Hudson Wisconsin Nightlife

New, enhanced Guv’s Place in NH will benefit triangle of bars, not be obtuse

October 6th, 2015

They’ve been through this all before, about eight years ago, and now the Thompsons and their staff are bringing their act to North Hudson.
After building a good business when at that time establishing the Houlton sports bar Guv’s Place — you know, the one with the Packer and Viking shaking hands on the sign — they are shifting gears and moving to the busy North Hudson business district, teaming with two quite similar venues to create a local go-to triangle for entertainment and cheer. But the places do have their lively and colorful characters, so it might not be completely equilateral.
Guv’s Place co-owners Dan and Jessica Thompson will take over the current Mudds ‘N Sudds location along Hwy. 35 at 726 Sixth St. N, after closing their location smack dab in the middle of Houlton in July, when their lease became unavailable.
The new Guv’s location is little more than a block away from Kozy Korner pizzaria and bar, and across the street from the Village Inn sports bar and grill, in what forms kind of an L shape.
An official opening, although it will likely roll in slowly, is set for the middle of this week, since the new owners will first have to again go before the Village Board in North Hudson, which meets Tuesday night, to shore up some license details.
“We will definitely not be corporate,” Dan said. “That’s what will distinguish us from those on The Hill.” He also said the new place will be “family based,” and will build on what had been done by the previous owners and staff, and especially their patrons. He and his wife will expand the volleyball play that was a hallmark at Mudds, especially the leagues, and add more to their food service, as well as have more tap beers than at the past Guv’s, with a nod to the proliferating crew of brews that are made locally.
Longterm goals are other activities outside, which could incorporate amenities such as more landscaping, as the current set-up doesn’t have a lot of trees except by the sand volleyball courts, and possibly a patio and likely more outdoor seating.
Guv’s has operated for the last eight years at the intersection of Hwy. 35 and County E. It will add to the Mudd’s walk-in and drive-up gourmet coffee and breakfast-treats service, with expanded morning and night hours.
Since the Thompsons officially bought Mudds in late summer, owners of the three close-together bars have thrown around strategies and ideas for beneficial events for the good of them all — including not only North Hudson, but the several-mile perimeter they each serve.
Many neighborhood enclaves are within easy walking distance, and the people who live their make good use of it, such as some of my neighbors in the locale of Cherry Circle and Fourth Street N.
In downtown Hudson, people saunter around and gravitate between all the bars and grills in a similar way, depending on just what they are seeking. Now there will be similar crossing points in North Hudson.
Such patrons making the rounds and checking out offerings here and there, will benefit from things such as games of cards and poker at various venues, including the new Guv’s, Dan said.
Being busy helps out everyone, and they avoid the pitfalls of drinking and driving. Most of the bar owners in the north part of North Hudson know one another and consider themselves friends, as many for years have patronized each other’s places, Dan said.
Though they all will have the top sports on multiple TVs, the new Guv’s Place will continue to be more brightly lit and intimate than the Village Inn and a bit more spacious than Kozy Korner, but with lower-key live entertainment and a “neighborhood bar fare” menu that doesn’t put on airs but is very tasty.
Its drive-up and walk-in gourmet coffee and breakfast-snacks lineup will be available seven days a week, giving people such as Hwy. 35 commuters an option as well as those who want to come very early to get their day going with a cup of joe, with that opportunity beginning at 6 a.m.
All of this is seen as a way to make North Hudson more of a destination place, like is often the case in its neighboring city just to the south.
Dan noted that North Hudson’s family-driven community spirit is legendary, and a very good match for the new Guv’s Place. He added that there will be a definite change in clientele as the morning coffee drinking crowd changes to afternoon, which changes to evening, as more of a bar atmosphere takes over with an offering of expanded hours of operation. But all clients, past and present and no matter what they sip on, will be welcome in this “work in progress,” he said.
Dan added there also will be synergy with the other bars in North Hudson, a few blocks to the south.
Their quite blue-collar bar had found a loyal customer base in Houlton even before it opened eight years ago, when, as its website said, passers-by stopped by to check what was going on and grab a beer — even while the Thompsons were getting their one-great-big-room space ready.
Kind of like what has been going on in North Hudson with them for the past couple of weeks.
New to Guv’s will be the multiple outdoor volleyball courts. But other old-standby attractions, for those who don’t want to get sand in their sneakers, will be fall-to-spring dart leagues, retaining their popular bean bag tournaments, and other such activities, along with live “one- or two-person bands,” many of which will feature local performers. The emphasis will shift, seasonally, from those main three outdoor activities to indoor attractions such as the music of Ella and Wade, Kyle Kohila and Trandy Blue, tried and true performers with whom Guv’s has long had success.
Look for some of those kind of tunes during the grand opening, planned for Halloween weekend, just like when the old Guv’s opened almost a decade ago. It is during this time that Jessica shows her true colors with love of scary decore, especially killer clowns. But that’s not the only holiday and special event they will play up, with Jessica going over the top to do things such as hang decorations from the ceiling.
There will be more TVs then before inside, and sports of all sorts, Dan said, adding that his wife is a huge Minnesota Wild fan, so of course there will be ticket giveaways to patrons who follow the puck. Possibly adding to the diversity is that Jessica is a notoriously big Motley Crew fan, although don’t expect the new Guv’s to rock out to that degree — except maybe for what’s on occasion played on the jukebox, which has a song selection noted for its diversity and pairing of like-styled hits.
Jessica will be Guv’s main bartender and has said that as a regular customer, she’d talked with previous owner Marc Zappa — who will always be welcome — about an arrangement such as the new one.
Many of the Guv’s staffers will remain, as well as those who were longtime stalwarts at Mudds N Sudds. Jo Ellen Steele quipped with her sly trademark candor that she’s not going to opt for an early retirement, rather stay and be a big part of the fun.
Members of the Thompson family were six-year North Hudson residents before moving to the town of St. Joseph in 2002, and Dan as the Guv even served in local government, on the St. Joseph Town Board.
As we talked in mid-September at Mudds, patrons checked out the older art prints that were no longer going to be part of the decore and were being sold, such as a Marilyn Monroe print for $10, and a map of Hudson-North Hudson for a bit more. An oversize print of Frank Zappa was still on the wall in the bathroom.
For information, check the Guv’s Place Facebook page, and its soon to be updated website:

With the TV grid year here, and Vikings winning, can Canton be far beyond for codger?

September 27th, 2015

It may not be Canton, but even the Packer Hall of Fame left one People Eater turning Purple, even though the Vikings have been locally viewed to be at .500, (at least for the time being).

– A local middle-aged man told others at the bar that he had taken his father, who is a longtime diehard Viking fan, to the rival Packer Hall of Fame, at the other end of Minnesconsin. During a tour, the two were similarly introduced and this prompted a tongue-in-cheek remark by one of the hosts that maybe this was an “intervention.”

– The St. Paul Pioneer Press anointed the various area Buffalo Wild Wings franchises as second on their long list of the best places to watch a Viking game and have great eats as well. But what about the branch in Hudson and the Packers that take precedence there? A server said that here in Wisconsin, you will not find the Viking beer challenge, where Purple patrons can taste five different varieties and guess which one is the official brew of that Black and Blue division squad. I’m guessing it would be dark beer. And why, being Wisconsin with our love of beer, is there no such thing here?
– After the big win over Detroit, a really big guy stayed afterward at Dick’s and removed his No. 5 Viking jersey and wrapped it around his neck, using it to wipe away sweat when his dancing got to be too vigorous. One wonders if the player who has that jersey, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, has every had to do the same when the heat is on about his performing, such as after the season opener.
– With Adrian Peterson’s breakout game, as seen on local sports bars, the pregame comments of an analyst, shown repeatedly on typed copy on the lower part of the TV screen, said that fans need not worry about the return to stardom of “A.D.” Was that a misprint, or foretelling the dawning of a new age for the star running back, who now is 30. Days later, it was announced that longtime broadcaster Dick Enberg was retiring. It was noted that he has won the Ford C. Frick Award. Considering the title, is that one you would really want?
– A bartender at Dick’s who is never at a loss for words said that while working during the Republican debate, a trio of people asked that the TV settings be changed to show it. Their request was politely declined, and they reportedly got a little miffed. The explanation given: If people can’t always get along when the debate is simply Packers vs. Vikings, how can you expect alcohol and politics to mix?

Local living Wolves assistant first resided with Saunders, then dished the dirt on Dirk

September 8th, 2015

Amongst the recent coming and goings of venerable people, venues and events, this trio of happenings stand out (without flipping).
– The bad news is that the head coach and director of basketball operations for the Timberwolves, Flip Saunders, has lymphoma cancer. The good news is that his form is termed “highly treatable.”
Maybe this would be a good time for him to contact an old friend who once lived in North Hudson, and was an assistant coach who a decade ago taught the players a newly legalized form of defense, the matchup zone, while at the same time running the NBA team’s camps for kids. When the new assistant was just starting, and in the process of buying a house near the Lake Mallalieu bluffs, he stayed for a time with Saunders and family and the two would stay up all night watching game film. Shortly afterward, we watched a Timberwolves game together at Target Center, as we had gotten to know each other well because of sports coverage, and he gave me what then was then some inside information. A bit that stuck in my mind was that many players in the NBA back away when being dunked on so they won’t look bad on ESPN. And, he gave the dirt on some scoring superstars who can’t play a lick of defense and have to be covered for, like Dirk Nowitzke, the three-point specialist on the opponent that day, the Dallas Mavericks.
– In the north parking lot being redone by Pudge’s Bar, there has been a longtime sign that advertises another business but missing at “R” that therefore reads “Ivertown.” That would seem to indicate that Hudson is actually the homeland of the well-known Eau Claire band Bon Iver, (which was over there for its musical “experimental festival” so obviously could not be present for Hudson reconstruction). None of this stopped a downtown patron from slipping into the porta-potty that was positioned directly below the sign and doing his business. Apparently he couldn’t wait long enough to get a block or two further to an open establishment.
– There were more overnighters than ever when at Pepperfest the royal guard from St. Paul, which is given the task of defending King Boreas and the Queen of the Snows as part of Vulcan lore, camped out in the yard of a longtime Fourth Street North resident. Their presence even was announced on a banner on the side of an oversize truck just onto the grass. At times there was a light flashing to draw even more attention to the visitors. As far as the Vulcan actors, they appear to have revisited the practice of smudging willing womens’ cheeks.

Fly like an eagle, hundreds saw it unfold in memory of ‘amazing four’

August 11th, 2015


A fly-over, circular fashion, took place at the memorial service for Dan Ortner, the pilot in a plane crash that tragically killed himself and three others, two of them children. Flight seemed to be the theme of that Monday night, as when the crowd gathered outside of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church to see the jet go, they first were fittingly buzzed by a wayward sparrow that flew just a few feet over their heads across the length of the assembly.
Later that evening, when I was leaving the house to go to a block-party turned extension-of-the-memorial that took place in the Cherry Circle cul de sac, a small bat buzzed me. Still later, dozens of balloons were let go in Dan’s honor, some big and some small, but they all eventually looked just like pins of light as they rose in the night sky. The cul de sac portion of the night was almost as well attended as the earlier service, with enough people there to fill several 747s.
Also dying in the crash were Eric Larson and boys Matthew and Michael; the memorial for them was held at the church three days earlier. The memory of the four has lived on, for most cases for over a week, in the signs on places that included haunts where the adults used to hang out. At the Village Inn in North Hudson, where Eric’s wife works as a bookkeeper, the sign simply says “Community Heartbreak.” Across the street at Kozy Korner, the moniker on the marquee read, “Word Can’t Express How Heartbroken We Are.” At Season’s Tavern in North Hudson, the well wishes were a simple “With You.” On Agave’s sign, there was a recitation of the first names, and at The Nova was the longest of the messages, starting with “Our Community Will Stand With These 4 Amazing Men ….”
– Planes and Automobiles, but no Trains. There have been some interesting former cop cars out on the street at night, as law enforcement meets up with the public in a different than usual way.
A State Patrol vehicle parked locally had only its front half still painted in the traditional blue colors and shield logo on the door. The back half had been turned into the yellow color and decals that go with, of all things, a taxi cab. Granted, this was last month, but at that time there were still some lights across the top of the vehicle, and on top of them was a “taxi” globe.
Oddly, in the same neck of the woods, one can still see parked late on the street what appears to be a former police cruiser, painted black except for some white doors, and turned into a private vehicle.
And then at Historic Casanova Liquors, things got even more historic, with a police vehicle parked in the lot that appeared to be from the Capone era — you’d think that was the now resort that’s Up North where he used to hole up. This car had only a small single light that used to flash, and it was set off to the side on top of the roof.

Skies and dance floors blackened, so bring on drinks by candlelight

July 27th, 2015

For the third time since year 2000, Hudson nightclubs have successfully met the challenges that go with doing business when the power goes out during the peak time on a weekend.
Sometimes, one thing ebbs while another stays on, depending on just where there’s something like a lightning strike and what area on the electric grid is effected. For instance, in the latest occurrence, the dance floor darkened at Dick’s Bar and Grill, but somehow the disco ball kept spinning and flashing. I guess that truly is “Dancing in the Dark.” Sort of.
Likewise at Pudge’s, where only one of the two main rooms went black, but a few signs touting specific drink brands remained functioning. Hence the rumors of a lightning strike nearby — and just where and how far away — kept flowing just like the tap beer.
Up the street, city crews responded quickly and put up stop signs where traffic signals had failed. After last call came and went, but rains still threatened, a motorcycle remained parked largely alone on the main drag. Wouldn’t want to be that guy (or gal). As for my car, there was a big branch tucked under the trunk, which promptly blew away after I nudged it into the street. This same wind earlier had effected a daytime concert outdoors in North Hudson, where much of the sheet music suddenly blew away. As it was, just after bar time, a friend from Hastings, Minn. said that he watched the “fireworks,” read lightning flashes, for a while from Lakefront Park near the dike road sign until the storm passed, so he would not have to drive home in it.
On one of the earlier instances, the ways bars kept the drinks flowing had even included making flaming rum drinks, all the better to see you by.
One women even came back into Pudge’s, after having left minutes earlier, and jokingly asked if anyone had “seen” the jacket she’d left behind. Staffers were able to find it, thanks in part to some candlelight that was well placed, as their just weren’t enough wicks to go around. Accurately tipping and paying for drinks proved a little more challenging, except when it involved the aformentioned rum drinks. Think of Captain Morgan, God forbid, as the guardian of your treasure.
Alas, the electricity came on right before closing time, and since clocks had been off for roughly two hours, but not on the head, patrons were in a somewhat of a quandry about just how long they had to finish that last drink.

Tavern porches are added left and right to the tried and true, and that’s not trivia

July 11th, 2015


The deck at Dick’s leads the way as far as finishing projects, and you could do worse than to bet on “Duh” and “Dodo” when dealing with trivia answers.
– The three major renovation projects at downtown bars, (more or less centered on porches), at Pudges and Dick’s — which finished first well before The Fourth — and also the Moose, continued forward as summer has started to beckon.
Pudge’s has its huge and I must say stellar streetside patio of tables, firepots and flora reduced in size but not in style, in part because of city regulations, as a large-scale, multi-faceted and multi-floored remodeling project continues. The new Dick’s patio room on the east end is done, keeping the best of the old as far as design, but shoring things up a bit in Room Four and making it more roomy, at least as far as appearance seems, and adding to the brick look. And at The Moose, the much-talked-about — including at length at city government meetings — and large deck that is on a second level and faces the St. Croix River now has more than half its flooring laid down.
(In related happenings, the latter venue around Memorial Day weekend had its patio windows that link to the inside open for the first time of the season. Is it fair to say that with the often cold temps around that time of year, it got a somewhat cool reception? Even if it did, that amenity still contributed to the place being hopping at times earlier in June, depending on the weather, and especially at many later hours when Hudson Booster Days bands let out).
And sometimes you need to let it out with a mind game, even if it requires a moniker. Success at TV trivia at Buffalo Wild Wings also can be foreshadowed by the code names chosen by the participants. A case in point most recently is the winning ways of “shark,” who just might also be a successful contestant on the reality show Shark Tank.
A man who goes by the simple moniker, “Duh,” gained mention on the leader board for having a temporary score of well, you guessed it, zero, although he redeemed himself later. (Well duh, he better). However, one of the more successful players, ranking as many as nine times in the top 10 at one point, goes by the name of “Dodo,” which perhaps goes to show that the flightless bird is not extinct after all. A bit later, there was “Bobo,” not Dodo, who got a question right about the number of ridges on the diameter of a dime. Apparently he has time to count such things when not playing BuzzTime.
And of course their is the player named “Badazz,” which is possibly intentionally misspelled because after all, this is a family establishment.

With nine decades-diverse bands, Booster Days will strike a chord with everyone

June 30th, 2015

Hudson Booster Days has a little bit of every sound, and is certain to strike a chord with virtually every listener, in its diverse nine-band musical lineup that will be the heart and soul of the annual festival.
The fest’s music, from the rock of the ’80s to many other genres, runs from July 2-4 at the Lakefront Park band shell.
These are bios, in order of appearance, of the Booster Days acts:
– Jeff Loven bills himself as Minnesota’s top “one man band” and has backed up that claim by winning two prominent international guitar competitions, inserting extra fills into even the toughest solos, a skill that gained him an almost successful bid by fans to get him on stage with Eddie Van Halen. He also has a voice that seems to match up with every tune he sings. Loven said that for this show, what the heck, he might even continue his practice of giving away classic Matchbox cars as part of his trademark name-that-tune contest. But don’t expect his usual guest appearances by other singers,
– Devon Worley is a Minneapolis country singer in her late teens with a huge voice and stage presence, and even auditioned for The Voice. She is backed by veteran musicians in this seven-or-so piece band who have had connections with some big names, from widely differing genres. It only took until the band’s second album, which came out a while back, to solidify their reputation as one of the Midwest’s top country acts.
– 23rd Hour, a female rock and soul duo, says online that they are “authentically fearless” in their “naked vulnerability of sound and soul” that lets them leave everything on stage and move beyond being a multi-member band and just being a standard acoustic duo.
– Alive, taking time away from their Moondance Jam gig, does as a tribute band what is called the “entire catalog” of Pearl Jam hit songs and re-creates the in-concert experience of the seminal grunge-era band.
– A Rock Brigade web site urges that when listeners are not seeing them perform, be sure to check out Arch Allies. Which makes sense, since they play back-to-back at Booster Days. Rock Brigade has some of the same tunes, and their 64-song set list features diverse numbers such as Everybody Wants You, Immigrant Song and even a couple from Lita Ford. And harkening back to the days when Tommy Tutone used to perform in Hudson, there is also on the list his classic, Jenny 867-5309.
– Arch Allies, a tribute band to Styx, Journey and REO Speedwagon, has a history of playing prominent local festivals around St. Croix County. They are one of the Friday bands that pay tribute to the Old School ’80s rock scene, complete with the soaring guitar riffs and vocals, and of course the big hair! The band members invite listeners to triple their pleasure with the trio of bands covered, as they from an early age have been honing their skills, which have been on display in gigs not only across the country, but all of North America.
– The Armadillo Jump band will play their cranked up, rockin’ blues and the band shell will be alive with Texas-style attitude, according to the band’s web site. The five-piece group is a mix of men and women even features a sax player.
– Ponzi Scheme cranks out tunes from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s and vows to “bring back horn section” music with a six-piece lineup that includes two keyboardists, and trumpet and trombone.
– Uncle Chunk has long been regarded as one of the best cover bands coming out of the Twin Cities area, and they have a prominent and storied history of playing in Hudson, usually drawing a big crowd. They give quality, spot-on treatment to lots of broadbased pop, mainstream rock and country songs, and churn out hit after hit, redefining what a cover band should be about. Uncle Chunk has on YouTube their video renditions of Enter Sandman by Metallica and Rockstar by Nickelback.
Sponsors include the Hudson Boosters (two bands), Uncle Mike’s Em Pour E-Yum, Luther Hudson Chevrolet GMC (one of the headliner bands), Chad Carlson as a financial representative, Hudson Ford (a headliner), Pita Pit, Family Fresh Market, and Croix Gear and Machining (a headliner). There is no cover charge for any of the bands, including headliners.
For a day-by-day breakdown of the festival lineup:
– On Thursday, it’s the guitar wizardry of Jeff Loven from 5:30-8:15 p.m., and teen country phenom Devon Worley from 9 p.m.-12:30 a.m.
– Friday brings more of the rock sound with Alive, a Pearl Jam tribute band, playing from 3:30-6 p.m., Rock Brigade from 6:30-8:30 p.m., and Arch Allies as a three-act tribute band from 9 p.m.-12:30 a.m. Opening up on Friday is 23rd Hour, a female duo, from 1-3 p.m.
– On Saturday, it’s a bit more diverse, with Armadillo Jump from 1:30-4:30 p.m., Ponzi Scheme from 5:15-8:15 p.m., and popular mainstream rockers Uncle Chunk from 9 p.m.-12:30 a.m.

‘Watch ‘em come, watch ‘em go.’ One thing in common, serving fiery ‘Flamin’ Moe’

June 8th, 2015

In the bar biz, servers often switch the places where they work, for various reasons that include more lucrative financial possibilities, often bringing their clientele of regulars with them. However, in recent weeks there have been more comings and goings of longtime servers than usual, in part because new bars on the scene gain traction.

For example, there have been four such additions at the Village Inn in North Hudson recently. Bartenders Darren and Tricia have come over from the former Coach’s in River Falls, which is now under new management, and Devon traded her gig in Vegas for The Village in part to escape the high pressure lifestyle. Amanda has come from a long stint at Dick’s Bar and Grill to take over some management responsibilities at The Village. One of the other stalwarts at Dick’s for as long as anyone can remember, Terri, also made such a switch, going over to the also relatively new Stone Tap.

The addition of the Smilin’ Moose had also brought changes, as a number of people passed up their then-current gigs to go work there, and two of them later moved to Pudge’s to shore up some of their management end. And when the Moose opened, some of the longtime employees at its predecessor, Bob Smith’s Sports Club, moved along to the Willow River Inn in Burkhardt.
(Among the more compelling sidelights with the Smilin’ Moose staff was a bartender who also plays in a mostly punk band that had a combo of members who were either Christian, atheist or agnostic, which made for some interesting, if not lyrically challenging songwriting).
Jenelle, who worked at Ellie’s for years, is now at Dick’s, and a fellow bartender at Ellie’s, Fawn, had moved there from a long stint at the former Corner Bar in River Falls. And Josie, who was a fixture behind the bar at Woody’s in Bayport, is studying to get into another end of the industry, that being a chef — with an occasional stint as a bartender a block down at the American Legion hall.
Whew! All this makes it seem less over-the-top when a decades-long bartender who was synonymous with the former Dibbo’s, named Forrest, who was famous for saying life is fantastic and that every day is a good day, moved to Baldwin to get out of the bar biz and ramp up his motorcycle repair shop there.
– It’s not only your favorite bartender, who you follow from here to there, who is interesting. A cardboard cutout of “the world’s most interesting man,” as he is billed, has been showing up at local bars, and in one case, a patron just could not get over the fact that the guy next to him was this stellar gentleman. In particular, the fact that the WMIM, who was pushing beer, is about six feet tall seemed to be very intimidating. That meant he was moved by the patron to the space between the two bathrooms at Green Mill, a humbling fact to say the least. At least his newfound doorman space was shifted now and then to be closer to one bathroom door than the other, before Mr. Interesting disappeared from sight. (All this is reminiscent of a scrawling on the bathroom wall at Maverick’s Corner Saloon in downtown River Falls, which said simply “Humble me,” then gave a phone number).

Why did the ‘Cow’ cross the river? It was illegally herded to get to the other side

May 10th, 2015

Police have a cow, and I know it sounds cheesy, but they milk their chances when a rival tavern skims off some Spotted Cow.
– Bartender Whitney at Pudge’s got a lot of face time on Fox 9 News when a TV crew came over and asked opinions about a sting operation targeting a Maple Grove tavern. It seems they had “spotted” the owners illegally buying and transporting the New Glarus Spotted Cow beer brand over the river — multiple times — and allegedly serving it in their own place, which is a violation of trade practices, as well as Border Battle decorum. Then feds actually order a brew in the Twin Cities tavern as evidence. Whitney said she thought that doing such a sting was a bit too much drama. Which apparently still rings true, as Spotted Cow is still listed as a special on their beer board.
So, dramatically, what was shown on TV was all Whitney, despite the guys at the bar who were queried too, and they speculated that the male TV crew was smitten by her short shirt.
One of the reporters who interviewed her said he wrote for scores of other publications as well, maximizing her exposure. My mom in Milwaukee even called me to say she had seen such a report in the Journal-Sentinel. Ouch! I am a tipster for that paper, and I could have collected a paycheck in regard to this, but the editor I deal with was out for days on end. With that tip, I could have paid it forward and given Whitney a better tip.
Despite all the publicity, Spotted Cow is also still on tap at places like Emma’s Bar in River Falls. A sign promoted a special that incorporates that brew and another Wisconsin staple, pretzel and I’m assuming cheese sauce, (maybe that’ll be the next Cheesehead item to be essentially kidnapped and brought across the border). Whatever happened to Minnesota nice?
Speaking of tips, the sign at the Agave Kitchen gave this one: Pac Man over Mayweather, and it provided the hashtag “freetip.” That message runs counter to the possible idea you could link to it that you don’t get tipped very well when working at Agave. I’m sure that is not the case. And you don’t even have to “fight” it.
On fight night itself, there weren’t that many people checking in on the round-by-round updates on sports news channels. By contrast, there were many more people in the sports bars watching the Wild’s Swan Song on Thursday.
– Just goes to show that you can’t believe everything you hear, especially if the speaker has had a few beers. The main word that was going around the bars was that Adrian Peterson being traded was a done deal, but now after his reinstatement, his agent says the star running back should get a new long-term contract. One fixture at a local bar, who asked not to be named, said a close relative has enough of a sports background to smoosh at parties with some pretty bigtime Twin Cities power brokers, and they told him after getting loose lipped because of, again, a few drinks, that sending AP to Dallas was a done deal, and the only reason it hadn’t been officially announced prior to the NFL draft was because of holding back for strategic reasons. (The same guy turned out to be right about the end of the Minnesota career of a certain basketball player named Love). Similarly, a patron at Green Mill said a few months ago that his father knows the Peterson family, and that going to Dallas was a sure thing. The apparent lack of truth to these rumours no doubt is a big relief to a friend of mine who knows AP socially and wouldn’t want to see him go.
– A sign at Woody’s in Bayport says that “Old Style is now on draft.” Would that be the NFL Draft, much ballyhooed on sports bar TV, or a reference to what’s on tap? By the way, all I saw of the draft while at this Vikings establishment was Minnesota’s first pick (and it wasn’t a running back).

The Madness of March is here, with spring and Easter merrily mixed in, too

April 18th, 2015

On Wisconsin, this spring and its sportswear and signs were for you.
– Kozy Korner stalwart Ryan and crew were weighing whether to make a Final Four road trip to Indianapolis the other Monday, co-workers said. Maybe that could yield even more Badger jersey-based memorabilia to put on the walls at Kozy. They noted that the late starting time for the NCAA title game featuring Wisconsin might make the local turnout a bit unpredictable, and in most places it was big, however not all. As it was, the place was full by 5 p.m., even earlier than the usual rule of thumb, just over two hours, for getting a seat for such an important game. It wasn’t until late Tuesday evening that some of the workers found time to let their hair down and trek over to Dick’s for a nightcap. Even around that time, the marquee in North Hudson still made reference to “believe” and “On Wisconsin.” By midweek, the message was changed to “At least we aren’t Gopher fans.”
– Many servers at Buffalo Wild Wings were wearing, prematurely it turns out, the No. 1 on their red Badger jerseys during the title game. Since March Madness occurs in the spring, one earlier was sporting what appeared to be pink, orange and blue toned lilies in her hair.
– On Easter eve, one of the open mic singers at Dick’s Bar and Grill wore a get-up that consisted of a colorful long-sleeve plaid shirt with vest and a tie sporting small diamond shapes. Befitting spring, there were dozens of similarly looking shirts on cardboard cutouts hanging from the ceiling. The other outfit of note from Dick’s on the holiday weekend was what appeared to be Playboy Bunny-type lingerie teamed with Easter Bunny-styled fluffy finery.
– On that Sunday night, it was referenced in a tribute song request that one of the members of Lynyrd Skynyrd had been killed in a car crash. Many of us no doubt had thought something else would be the downfall of these hard partiers. A middle-aged man who was singing karaoke at Riverside’s, before it was Pier 500, had told me he’d been a roadie for them for a number of years, and that a good number of their members had livers that had started to fail, as the booze usually flowed freely backstage. In a fitting way as far as tribute, the band Smokin’ Whiskey that played Willow River Saloon on Burkhardt earlier in the weekend has perhaps more Skynyrd songs than those from any other artist on their set list.
– A petite young woman tried her shot at the boxing-power-punch game at the Smilin’ Moose, but she only hit the bag with a glancing blow. The game flashes a range of scores from one to 999, and she only scored — you guessed it — a one right on the head. When I teased her about her score, her response was unprintable; lets just say it was a one again, in the form of a thrusted single digit. A short time later on a sports TV talk show, even though it’s the offseason, a pro football player who goes by the nickname Gronk showed his caveman prowess by registering an 826.
– Just the other evening, Dick’s used a big cloth backdrop next to the bar rail in their middle room when they held a photo shoot, once again, of some of their bottled liquor brands that would be part of a promotion. No word if their were any supermodels as part of the shoot, as that might have created a bottleneck nearer the back room.
– A Hudson U-12 hockey team has won the state tournament, and the Agave Kitchen had used their marquee to each day give every individual player on the squad their 15 minutes — or maybe as the case might be, their 15 hours — of fame with a daily listing of their name and position. Makes you think this practice is much more practical than if the youth team was a football squad, with upwards of 40 people on a roster.
– A 28-year-old woman with a red Wisconsin Badger shirt revealed her true and varied sports colors recently at Dick’s. She is a Vikings fan, too, even though most others in the family are die-hard Packer Backers, as they moved here from California, with its own plethora of sports teams, to Minnesota when she was 13, and then to Hudson several years later, explaining all those differentials.
– In search of a comeback, golfer Tiger Woods has been seen on local sports bar TV saying that despite recent sub-par performances (sorry about the pun; take that either way you feel), he is ready to again be one of the Big Cats on the tour. However, I think when Tiger says that, he actually is “Lion,” or at least putting on the dog. Or could it be an April Fool’s Day prank.