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.
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.
Area 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.”
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.
Haven’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.
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.
As 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.
The 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.
Superior will have a new fine-dining establishment with the opening of Epic Restaurant & Lounge, tentatively planned for sometime in May.
The restaurant, lounge and event venue will be located in the old Joe’s Pagoda Chinese Restaurant location at 3223 Tower Ave., between Campbell Lumber & Supply and Grizzly’s Food-Fired Grill. Joe’s Pagoda owners, Joe and Sue Hear, retired in 2015 after 16 years in business.
Nothing signifies the emergence of spring quite like the reappearance of malts on the Duluth Lakewalk and the wafting scent of fried fare from seasonal burger joints. For those ready to indulge, here’s a rundown on seasonal restaurant re-openings.
Gordy’s Hi-Hat in Cloquet reopened on March 20, the first day of spring. The classic hamburger stand is a favorite among locals and a popular stop for Twin Cities travelers headed to cabins up north. The restaurant, now in it’s 56th season, is known for its hand-pattied burgers and onion rings, and was featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.
A & Dubs, another nostalgic burger joint in Duluth’s West End, will reopen on Mother’s Day, May 8. The seasonal, family-run business at 3131 W. Third St. was founded in 1948 as Duluth’s first drive-in restaurant. A & Dubs holds a special place in the hearts of residents of western Duluth. It’s a remarkable relic; nowhere else in Duluth has ice-cold root beer and burger baskets delivered by carhops for in-vehicle consumption.
Ice cream aficionados will be pleased to know the Denfeld Dairy Queen and the PortLand Malt Shoppe are already serving up decadent desserts.
Steel Toe Pub quietly opened in February in the historic Androy Hotel’s lobby at 1213 Tower Avenue in Superior. Patrons of the former Androy Lounge might find the pub unrecognizable as the space has been extensively renovated in the past year.
Owners Margie and Dave Regner have also been proprietors of the hotel since 1986. Margie said her husband and sons did much of the work on the bar themselves, ripping out layers of false ceilings and taking down several walls to reveal exposed brick. “We totally gutted the whole place,” she says.