Old-Time Tavern Tour

PHOTO: The "Y" Liquors, Garrison, MN, 1940's, from a real photo postcard by Joe Marchel.

Here is what I can recall from my old beer delivery days of taverns out of town...but some classics indeed. Credit for this page is due to a friend of mine, yet unamed pending his approval. One night we brainstormed and thought it would be nice to jot down all the good ol' beer joints of yesteryear. He played in a band in those days, and I delivered beer to them, but at the time we didn't know each other. It's likely we were in them at the same times though! We thought it would be nice to go out and visit these places...the ones that are left, like a different one each a month, but it never materialized. So, the "old-time tavern tour" will have to be a virtual tour for now.

I will add here also some taverns that I know of from reading or hearing of, but have no personal memory of. These will be marked "[pre-memory]".

BAR TYPES:

-KEY CLUB: These were supper clubs where you could keep your own booze bottle locked up, in a bank of lockers much like tall postal boxes, with your own key. These places likely did not serve liquor over the bar, but rather Set-Ups only. The lockers eliminated the need to carry a booze bottle in your car of course. Examples that I recall from the 70's would be The Flame Super Club on Hwy. 371 N. and Myr-Mar, a supper club on Mille Lacs lake, just N. of Garrison.

-SET-UPS: These were 3.2 Joints where you could bring your own bottle of booze and pour your own mixed drinks, with their mix. An example that I recall was Oak Lawn Tavern in the early 70's.

-STRONG JOINT: These sold "strong" beer, and could have hard liquor (mixed drinks).

-3.2 JOINT: These sold only 3.2% beer, no wine or liquor.

-ACE BAR: Staples, MN.

-ANGLER'S EDGE: Just south of Velvet Beach (I think). Owned by Gloria & Joe ___?__. Gloria was a great gal, famous for her...I know this is not politically correct nowadays, but she was proud of and not bashful of her hairlip speech! She was one of the finest customers on my whole route.

-210 CLUB: This one was before my time, but I've heard of it being west on 210 perhaps before the Corner Store. In fact I'm not even sure of the name on this.

-BAR HARBOR: Gull Lake narrows. Owned by __?__ Anderson.

-BLAZER, THE: South end of Nisswa. Now the American Legion. This was my earliest ol' stomping grounds. We used to go ther from Pelican Lake when I wasabout 18 or 19, on the sly, me thinks. I don't recall them having liquor there, perhaps being just a teen dance club. Either that, they were a 3.2 joint, or was one and got busted. Can anyone help me here?

-BIRCH HAVEN PAVILION: This place was an awesome structure famous for its rounded truss roof. It was a dusey to find, some where east of the Green Roof, then north, and right and left and back. I couldn't find it today, I'm sure. We used to deliver beer there only 2-3 times per year, on a phone-in basis. The owner was a wonderful gal to do business with! We went up there just a few times, but it was a real hootenanny!

-BLUE GOOSE, THE: Downtown Garrison, MN.

-BLUEGRASS BAR: Bluegrass, MN. This was a "deadhead" for us in the beer busines, an out and back account. It was the coldest place on the planet in the wintertime, and the windiest! It was mainly a meat locker plant, but also the only bar in town. I think it was also the only THING in town.

-BUCKMAN BALLROOM: I'm not sure just how to get there, but I think it may be south on Hwy. 25 30-40 miles, then a few miles east. We went there just a few times, but was awed by the beer dispensing system...just a stock tank in the middle of the floor with 4 kegs, and hand pumps!

-Bungalow, The: A supper club in Emily, MN. It was a huge log building and the entrance to the grounds was a forest of huge pines.

-CHAPPARAL, THE: South of Merrifield, earlier Red's Tavern.

-CHATTERBOX, THE: Now/2008 the convenience store S. on 371 Business, Wid Rice Depot. This was built by Jack Franzen in the early 1970's.

-CHICAGO TAVERN: Other than the above photo, I have little info on this huge dance hall. I heard someplace though that it was THE palce to go in the early days for dancing, I'm only guessing the 30's and 40's. [pre-memory]

-CLIFFORD'S CORNER: This is E. on Hwy. 18, across the street to the W. of the Green Lantern. Bill & Marie Clifford, prop's.

-CLUB LAGUYAL: (Baxter), now/2003 Paul Bunyan Bowl

-COLONIAL HALL: West of Pillager, then north on Hwy. 1 a mile. This was a fairly large dance hall.

-CRONQUIST CORNERS: South on Hwy. 25, opposite the Pine Center road, later Klunder's Korners. Now turned in to a private residence.

-DAILY'S LUNCH: Leader, MN. Hump in the floorboards. Fred Daily, prop.

-DEROSIER'S RESORT: North end of South Long lake. A nice little dance hall and bar.

-DIRCK'S HILLSIDE: Hwy. 18 E., then south on __?__. Owned by Art Dircks. I think this was out on Hwy. 18 E. on about 3 mile corner, towards S. Long Lake. I remeber getting served there (beer) a bit before we were legal. Keep in mind that we had to wait until we were 21 to be legal, but when we finally did, the law was for a short time rolled back to 18! We were bummed. The place was always packed, they had a band I suppose, but my most vivid memory is of the men's rest room. It was always jammed, and the urinal was a 10' long or longer metal pee trough that drained directly outside. At times it overflowed with used beer foam. When you could not get in the room you just went outside. That is where I encountered my first electric fence...

-DROP INN: Art Dircks, later Ed "Ike" Isackson, by the airport on Hwy. 210 E.

-EXCHANGE, THE: Crosslake. Owned by Sam & __?__. This bar I believe got its name when it replaced the Log Jam after it burned to the ground. It was later returned to the name Log Jam, then back to The Exchange, burning down AGAIN in 2008.

-FLAME SUPPER CLUB, THE: Hwy. 371 N. Owned by Loyal Hoag and his wife Gladys, this was initially a "key club", where one had to bring his own liquor and leave it there in your own locker, meaning they had "set-ups" only (mix). Loal got the place back a half-dozen tiomes over the years. Later The Waterfall Inn.

-FRIENDLY, THE: West of Pine Center. This was a bit before (even) my time. It was closed in the early 70's, but there was still a familiar Grain Belt beer sign hanging and swinging in the wind as you drove by.

-FRIENDLY, THE: This one was, and is/2008, west of Hwy. 1 S. of Pillager. [pre-memory]

-FRIENDLY, THE: This one was downtown in the Ransford building, near the bowling alley. [pre-memory]

-GEORGE & DORIS CAFE: This was I believe just N. of Ossippi Store, but on the east side. They were famous for food but it was quite bar stop as well.

-GREEN LANTERN: Hwy. 18 E., just across the road to the east of Clifford's Corner.

-HALFWAY BAR?: Not sure on the name on this one, but I recall stories of it being halfway between Brainerd and Crosby, on the north side of the road. [pre-memory]

-HANK'S STARLITE CLUB: See Starlite Club. Hank Hanson, prop., later sold to Ole Olson?

-HARBOR LIGHTS: East side of Outing, on __?__ lake. Owned by Jess & Bea Toms. I remember Bea always sitting in her huge stuffed lounge chair. Jess had dozens of skun-out rabbits that I always hit my head on hanging in the dimly-lit back room while filling it with beer.

-HAROLD'S CLUB: Just north of the viaduct over the RR tracks on the Brainerd/Baxter line. Owned by Chuck Zerfas and Shon Nelson (see Shon's Bar). Up the hill/E. was Harold's Off Sale.

-HASSE'S: Later the Drop Inn, might have been called Hasse's Drop Inn at first. Don Hasse, prop. He later started Hasse's Too in Baxter, in the old Godfather's Pizza building, now/2008 taco Bell.

-HASSE'S TOO: See Hasse's, also Drop Inn.

-HEADQUARTERS, THE: In the early 70's. Now/2006 Marios (rebuilt).

-HIDDEN PARADISE: West end of N. Long Lake off of Ojibwa Rd. Owned by Bernie Bistedeau (SP?).

-HILL TOP: This may have been on the back side of Gull Lake on Hwy. 77, and it was in business as early as 1948.

-HOFFMANN HOUSE: I am unsure of the location, but it was in business as early as 1948.

-HOWARD'S BARN: Fifty Lakes. Owned by Howard Hogle. He later built a small golf course there.

-JULIE'S: This may not have been the name of the place, but it was a cafe/bar on Roosevelt Lake, N. of Outing, MN.

-LAUNCHING PAD: Hwy. 371 north, down Federal Dam road. Owned by Ted Blomley, now Ted's Sign Shop.

-LEFTY'S BAR: Staples, MN.

-LITTLE PINE RESORT: Hwy. 210 west. This was a dandy dance hall, where we listened to Axel and His Wheels many a time. It is W. of Brainerd S. of Hwy. 210, and on the Gull River.

-LOG JAM: Later the Exchange, which was owned by Sam and ?.

-LOON LAKE TAVERN: Hwy. 371 N. of Nisswa, before Pequot Lakes, W. on Hwy. ? . Owned by George Petzel.

-OAK LAWN TAVERN: Hwy. 18 east. Owned by Dave & Gayle Borg.

-OLE'S STARLITE CLUB: See Starlite Club. I tink this was "Ole" Olson.

-PARADISE POINT: SE end of South Long lake. Owned by Duane & Irene Erickson. I remember they had a caged parrot there for years, that was about 50 years old!

-PAULINE'S LANES: This was where the SE expansion of Mills Fleet Farm now is, roughly the pet dept. It was the second of 2 lanes in town at the time, the other being Club LaGuyal.

-PIER & PUB: South end of N. Long Lake, down the Donneybrooke road. Owned by Arnie __?__.

-RED'S TAVERN: South of Merrifield, later The Chapparal. Owned by Red Lord.

-RIVER INN: Aldrich, MN.

-SAINT MATHIAS BAR: St. Mathias. Owned by the Holsapples, I think.

-SALTY DOG SALOON: East side of Lake Hubert. Owned by __?__.

-SCHELLIN'S TAVERN: Pine Center. Owned by Roy Schellin. I remember this bar having an annoying hump in the floorboards, right under the pool table!

-SHADY BROOK: This was a supper/dance club about 10 miles south on Hwy. 25, on a 4-way corner, SE of the corner, later burned.

-SILVER DOLLAR: Hwy. 371 N., but I'm a bit confused on this one. It was either on the corner where Mario's is now, or the predecessor or successor to the Lauching Pad, now Ted's Sign Co. Plan B would be it was even farther down Federal Dam Road to the west, perhaps succumbing to fire.

-SPOTLIGHT: Nisswa. I believe this was where the bank is now, west of the school. Owned by __?__.

-SQUAW POINT RESORT: East side of Gull Lake on Federal Dam Road. Owned by Ernie __?__, later Ron Nieman, Gull Lake. AKA Ron's Squaw Point. Now/2008 Ernies. Who was the original owner then, Ernie somebody?

-SMOKEY BILL'S: This was just on the outskirts of Brainerd to the east on Hwy. 210, owned by Bill Asprois, later his son George. The ribs were to die for! After this closed, one could buy the Smokey Bill's ribs at Soder's Cafe, earlier the Corner Cafe, earlier the Bremmer Cafe (Don Bremmer) in NE Brainerd.

-SODBUSTERS: I'm not sure where this was, but heard of it from a friend as being out by Onamia or otherwise Mille Lacs lake area. The owners were Adrian and Mona Prought. Thanks to La Vonne D. for this info.

-SPAGHETTI JOE'S: Joe ___? and his wife Vi owned this bar/restaurant east of town, out by the airport. Later the Drop Inn, then Hasse's, several different in between here, now/2008 Mattie's. WE used to go there quite a bit in the late 60's, and Vi's specialty was chicken. One rearly saw her, but sure heard her! Joe would holler in the order to the kitchen, and when it was ready she'd holler back to Joe in a loud, shrill voice that would make you shiver, as if someone was scratching their fingernails on a chalkboard. The chicken was awesome, nice and crispy. I have no clue how the spaghetti was. After Vi died, Joe sold the place and built one up on Hwy. 25 just south I believe of Ossippi Corner.

-STARLITE CLUB, The: N. of the corner of Hwys. 210/371 in Baxter. I believe this was built as this name. It was once Hank's Starlite Club, later Ole's Starlite. Later yet, perhaps the mid-1970's, they had an off-sale, and the whole business was called Spice 'N Spirits which was owned by Mike Wise (name laboriously determined by Pudley). Jim Bartholemew may have owned it afer Mike, and maybe even later Mike Baake just before it became T. Juans. It is now/2008 called Ponch & Lefty's. In the early 70's I recall it being more of a dance joint, with a cover charge. The dance floor was to the left as you entered the front, and the game room was to the right. There was a U shaped bar smack in the middle. All I recall for food there was only pizza. Maybe that's all I ate.

-SWENSON'S TAVERN: In Merrifield, later the Wagon Wheel.

-TACO TOWN(E?): Sandy Walker, prop. This was up on 371 N. of Bambiland, by present/2008 Applebees and a bit N., likely the Positive Real Estate building. This was a 3.2 joint, but they had Grain Belt dark beer there. It was about 33 degrees and tasted SO good with 6 tacos!

-TANK'S CLUB: Wayne Tank, prop.

-VELVET BEACH RESORT: East side of Pelican lake. Owned by Ole Flaskerud, one of the nicest guys I've ever known.

-WAGON WHEEL SALOON: Merrifield. Owned by Red & Shirley (?) Dunneman.

-WATERFALL INN: See The Flame Supper Club.

-WELCOME INN: I am unsure of the location, but it was in business as early as 1948. [pre-history]

-WILDWOOD INN: Somewhere down 13th. St. (Hwy.49?). Help on this one Popcorn!

-YAHOO VALLEY: THis was N. of Staples on the Crow Wing river. They sold a PILE of beer, but it was a call-in account for us, maybe 3 or 4 times per summer, thank goodness. There were more mosquitoes here than anywhere on the planet.

-Y CLUB, THE: N. end of Garrison, MN., at the "Y" in the road between Hwys. 18 & 169.

MEMORY BLANK: Can you help?
-Name of the bar south on Hwy. 25 about 25 miles, on a main corner, SE corner.
-What was the name of the bar that The Exchange in Crosslake replaced? It had a huge, maybe 60' wooden-top bar. Got it...Te Log Jam!
-See Halfway Bar above.
-See 210 Club above.