, that gives you FREE beers at craft breweries, restaurants, and bars. You have two ways to use PubPass – via a booklet or mobile app. You can purchase a PubPass booklet for $25, which gives you a FREE pint of beer at numerous bars and breweries in town. The coupons can only be used once.
But if you love craft beers, I recommend signing up for the PubPass mobile app. For just $5 per month ($60 per year), you can get one FREE beer PER MONTH at all the participating locations. Better yet, if you travel to a participating city, like Denver or Kansas City, you can use the PubPass app to get FREE beers at the breweries there. So basically, it pays for itself if you just use it once a month.
Other Discount Book Options
Discount drink books/passports have become a popular thing in Wisconsin. I’m constantly getting ads popping up in my Facebook and Instagram news feeds about a new one I haven’t heard of before. Here’s a brief round down of other available options.
Venture Wisconsin Brew Deck – Offers BOGO discounts at 66 breweries around Wisconsin. The price is $29.95.
Venture Wisconsin Coffee Shop Passport – This is a great gift for coffee lovers. It features 90 local coffee shops (no Starbucks) across Wisconsin, and it costs $25.95.
Wine Wallet – Includes BOGO wine offers and more at 25 different Wisconsin wineries. Wallets are also available for Minnesota, Illinois, and Iowa. The cost is $25.
Wisconsin Reel Craft Winery Pass – Provides BOGO glasses of wine at about 56 wineries throughout Wisconsin, including many wineries near Madison. The cost is $24.
Wisconsin Reel Craft Pass (Breweries) – Provides BOGO drinks at a plethora of breweries around the state. The cost is $36.