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Bar & Grills

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Marcia, Marcia, Marcia… No, I’m not referring to the eldest Brady daughter, but (is it possible?!) someone even groovier. This Marcia is the 81-year-old owner and bartender at The Pub bar in Menomonie, Wisconsin, the site of our latest Iowa Roadie adventure. While the above reference may have you reliving all those Very Brady adventures…Remember when Mike escaped the collapsed mine because he followed the sound of his wife singing Christmas carols? Or how the aforementioned Marcia was dumped after her nose was hit with a football? How about when the Bradys went to Hawaii and encountered the cursed tiki idols? (Bigger question… How could a family of eight plus Alice AFFORD to go to Hawaii…or the Grand Canyon… or ANYWHERE?! Anyway…Brady memories aside, your next question should be…Menomonie? Where is that, and why would anyone go there? Well, like the Bradys, we are about saving some money…and therefore drove…

The movie “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” is a modern holiday classic depicting Clark Griswald’s ambition to host a “fun, old-fashioned family Christmas.” The film has developed almost a cult following because who can’t relate to family dysfunction? We may not have a Cousin Eddie emptying his RV septic tank in our front yard, an Uncle Lewis setting himself on fire with his cigar or even an Aunt Bethany reciting the Pledge of Allegiance as the meal’s blessing. (OK, so maybe some of us DO have an Aunt Bethany.) “A Christmas Vacation” reaffirms that regardless of its quirkiness, a family accepts and loves its members unconditionally. And that is exactly how the Iowa Roadie felt at its latest stop…The River Bar in Dows. My husband and I visited the River Bar on a Friday night, and proceeded to fill the last two bar stools at the end of the counter. In…

There is a practice known as “bar hopping” that refers to visiting more than one bar in a single evening. This nomadic lifestyle is most common in college students on spring break. As I am seasoned well beyond the ramen noodle & wet t-shirt years, I prescribe to the more sedentary “bar plopping,” which is the nightlife equivalent to nesting. I find a place I like, plop myself down and remain there all night. I honestly do not know how loyal patronage can be a bad thing. But evidently it labels me as “boring” and “lame.” SO on a recent trip to Cedar Rapids, I decided to forego my stationary habits and just go with the flow. (My anxiety level went up just writing that statement.) Now if you recall, a previous Iowa Roadie blog described an afternoon luau at “Just Coz Tavern” in Cedar Rapids. Remember…potluck by the pool…

Last week, the Iowa Roadie took a little fishing trip up north to Leech Lake in Walker, Minnesota. (Although to be considered a fishing trip, one actually has to catch fish.) According to the last census poll, Walker boasts a population of 941 people. That is its WINTER population. In the summer, the population multiplies like an amoeba, and the town swarms with both tourists and mayflies. (In all honesty, if I lived in Walker, I might prefer the mayflies! My limited experience with the tourists is that they meander. Meander means “to walk VERY VERY slowly and take up the entire sidewalk.”) So rather than run down the slow amoebas (anyone know the plural for amoeba?), my husband and I decided to have a drink in Cafe Zona Rosa where happy hour was just beginning. This was a terrific find, because all drinks are ½ off. So our chips,…

My husband says I don’t like surprises. He claims that I lack spontaneity, and that I am a control freak. Now I would like to feign horror and be offended by such preposterous claims. (Whatever happened to “if you can’t say anything nice?”) Just because he has caught me in the act of unwrapping Christmas presents when I can’t stand the suspense, or that my vacation itineraries leave little room for sleep… Should that label me as “obsessive compulsive?” Does he not value the time-honored Boy Scout motto, “Be Prepared?” So to counteract such negativity, I decided to throw caution to the wind on a recent trip to Cedar Rapids and visit somewhere not on the list of dives I had meticulously researched and mapped out (color coded and in alphabetical order). It was as if the “Just Coz Tavern” hijacked my sound judgment by coaxing me in with some…

Outside the corner bar in Allison hangs a big sign, “Coldest & Cheapest Beer.” Now who can reasonably drive by and not be lured in by such a bold claim? Certainly not the Iowa Roadie (who, truth be told, does not even drink beer). But “coldest & cheapest beer” reminded me of that scene in the movie Elf, where Will Ferrell drinks “the world’s best coffee” from some misfit little diner in NYC. And even if I don’t like beer, I love Elf. Which means that if this were one of those bizarre “six degrees of separation” situations, I was meant to stop in. (That… and the fact that my husband was thirsty and DOES like cold and cheap beer.) Accompanying my husband and me to Gronigans were friends husband T & wife M. (Quick side note: This is the couple that years ago introduced us to the concept of…

Renwick may not have a grocery store, a bank or a school, but for the past two years, there has been a moose on Main Street. The Blue Moose Saloon, formerly the “One More?” re-opened in September 2016, after a short shutdown and a change in ownership. Open 7 days a week, the Blue Moose is a hub of activity, and the next stop by the Iowa Roadie. Upon the advice of friends, my husband and I stopped at the Blue Moose after visiting his parents last Saturday. (Important Disclaimer: There is absolutely NO correlation between a visit with the in-laws and a visit to a small-town bar. Under no circumstances do we want to promote a misconception and possible family strife.) The Blue Moose visit was purely part of the Iowa Roadie blog project as neither of us had been there before. We did not have an address for…

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