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Bars / Drinking Establishments Posts

Wabegon bar and grill has new owner

A tavern, off-sale liquor outlet and supper club in Superior Township is under new ownership. John Hartwick purchased the 85-year-old Wabegon bar and grill on April 28 and hit the ground running, only shutting down for half a day to inventory the place. Paul Vernon, who owned the Wabegon for 10 years, held a going away pig roast party the week prior.

The Wabegon is a bit of a geographical oddity. Though it’s located in Wisconsin, roads leading in are through Minnesota, and the vibe of the business is Minnesota through and through. For residents of Duluth’s Fond du Lac neighborhood, it’s the primary gathering place for food and revelry; Superior residents, on the other hand, are barely aware it exists.

Crooked Pint Ale House open in Kenwood Village

Crooked Pink Ale House opened its Duluth location on Tuesday in the Kenwood Village apartment development on Kenwood Avenue and Arrowhead Road. It’s the chain’s sixth location in Minnesota.

Lucky’s 13 Pub open at Miller Hill Mall

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Drinking and dining options at Miller Hill Mall will improve by month’s end. Lucky’s 13 Pub is set to open at 1600 Miller Trunk Highway on Jan. 30. Duluthians will barely recognize the space, which was occupied for 25 years by Old Country Buffet.

O’Neill’s Pub and Liquor in Superior is closed

oneills-pub-superior-wiAfter 23 years in business, the owners of O’Neill’s Pub and Liquor closed its doors after ringing in the new year with customers on Saturday.

The laid back Irish pub at 3333 Tower Avenue in Superior featured weekly $1 tap beer and $2 Bloody Mary specials and had the distinction of being Superior’s only drive-through liquor store.

In 2014, Thrillest touted O’Neill’s as one of the top ten drive-through liquor stores in the country. Wisconsin is one of only six states where this modern convenience is legal.

Mystery Photo #43: Does anyone know which old bar this was?

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This picture was originally posted on the Duluthians of Zenith Facebook page. So far, the Pickwick and Spalding Hotel have been eliminated. The poster figures it must be a bar in the Duluth area because it’s stamped with a Duluth Photographers name on the back. Someone in the thread recommended posting it here because you guys know everything there is to know.

Vikre distillery wins national award

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Vikre Distillery took first place in a USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice award for best craft specialty spirits, beating out major players like St. George Spirits and Koval Distillery.

Joel and Emily Vikre founded the craft distillery in 2012 and started selling gin and aquavit to the public in 2014. With traditional distilling methods, Lake Superior water and the inventive use of local botanicals foraged in the Northwoods, Vikre is creating unparalleled products.

Perfect Drinking Establishment: Sir Benedict’s Tavern

PDD-Drinking-Establishment2016Area boozers and barflies have reached a general consensus: Sir Benedict’s Tavern on the Lake is the perfect Duluth drinking establishment. The English-themed pub located at 805 E. Superior St. netted 34.5 percent of the vote in Perfect Duluth Day’s poll.

Sir Ben’s is a bit of an institution. It opened as a pub in 1978 (before that the building was a service station) with a focus on sandwiches and beer. The favored watering hole has long attracted a range of fans, from college students to musicians and business people.

Owners Josh and Kaila Stotts took over the tavern in April 2015. Josh was surprised to learn about the PDD poll. When asked what patrons appreciate about the bar, he said. “We try to offer a welcoming ambiance — a place where people can relax and feel really comfortable.”

Josh Stotts,owner of Sir Ben's

Josh Stotts

Is Bottoms Up the beer pouring device of the future?

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Mike Mohr in front of one of his Bottoms Up beer dispensers

Gronk’s Bar and Grill in Superior has long been known for serving burgers upside down. In February, the bar was the first in the area to install a remarkable tap-beer delivery system that fills glasses from the bottom up. Since then another Superior drinking establishment, Jack’s Place, has also added a Bottoms Up system in its beer garden.

Gronk’s owner Mike Mohr first saw the Bottoms Up system at the Wisconsin State Fair. He was impressed with its technology and speed. Later, when his daughter was advocating for more craft beer taps at Gronk’s, he thought the novelty might be a good way to draw beer fans in.

DuluthiLeaks: 87 Places to Drink ’em Up

LiquorHaven’t you always wanted a checklist for places to get soused in Duluth? Well, fortunately the city’s Alcohol, Gambling and Tobacco Commission provides that very list. For the second edition of DuluthiLeaks — Perfect Duluth Day’s new feature in which public documents are released as if they contain secret information leaked from an anonymous whistle blower — we take a look at the list of on-sale liquor licenses issued in Duluth. The list breaks down which places can be open on Sunday, have more than one bar, permit dancing, stay open past 2 a.m. without serving alcohol, or serve alcohol between 1 and 2 a.m.

New owners reopen Cedar Lounge in Superior

Tim and Naomi Nelson pose inside the Cedar Lounge just off Tower Avenue in Superior.

Tim and Naomi Nelson pose inside the Cedar Lounge just off Tower Avenue in Superior.

Trailblazing craft brewery owner and longtime Duluth bar developer Tim Nelson is ready to launch his newest drinking establishment in a historic, working waterfront neighborhood on the Superior side of the Twin Ports.

The Cedar Lounge, 1715 N. Third Street, just off Tower Avenue, opens in the shadows of the Harvest State Co-op grain elevators Friday, Aug. 26. Nelson and his wife, Naomi, purchased the historic bar building in December and the property has undergone a seven-month restoration.

Poll: Best Drinking Establishment in the Duluth Area

best barAs we enjoy the last dregs of summer in all its boozy glory, we’re on a mission to determine Duluth’s “Perfect Drinking Establishment.” Last week we asked for nominations. The primary criteria (besides offering libations) was location. Bars had to be located within 10 miles of Duluth.

With your input, we compiled 23 nominees that run the gamut from dingy dive bars to sophisticated cocktail rooms. Now it’s time to vote for your favorite. This is a runoff poll. If the bar you initially voted for is eliminated, you can vote again among the remaining options. We’ll post the results in a few days.

At this time we are down to the Top Four: Bent Tap at Bent Paddle Brewing, Breeze Inn, Red Herring Lounge and Sir Benedict’s Tavern on the Lake.

This poll is now closed. The results were:

Sir Benedict’s Tavern on the Lake – 34.5 percent
Breeze Inn – 31 percent
Red Herring Lounge – 18.5 percent
Bent Tap at Bent Paddle Brewing – 16 percent

What is the perfect Duluth-area drinking establishment?

Danger - AlcoholThe time is almost upon us for a poll about something most Duluthians are practiced in: drinking.

We know Duluthians like to drink. In fact, St. Louis County rates among the top counties in the country for binge drinking, with a rate of 26.7 percent (though surely some Iron Rangers are skewing the percentage).

Though it’s not a statistic to be proud of, we certainly understand the inclination. And we’d like to pinpoint where the people prefer to imbibe. The poll isn’t scientific. How you choose the “perfect” drinking establishment is purely subjective. You can nominate a craft brewery, a swanky joint with handcrafted cocktails or a crusty dive bar with the cheapest swill and shots of whiskey. It’s up to you. Name your favorite bar, pub, saloon, nightclub, watering hole or whatever you call it in the comments to this post.

Once we compile an ample list of nominees, we’ll post the poll and the people will decide. It will be a runoff vote where the list of options will be whittled down during the voting process as favorites become apparent.

Any drinking establishment in Duluth or 10 miles of its border is eligible for nomination. Bars in Superior, Hermantown, Proctor and the many bordering townships qualify for nomination, but more distant places like Two Harbors and Cloquet do not.

New 7 West Taphouse on Tower Avenue could open in September

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A delay in financing stalled interior design work several months, but owners of the 7 West Taphouse in Superior say they plan to open their burger and beer business in mid-September.

Norm’s Beer & Brats Demolition Video

The old Polish Club meets its demise. Video by Tony Rogers.

PDD Pronunciation Guide: Vikre

Vikre PronunciationIn episode one of Perfect Duluth Day’s Pronunciation Guide series:

Emily Vikre, Vikre Distillary co-owner, demonstrates the proper pronunciation of “Vikre.”