Thursday, September 15, 2005

Last Run Up North

I am heading back to Minneapolis tomorrow so today is my last run at bars up in Northern Minnesota. I hit a few old favorites and one that I have seen many times but never visited before.

783) Island View Lodge

Just a short way from where I am staying with my friends is this combination of a restaurant, bar, and lodge where you can rent rooms and cabins. It has a very nice location and they have boats for rent as well. I would have stopped in here sooner or later but I came at noon today so that I could say hello to Donna’s chapter of the Red Hat Society. Donna asked me to make sure that I got the name of her chapter right, it is Voyaguaire Rouge Chapeaux.

Bar Man And Members Of Voyaguaire Rouge Chapeaux

The bartender of the day (she said she is usually the office manager but when it is slow does pouring duty) graciously offered to be the photographer of our merry group.

Cassie, Photographer And Part Time Bartender (with Bar Man)

The bar has a shiny textured top on an otherwise knotty pine bar with a tan linoleum footrest. Tubular metal bar stools with round black and tan spinning seats. Shelves mounted behind the bar hold the liquor and display the beer selections. A plain metal cooler holds the beer and wooden cabinets with drawers on either side of it holds who knows what. One of those contraptions that holds three bottles of Jagermeister sits behind the bar as well, but they are everywhere so I don’t usually bother to mention them anymore. It is no wonder that the guy who got the U.S. distribution rights became a billionaire. Of course the fact that he also developed Grey Goose Vodka didn’t hurt his cause any.

A couple of ornate domed lights are mounted on the ceiling above the bar. The walls and ceiling are very nice knotty pine paneling. The floor immediately around the bar is linoleum that matches the footrest and the rest of the floor is covered in a well-worn red carpet. Large windows offer a gorgeous view of Rainy Lake and a door leads out to a deck with tables and chairs. There is a large gray stone fireplace tucked into one corner and a small totem pole sits against a wall. A pool table with the traditional green felt top and a Miller Lite light featuring a large plastic beer bottle sits in the middle of the room. A Golden Tee ’99 machine and a Deer Hunting U.S.A. machine alongside a jukebox sit against the wall opposite the bar. There are a few pictures on the walls and a large carved wooden fish hanging from the ceiling but the primary decoration is Rainy Lake as viewed through the windows.

I had a Leinenkugel’s Red (Leinenkugel’s, the beer with a taste as big as its name).

784) Sha Sha’s

A bit later I walked from my friend’s place to Sha Sha’s that is a bar, semi-restaurant (mostly burgers) and lodge. It is right at the far tip of Dove Island so is a very picturesque location. You can stand on the deck and see my friend dock. There is an uber-thick polished wooden topped bar shaped like a large U with a tail. The front of the bar is wood with carved and burned in lake scenes. Driftwood supports are at each end and in the middle. Most of the furniture in here is made by a local craftsman and it is very nice.

Cactus Table And Stool

This is one of the fanciest bars (meaning the bar itself, not the place as a whole) that you are likely to ever see, in a rustic way. The barstools are shaped like the rear end of horses and some of them come complete with saddles and stirrups. Too bad that they look much better than they feel.

Bar Man At The Bar (No Comments About Horse’s Asses Please)

Betsy The Bartender Served Up The Iced Teas

The walls and ceiling are knotty pine and covered with mounted fish, and these are all real ones, not just plastic replicas. Trophy sized northerns, walleyes, and bass along with assorted pan fish. Again, it is the great views of the lake through the windows on three sides that provide most of the décor.

There is a pool table and one of those machines where you can pull out a prize with a steam shovel. In fact, there is actually quite an arcade in here including two Off-Road Thunder racing machines, a Big Buck Hunter machine, and a Silver Strike Bowling machine.

Long Island Ice Teas seem to be the drink of choice in here and they are quite good. Stop in if you get a chance. Just take Highway 11 east out of International Falls until you can’t go any further and you are there. It is well worth the trip.

I had a Long Island Iced Tea.

785) La Place Rendez-Vous

We decided to head across the border into Fort Frances for dinner to a place where we had all been before. Clearing customs was a breeze, considering the fairly motley crew. It helps that my friends have a car with International Falls license plates. The bar here serves mostly as an anteroom to the very nice dining area that looks over the Rainy Lake. The bar has a nice, well-polished wood top with a gray plywood front. The bar chairs are wooden with diamond patterned cloth covered seats. Glasses hang from racks above the bar. The bar back is pretty plain, just refrigerators with dark doors with bottles and glasses sitting on top. Three televisions showing sporting events but not much else. You come here for the view of the lake.

I had a Beefeater Martini, up with olives, as my pre-dinner aperitif served up by the lovely and talented Lisa

Lovely And Talented Lisa Serving Bar Man

786) Roadhouse Lounge

This place you go past every time you head to my friend’s house from International Falls. It is a large, barn-like structure that, somewhat unfortunately, sits kind of in the middle of nowhere. It is only open three nights a week and was almost empty when we arrived. The owner, Carl Brown, said it is much busier during the height of tourist season and also on the week-ends when they have live music. Carl does ice-fishing guiding and is now affiliated with my good friend Woody.

You can check out Carl's website by clicking the picture below.

  • There is a large U shaped bar on one side of the room as you walk in. The bar has a grey tile bar with a blond wood plank front. Two pool tables along with a foosball machine and 3 electronic dartboards are off to one side and there is a separate, much smaller serving bar.

    A good sized, attached dining room has booths made of the same type of planking as the bar. An accordion style door leads to a large room with a good-sized stage on the left side. The right side has yet another bar. If you walk across the dance floor you enter still another room with booths made of padded brown faux leather and tables of fake brown wood. There are also four tables with padded bucket seats. Stairs lead up to a loft with a pool table on one side and an air hockey machine on the other. Two large windows in the loft let you check out the action down on the dance floor, if there was any action to check out.

    Quite a fancy and, as I am sure you have gathered, large place for this neck of the woods. I hope it does well in the summer because the people were friendly enough. There were a few regulars having a drink at the bar who appeared to be friends with the charming bartender, Brittany.

    Brittany, The Charming Bartender

    The Mysterious Chinese Woman took a lot of the pictures on this trip and I notice that the bartenders seem to somehow fade into the background.

    I had a rum and coke and homeward we headed. Not a bad last day, four bars hit, international travel, lots of fun. This makes 786 for the year and leaves me with 214 to go.


    Rochester Bar Man said...

    Hurry back Barman! I'm having bar withdrawal! (Guess I'll just have to visit a few myself.)

    Musophrenia said...


    Quit Smoking said...

    Hello fellow fisherman,

    Did you know that 16% of the U.S. population goes fishing at least 16 days a year?

    Did you also know that over 75% of the nations fishermen do not fish during "prime time"; fish feeding hours?

    Those precious few moments before twilight can be absolutely magical. Even up until 11pm at night, the largest predators of any species feed ravenously.

    Don't believe me? Check out Daniel Eggertsen's story, and a picture of a couple of his catches here : "Evening Secrets plus more"

    I want you to do me a favor and try it out so I can see what you think of it, and if it works for you as well as it did for me.

    You will be one of the first to try it out.

    Gone Fishin',


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