>North Pole Bar, Duluth, MN

I’m not sure how we found this bar. It’s not an area we are ever in. It’s not on or near any major road. I sometimes think my husband has a seventh sense when it comes to finding these out of the way places. We don’t come here often but I’m not sure why we keep going back. There’s nothing special about the bar. The size of the interior is average to small. The actual bar is tiny compared to most that we’ve seen. But…

The drinks are pretty decent and this last time we were there, were pretty darn cheap. He paid $6.25 for Smirnoff and CC and they were pretty decent pours. Or at least mine was. They did have a bloody Mary bar but it kinda looked icky. I guess ‘messy’ is more the right word. Like it got stampeded and no one bothered to clean it up or replenish anything.


I hesitate to use the word ‘quaint’ but that’s kind of what it is. It’s definitely has a neighborhood bar feel to it. There’s a picture of the original owner hanging over all the bottles of booze. But as the bartender was more interested in talking to his friends/regulars at the end of the bar that’s all I was able to find out. 

There’s a restaurant right next to the bar. I would guess from the sign above that they’re owned by the same person (or were) but I’ve never seen the restaurant open. Which is a shame because it looks exactly like the kind of greasy spoon place we’d love. And we’re always looking for somewhere new to have breakfast in the Twin Ports.   


One sort of odd thing, or so my man tells me…they have Grain Belt on tap. I know nothing of beer but he assures me that this is quite rare.


>Tom and Jerry’s: Chisholm, MN


Despite the rather faded sign, the interior of Tom and Jerry’s is surprisingly new. Unlike a lot of bars it’s actually pretty bright inside. It’s a huge area filled with lots tables. It has one of the longest bars I’ve seen (which isn’t saying too much so don’t get that excited). It’s also has a pretty wood top. But there are never any people in it. Granted, we’re usually in there during the day but even so I expect a few more people to be hanging out at the bar. But other than the bartender there’s usually only one guy sitting at the end of the bar. And for some reason they’re watching Food Network. I know, right! What are guys doing watching Food Network in a bar? But it seems to be a pretty prevalent thing in this neck of the woods. While I love the change from the normal ESPN or what have you, I also find it very amusing. 

The bartender has been pretty friendly whenever we’ve gone in. Even if we have to raise our voices so he can here us from the other end of the bar. I don’t remember if we’ve had the same guy but if not they’re hiring the right people. At least for the day shift.

The drinks are not bad. You know you’re getting some booze in there without it being obnoxious. This is one place we tend to break our ‘One & Run’ rule and change it to ‘Two & um…leave’.

>Tommy’s: Chisholm, MN


Tommy’s is dark when you walk in. The regulars are huddled at the far end of the bar just bullshitting about whatever. One of them even showed off his new power tool. The bartender was was nice enough. She managed to split her time between talking to the regulars and giving us the scoop on the history of the place. Turns out this bar used to be on the corner. Something about a bank buying them out and they moved a few places up the block to the current location. She even pointed out a picture that was hanging on the wall from the early 1900’s. The bar was on the corner and there was some sort of parade going on with some horses. It was cool to see that.

The pour was actually pretty decent. It wasn’t too strong or too weak. This is something that’s actually kind of rare. Most bartenders seem to go in one direction or the other.

The decor is kind of a rustic/vintage thing. There were some stuffed animals around the place and the rest of the bar is anything but modern. Which isn’t a bad thing. It works quite well here. It’s almost like taking a step back in time.

>Amy’s Bar: Gilbert, MN


Amy’s is one of several bars in downtown Gilbert. However, it’s the only we visited this time around because at least one of our party was being a puss.  It’s another one of those places with dollar bills all over the walls.  It has a nice old wood bar.  The only food it has is pizza.  I really wanted to check out the bathroom but there was a huge wedding party that was filling most of the bar and I didn’t feel like trying to navigate my way through the mess of people.  And man!  They were loud.  They were all screaming about something at one point.  But that’s got nothing to do with the bar itself… The pour wasn’t actually bad but they served our drinks in plastic cups.  Blech!  I’m not sure if we got plastic because we weren’t regulars or if there was something else going on but I noticed that other people were getting normal glasses. Whatever…one & run, baby!  Amy’s is a cute little bar that doesn’t really have anything that makes it stand out but it’s a place we seem to find ourselves at time & time again.

>Sawmill: Virginia, MN


The Sawmill is sort of on the outskirts of Virginia.  We generally drive by it when we’re returning from a trip to the range.  It’s a huge bar outfitted to look sort of like a sawmill (go figure).  It’s a pretty loud bar.  They usually have the music turned up and the high ceilings don’t help any.  Being the quiet person I am I usually have to repeat my order at least two or three times before the bartender can hear me.  The pours are pretty corporate.  I don’t think we’ve been overly impressed once.  And yet we keep going back… The bartender was pretty social with everyone except us.  She poured the wrong drink for my husband and it took quite a few minutes before we could flag her down to get it corrected.

This time we ordered food because the other two in our party were hungry.  They ordered the pulled pork sandwich and my husband & I split an order of nachos.  The guys said the sandwiches were ok but nothing to write home about.  Our nachos were pretty craptacular.  The meat was just ground beef with no seasoning. There was a pitiful amount of cheese and the rest of the toppings didn’t make up for these two inadequacies. For nine bucks, we were expecting more than we got.  All of us were in agreement that the food was way overpriced.  So while we may stop back for cocktails we won’t be ordering food again.

>Mr. Nick’s: Hibbing, MN


Mr. Nick’s is where the people in Tuffy’s told us to go.  It’s several blocks down the street on a corner.  Walking in I was struck by how big it actually is.  We went in what I thought was a back door but it’s really more of a mid- door.  To our right was some gaming tables; not sure if they were pool or what.  To our left was the actual bar. Which is pretty decent sized on it’s own. It’s all wood, the paneling and the ceiling has those exposed beam things.  It’s all painted a very dark brown but it’s surprisingly bright in there.  It was busy so it’s a fairly popular place.  They don’t serve food, just pizza.  But they do have free popcorn!  Good stuff…  The pours were ok to crappy.  My first drink was decent enough but the second one might as well have been just cranberry juice. There were a bunch of NASCAR photos on the walls so I guess that’s the sport of choice there.  All in all it’s a pretty decent bar. We talked to the owner briefly and he was pretty friendly. i think it’s a safe bet that we’d go back the next time we find ourselves in Hibbing.