If the fishing in the Midwest is spectacular, the bar scene in the region is on another level. Few people know how to wet a line and their whistle as well as the locals do, and it shows in the type of establishments that are scattered across the region. There’s no doubt that some of the nation’s best fishing bars lie right in its center.
So if you like drinking underneath a deer mount that looks to have last been dusted just before y2k; or if you like drinking underneath a walleye mount that looks strikingly similar to the one caught by that uncle of yours, the Midwest is the place for you.
While many locals say that the best bar is the one closest to the boat ramp, here are 5 must visit juke-joints for all anglers. Older than 21, of course.
The Igloo Bar – Lake of the Woods, Minnesota
Regardless of whether or not you ice fish, this may very well be the coolest fishing bar in the nation. each winter when Lake of the Woods freezer over, the Igloo appears out on the ice as a beacon for frozen anglers. This one-of-a-kind-bar has heat, satellite television, running water, hot food, and of course drinks. The best part of the Igloo: fishing through the ice right from your barstool. The worst part: having to leave.
Angler’s Haven Resort – Hayward, Wisconsin
This aptly named bar is a favorite amongst all who visit, and the menu has enough drink options to suit any mood after a day of fishing. Pull your boat right up to the dock and drink by the water, or head inside to have a slice of one of their famous pizzas. If a relaxed lake vibe and killer decor is what you’re looking for, head to Angler’s Haven.
Outpost Bar and Grill – Deer River, Minnesota
There are certain bars you can tell you’ll love the moment you walk in the door. The Outpost just outside of Grand Rapids is one of them. With decor splattered on the wall that reminds you of an old hunting cabin, this bar feels like home for any outdoor enthusiast. Stop in for a cold one, a walleye dinner, or bring your own local catch to the Outpost and they’ll cook it up for you. Yes, it’s that kind of bar.
Rivers Edge Pub & Grub – Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
If you’re looking for a place to grab a drink while enjoying great food with the family, Rivers Edge has you covered. The inside of the pub looks like a place you could live in forever, and did we mention it has a 4,000 gallon fish tank full of local species? Sandwiched between a lake and river, anglers are drawn here like a moth to a flame.
Spike’s Keg ‘O’ Nails – Grayling, Michigan
No Midwest bar trip would be complete without a stop in the Mitten State. Sitting right in the heart of Michigan’s trout country, Spike’s Keg ‘O’ Nails has been a Michigan staple for nearly a century. Lying a stone’s throw from the famed Au Sable, it has long been a refuge for anglers and paddlers alike. Stop in for the Friday fish fry, or just relax and grab a beer at the self-proclaimed “meeting place of the North.” No matter what you’re doing in Grayling, Spike’s is a mandatory visit.
Fishing and beer. Beer and fishing. It doesn’t really matter what order falls into place for your priorities. What does matter if you are planning a day fishing in the states of Michigan, Wisconsin, or Minnesota, is that you plan time to relish your catches, releases, or ones that got away. The five bars in this post are the perfect place for those three…or just to cool off or warm up.