Bars / Drinking Establishments Posts

Ripped at Ray’s Bar in 2004

[Editor’s note: For this week’s essay we’ve once again pulled out a relic from the archive of Slim Goodbuzz, who served as Duluth’s “booze connoisseur” from 1999 to 2009. Twenty years ago the Sultan of Sot paid a visit to Ray’s Bar in the Town of Superior and composed this article for the June 2004 issue of the Ripsaw magazine. The establishment was more recently known as the Shortstop Bar, but is presently not in operation.]

About a year ago, I took a little tour of South Superior where, after wiping his piss on my neck, the drunken bartender at the Rusty Nail advised me to head down the road to Ray’s Bar. “Ray will shit on you for sure,” he said, inadvertently describing South Superior hospitality to a tee.

Now I didn’t exactly just fall off the turnip truck. I know some people are into that sort of thing, and I’m sure a lot of them haunt the thickets of South Superior. But as for me, I’m not much for excrement. Nonetheless, when faced with the choice of dealing with the Paris Hilton wannabes and renegade security guards at the latest version of the NorShor Theatre or wrestling with a psychotic South Superiorite wielding his own crap, I’ll head out on the highway every time.

Lozon’s Marine Bar and Grill

Tracey Clark, owner of the resale shop Tracey’s Treasures of Duluth, submitted this photo of an old beer glass she recently acquired. It raises two questions: Where and when could a person or mermaid find Lozon’s Marine Bar and Grill? The answer, according to Superior city directories, was at 3827 E. Second St. in the Allouez neighborhood. Today that spot is the parking lot of the Tipsy Beaver Bar.

Ripped at C.W. Chips Bar & Grill in 2004

[Editor’s note: For this week’s essay we’ve once again pulled out a relic from the archive of Slim Goodbuzz, who served as Duluth’s “booze connoisseur” from 1999 to 2009. Twenty years ago the Sultan of Sot paid a visit to C.W. Chips Bar & Grill and composed this article for the April 2004 issue of the Ripsaw magazine. At the time, there was a Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of Duluth City Hall, which was moved to Canal Park later that year. C.W. Chips closed in early 2005 when the building was purchased by the Whole Foods Co-op.]

Because I’ve spent the past several years trolling the suckholes and boozehalls of this wreck of a city, because I’m cheaper than a Mexican proctology exam and because I like to control my own drunken experience, I like to drink at home. Preferably alone.

Tonight, however, my sometimes pal Ricky Flours is in town and we’ve pissed away enough time together in my cramped, dingy apartment to know that we need to remove ourselves from the sticky, bottle-filled dungeon I call Chez Goodbuzz. I’ve become a hermit, and Ricky is little more than a purring cat lying around on my floor. We don’t have to go to C.W. Chips, but we can’t stay here.

R.I.P. Viking Lounge & Liquor

Fox 21 reports crews were demolishing the Viking Lounge & Liquor building in Superior yesterday. The bar at 1501 N. Fifth St., and its upstairs apartments, were condemned after a Thanksgiving Day fire.

Ripped at the Incline Station in 2004

[Editor’s note: For this week’s essay we’ve once again pulled out a relic from the archive of Slim Goodbuzz, who served as Duluth’s “booze connoisseur” from 1999 to 2009. Twenty years ago the Sultan of Sot paid a visit to the Incline Station and composed this article for the March 2004 issue of the Ripsaw magazine.]

Bowling is a game that was devised for drinkers. You get up, you roll a ball, you sit down, you pound some beers and watch other people do the same. Then you do it again, and all the time you’re wearing stupid shoes and knocking stuff down. It’s like alcoholic heaven.

In some sports, drinking is detrimental to one’s performance. Those are the sports that I like to call “watchin’ sports.” There are precious few games where alcohol is a performance-enhancing drug. Bowling, billiards and curling are about it.

Tonight I’m bowling at the Incline Station in Downtown Duluth. This dude who used to bartend at the NorShor Theatre is showing me his bowling technique, which is totally screwed up. He uses the last two fingers of his hand instead of the middle two, because, as he puts it, “If I bowled the normal way, my middle finger would come right off my hand and stay in the ball.” True enough, the first two fingers of his hand have obviously been reconstructed by a surgeon. “I got ‘em caught in an industrial grater,” he says. “I had to climb across the machine to shut it off, then I dug my fingers out of the machine and wrapped them up in a napkin.”

Ripped at Miller Hill Mall in 2003

[Editor’s note: For this week’s essay we’ve once again pulled out a relic from the archive of Slim Goodbuzz, who served as Duluth’s “booze connoisseur” from 1999 to 2009. Twenty years ago the Sultan of Sot paid a visit to the Miller Hill Mall and composed this article for the Dec. 24, 2003 issue of the Ripsaw newspaper. Historical footnote: This was Slim’s last column for the Ripsaw before it switched from a weekly newspaper to a monthly magazine. Neither were ever the same. Additional footnote: The Great American Bar & Grill closed in 2011; the space is now occupied by Noodles & Company and Chipotle Mexican Grill.]

With all the recent abductions and alleged abductions going on in the region, now is an excellent time to prey on people’s paranoia. That’s why I’m at the Miller Hill Mall, picking out people at random and following them around. It’s just before Christmas, so there are plenty of targets to choose from.

My first victim is Sean Baker. I know his name because he just registered to win a Sea-doo powerboat and 500,000 World Perks miles. I also know now that he is gullible. You don’t have to read the fine print on the entry form to know that the odds of winning are miniscule and the odds of being contacted by annoying telemarketers for the rest of your life because you just signed away your do-not-call list status are equal to the odds of whether or not you have a phone.

Postcard from the Lamplighter in 1963

Not to be confused with the former Lamplighter strip club in Superior, the Lamplighter in this 60-year-old postcard is the piano bar in Duluth’s old Fifth Avenue Hotel, which was located where the Duluth Public Library stands today. It was torn down in the 1960s.

Aquaman enjoying brunch ambiance at the Pizza Luce bar

 

Bloody Mary: 10/10

Ripped at Keyport Lounge in 2003

[Editor’s note: For this week’s essay we’ve once again pulled out a relic from the archive of Slim Goodbuzz, who served as Duluth’s “booze connoisseur” from 1999 to 2009. Twenty years ago the Sultan of Sot paid a visit to Keyport Lounge in Superior and composed this article for the Nov. 12, 2003 issue of the Ripsaw newspaper.]

It’s Vikings vs. Packers, and the place where I want to be is the Keyport Lounge. It’s right at the foot of the Bong Bridge, so you know it’s where all the cheapskate Viking fans are gonna be, swilling Wisconsin-priced booze and risking life and limb among the inbred Packer Backers.

Sure enough, when I walk in, the amount of purple and green in the room is enough to violate some kind of health code. At least it should.

Anyway, this is a big night for me, because I like watching Viking and Packer fans interact. Personally, I don’t care who wins the game. Drink specials and free food at halftime make us all winners (at least in a loser sort of way). See, I’m a natural-born border straddler. My mother is a Viking fan who lives in Wisconsin. My stepfather is a Packer fan who actually worked as a meat packer years ago. My real father didn’t watch football at all, but he acted a lot like a Viking. You can see how it’s hard for me to develop a clear allegiance.

Ripped at Jimmy’s Saloon in 2003

[Editor’s note: For this week’s essay we’ve once again pulled out a relic from the archive of Slim Goodbuzz, who served as Duluth’s “booze connoisseur” from 1999 to 2009. Twenty years ago the Sultan of Sot paid a visit to Jimmy’s Saloon, which still operates at 1812 Iowa Ave. in Superior’s Billings Park Business District. Although patios at drinking establishments have become commonplace in recent years, they were somewhat rare when this article was published in the Oct. 1, 2003 issue of the Ripsaw newspaper.]

I’m a sucker for good conversation. So, by all means, tell me how bad your husband is in bed. The more details the better. Tell me about the spit bubbles that foam up on the edges of his mouth as he nears climax. No, seriously. I like that stuff.

Sports and rock ’n’ roll are good too. Just please do me the favor of saving the politics for your Chamber of Commerce meetings and lame-ass Wicca bonfires.

Tonight at Jimmy’s Saloon in Superior’s Billings Park business district, the conversation is just right, so far. Sure, I could probably hear the same talk of music, sports and fucking at any other bar in town, but it’s better at Jimmy’s because the drinks are cheap and there’s a nice courtyard.

R.I.P. Rex Bar at Fitger’s

Patrons gathered at the Rex Bar Sunday for its last night in business. (Photo by Mike Creger)

Rex Bar at Fitger’s closed Sunday after nearly 15 years in business. It opened in 2008, following a brief period when the bar was called Lido. Prior to that the space operated as the Fitger’s Tap Room.

Kaylee Matuszak’s Duluth Dive Bar Guide

Duluth’s Kaylee Matuszak delves into Duluth dive bars in an article published today in the Twin Cities alternative news website the Racket.

Perfect Duluth Day seems to have not published a rundown on dive bars since the klunky Movable Type era, when Barrett Chase asked in 2007, “What are your top 5 Twin Ports dives?” The inclusion of Superior allowed the Anchor, Charlie Brown’s and Belknap Lounge to get mentions. Numerous bars that no longer exist were also part of the discussion, along with a few places in nearby townships.

Ripped at ‘R’ Place Bar & Grill in 2003

[Editor’s note: For this week’s essay we’ve once again pulled out a relic from the archive of Slim Goodbuzz, who served as Duluth’s “booze connoisseur” from 1999 to 2009. Twenty years ago the Sultan of Sot paid a visit to ‘R’ Place Bar & Grill and wrote the article below for the Aug. 6, 2003 issue of the Ripsaw newspaper. ‘R’ Place, located a few miles outside Superior at 6611 State Highway 13 in South Range, has been out of business for many years.]

The first thing I do when I walk into ‘R’ Place is check to see if Jake is still alive. It’s hard to tell sometimes. He tends to sprawl out in the middle of the floor for extended naps. Sometimes he’ll look up when you step over him, but not always.

Jake, by the way, is an old, fat golden retriever. But he’s no ordinary old, fat golden retriever. He’s on a short list of candidates for being the best bar-dog ever. That’s because, when he is awake, he knows how to entertain. His best trick goes like this:

1) You take a dollar bill and present it to him like food.

Round-up Bar and Grill plans new patio space

Round-up Bar and Grill owner Mike Ronning stands outside the site of a new side patio. Landscaping, furniture, games and a small stage will be built on the site of the former Fine Frog Emporium. (Photo by Mark Nicklawske)

A longstanding Duluth bar known for its family-owned roots and connection to country music will add a new outdoor patio after an adjacent antique store was condemned and torn down earlier this year.

The Round-up Bar and Grill, 415 E. Fourth St., will construct space for outdoor dining and bar service along with a small stage on the east side of its building this summer. Fencing and signage have already been assembled and final landscaping work, lighting and furniture installation is expected to take place in the next few weeks.

Sir Ernest Shackleton goes out for Bloody Marys


 

The lake is out there somewhere in this desolate wasteland at the peak of human endurance. Pro tip: If downtown is closed up because of blizzard conditions, the Boat Club is still open because it’s part of the Fitger’s hotel, and they’re all trapped in there eating each other, but it’s open. A great place to hole up here in the last outpost of civilization during the snowmageddonpocalypse. That is a vat of pepper-soaked vodka. Bloody Mary review: 9/10.