Contrary to what I was led to believe, it was Nickle Dickle Day and not Nickle Pickle Day.
Go figure. Not exactly sure what it was all about but I saw neither pickles nor dickles and certainly no beers for only a nickle. There were a few places where you could get a beer for half-a-buck though. Actually there was quite a large fair in a park with all kinds of crafts and food for sale and a very impressive show of old classic cars and hotrods.
After experiencing a near castration of Cubby at Rainy Lake when a potato gun misfired the Mysterious Chinese Lady decided to buy a marshmellow gun to replace it.
Bruce, you will be getting this shortly; be safe and remember not to inhale.
Our first stop on our way to the festivities was this place in Victoria, Minnesota, that offered the hard to resist Week Ender. And what is that you might ask? A large Bloody Mary with your choice of vodka (price is the same, but they didn’t have Popov) and a small beer of your choice on the side. The Bloody Mary contains a beef stick, an olive, a shrimp, a pickle, a cube of cheese, a hot pepper, a few cocktail onions, a celery stick, an asparagus spear, and a pickled green bean. Truly a breakfast in a glass.
Toots Serving Up Breakfast
There is an old wooden bar in here with a tile foot rest. There are old wooden shelves and cabinets behind the bar along with a beer station with eleven spigots. Shelves of liquor flank the beer station. Old caps and some Floyd’s caps that are for sale hang above the bar back. There is a pool table and an electric dartboard to entertain you. Lots of electric beer signs on the walls, a lot of them shaped like guitars. A mirrored disco ball hangs from the ceiling. The pool table is mounted on retractable wheels so that it can be moved out of the way to accommodate a band. There are a few televisions mounted high on the walls. Round tables and stools occupy the rest of the space and there is another pool table off to the side in a separate game room.
I had the Week Ender with a small glass of Newcastle Brown Ale.
790) Bangarang Bar & Wangagut Grill
Kind of a great twofer here. You just walk out the back door of Floyd’s and you feel like you have stepped out into a bar in the islands. Well, there is no beach and the sound of traffic replaces that of waves crashing on the shore, but it isn’t a bad approximation. From the Tiki Bar to the brightly decorated stage
(I imagine this place is really fun at night) this place looked great.
After our hearty breakfast and considering the early hour I opted out of the various exotic drinks that they offer here.
Rico And Bar Man Having A Beer With Bartender Pete
We were a bit freaked out by this guy observing us from the nearby fence.
There is plenty to see here, from fish nets to paintings to monkeys in the trees. Minnesota isn’t known for its mild winters but they have outdoor heaters here and Pete said they crank up a big fire pit so even in the dead of winter this place sees significant action. I was compelled to match my carrying-a-beer-on-your-head skills with one of the locals, but she beat me hands down.
I had a Boulevard Beer before we headed out to Waconia where the Nickle Dickle festival was taking place.
791) The Saloon
We hit Waconia and then hit The Saloon. I would like to tell you more about it but it was so crowded that about all you could see were other people. The place was packed. It looked like a pretty plain place with a light bar and walls. Lord only knows if there was anything hanging on them, other then semi-loaded people. We headed outside to an almost as packed concrete slab surrounded by a fence and some wrought iron tables and chairs. A card table served as an auxiliary beer station and when the bartender wasn’t busy swatting away flies he would serve you up a draft beer.
I had a draft Budweiser and off we toddled.
792) Mark and Jessie’s Lanes
What is a small town without a small town bowling alley. By this time Sandy and The Mysterious Chinese Lady had located food, barbecued turkey legs, and we needed a place to gnaw on them. They didn’t seem to be too fussy in here about letting you bring in food from the outside so in we went. It was just a small bowling alley, only eight lanes. At least a couple of them had bumpers where the gutters would be so the little kids could actually knock down pins. They seemed to be having a good time.
The bar was just a plain wooden affair tucked into a corner with pretty much just a shelf behind it for liquor and a couple of coolers for beer. Just beer signs and televisions for decorations.
I had a bottle of Miller Genuine Draft.
793) American Legion Post 150
This is your typical older American Legion Post located in an old school. The U shaped bar has a brown Formica top with a brown padded faux leather edge to lean your weary head upon, or at least rest your arms. There were spot lights in the ceiling over the bar and brownish red bucket bar chairs. There was one small television on the wall and a big television in one corner above a shelf full of sports trophies. One wall had a list of all of the members. Several Schmidt Beer lights hang from the ceiling.
There are the somewhat typical decorations, deer antlers, an old military rifle in a glass case, another glass case holding ceramic decanters seemed to be from conventions of long ago, pictures of duck and pheasants. Quite a comfortable place made even more so by the fact that we all chipped in $5 so Sandy could by pull-tabs and she won $200. Not a bad return. Sandy is a very lucky lady. When I was in Minnesota last year she won $500 on pull-tabs at a different American Legion Post.
We had met some friends here so we all hung out and enjoyed a couple of drinks paid for out of our winnings.
Bar Man, Sandy, Rico, Dawn, And Bob
I had a Jim Beam and water.
We were headed back home but as we passed through Victoria we decided to stop at this bar that looked like it hadn’t changed in ages. That is one of the nice things about bars in small towns, you feel like you have entered a bit of a time warp. Some of the customers look like they are locked in the sixties, like Peter, the self proclaimed “Bald Hippie” who still collects LPs and is, of course, a huge fan of The Grateful Dead.
Bar Man And The “Bald Hippie”
There is a real old wooden bar in here with a bit of an odd shape to it, kind of like the Greek letter Omega. The bar chairs have black bucket seats. There is a small television above the bar and a larger one off to the side. An ATM machine allows you to continue buying your drinks after you run out of money, how very thoughtful. There is a 2005 Golden Tee machine and a Silver Streak Bowling machine. A bit out of place here is one of those fish for a toy with a steam shovel contraptions. I guess this is for if you feel guilty about staying out so late and want to bring the little lady a little something to make up for it. One of those little cuddly pink rabbits that probably cost you at least $20 in quarters usually does the trick.
Big neon beer signs grace the walls along with a couple of rotating globe lights advertising Michelob Golden Light and Sam Adams. There is that oh-so-clever “Free Beer Tomorrow” sign hanging on the wall as well.
There is an attached pool room with four tables and an electronic dart machine at one end. The windows in this room look out onto a nice little lake.
I must have been hypnotized by the rotating light because I had a Michelob Golden Light.
We were going to a Golden Gophers football game so we stopped here first to hook up with a couple of old friends, Jerry and Pat, who I hadn’t seen in awhile.
Bar Man With The Ladies, Sandy, The Mysterious Chinese Lady, And Pat
Bar Man With The Guys, Rico And Jerry
This place is within an easy walk of the Hubert H. Humphrey collapsible stadium right in the heart of downtown Minneapolis so it was packed with fans. Long ago this place as Mixer’s and was another favorite hangout of mine. It was a much seedier place back then and if you knew the right people you could go through a door and down a set of steps to “The Dungeon.” This was just a room in the basement with a few over-stuffed chairs and a dilapidated sofa where you could have a semi-private party (which we did, almost every time we were here). Now it is kind of a blond wood type of place with tightly packed pub tables and overhead lights that look a bit like inverted lotus flowers. The brown wooden bar is quite long and features 14 spigots for beer. There is a large television on one end of the bar and two smaller ones mounted above the bar. There are mirrors behind the bar with a stained glass ledge above them lined with beer bottles.
I had several different types of beers here of which at least one was a Leinenkugels Red before heading to the game.
Well, a fruitful day with seven bars hit making 795 for the year and leaving but 205 to go. I suspect any suspense about whether or not I would hit 800 bars before leaving Minnesota is starting to fade.