Tag: alcohol

Don’t Smoke Weed On The Patio: Tropical Liqueurs

The warm welcome we received at Tropical Liqueurs curiously morphed into explicit instructions not to smoke weed on the patio. Then, with a wave of his hand, the gentleman sent us inside with a cheerful, “Have fun!”

We giggled as we heard him repeat this same greeting to everyone behind us. An establishment that has to work this rule into their greeting must have had quite the problem with people smoking weed on the patio.

Ever since I heard that Tropical Liqueurs opened a store in St. Louis’ Soulard neighborhood this past August, I wanted to go. Call it curiosity, or something. An entire bar whose offerings are composed of swirling slurpee machines filled with a rainbow of house-made alcoholic concoctions; what wasn’t there to be curious about?

Most know what raspberry lemonade and a Long Island Iced Tea taste like, but the names Tiger Paw, Silver Bullet and Voodoo Brew leave one with little clues.

The hilarious and sad thing about our first Tropical Liqueurs experience was ordering our Voodoo Brew while Hootie & The Blowfish’s “Hold My Hand” blasted over the sound system and finding ourselves the oldest folks hanging out on the patio.

Getting old is weird.

IMG_8219

Voodoo Brew tastes like banana and bubblegum. We sipped and shivered outside in the cold until we could take it no more.

Tropical Liqueurs’ motto is, “Where it’s always 85 degrees and sunny” which seems to be the law of the land here. There’s really not much room to chill inside by the bar (no pun intended), so you probably need to take your drink and go. *Addition: There’s plenty of seating upstairs. Thanks @nancerdancer

The evening dipped into the 40’s, but this didn’t stop anyone from hanging out on the patio and balcony living like it was 85 degrees and sunny. Also, we couldn’t leave the patio. Not with our drink, anyway. The employee sitting at the back exit conveniently reminded people who forgot.

The next time we visit Tropical Liqueurs, we’re going to remember we can mix different flavors. A handy chart on the wall by the bar lists prices and each size’s approximate strength. For example small ($4) has 2-3 shots. We split a medium.

Just as you’re never too old for pita pizzas, Hootie, or french toast sticks, you’re also never too old to get a kick out of neon slushies.

With a little love, and some tenderness
We’ll walk upon the water
We’ll rise above this mess

The Every Bar In Mason City Quest: Mulligan’s

This past weekend, we visited Mulligan’s Bar & Grill on our third stop along our Every Bar In Mason City Quest.

Every Bar in Mason City Graphic

Mulligan’s is a bar & restaurant located on the edge of town near the bowling alley Mystic Lanes. We had spent the day running errands and worked up an appetite by dinner, so we chose a bar we knew offered a full menu. We made ourselves comfortable on stools perched along the shiny wooden bar. Jake ordered his typical tap IPA while I asked the bartender, “What cocktail do you recommend? What’s popular?” At the last bar we visited, I learned that asking a bartender for the establishment’s “quintessential drink” is totally weird, so I hoped this was a better way of phrasing the question.

She described a toasted marshmallow liquor and recommended adding it root beer or ginger ale. I replied that I was game and chose ginger ale.

butterbeer watermarked

This is not a cocktail I’d typically order, but the rule of the quest is bartender’s choice, whether it’s a sweet mashup or bitey shot. Fortunately, I found that the cocktail tasted delightfully like butterscotch. Jake is a man who prefers his bitter IPAs and even he enjoyed this drink.

I awkwardly tried to make conversation by comparing it to Harry Potter Butter Beer and was met with bewilderment. Jake gently reminded me that I am now two for two on initiating awkward conversations with bartenders as we start this quest. He feels more comfortable gracefully blending into his surroundings and I make this impossible by asking for “quintessential drinks” and talking about Butter Beer.

Life lesson: It’s not necessarily normal to weave Harry Potter lore into every day conversation; i.e. I am not normal.

Speaking of normal, ranch dressing is completely normal in North Iowa and you’ll find it served with most fried appetizers. Jake tolerates ranch, but I like it so much, I won’t publicly admit to how many foods I eat it with. “We have the best ranch,” our bartender earnestly stated. Between my salad and our jalapeno poppers appetizer, I had lots of opportunities to try it for myself.

I divide ranch dressing into two categories: Good ranch & bad ranch. Good ranch is homemade, meaning anything ranging from completely homemade to mixed from a Ranch packet, while bad ranch is that sour, pre-bottled, shelf-stable stuff. Mulligans serves good ranch.

Jalapeno wm

Between the two of us, Jake made the best entrée choice. The ground beef in his patty melt was moist and had a freshly pattied texture & our dinner salads were crisp. We have to confess that while we ate our meals, we experienced entrée envy each time a server passed by with someone else’s very delicious looking steak. Our friends later confirmed that Mulligan’s is one of their favorite places to order steak.

The dinner menu is concise and lists specials for each day. On this particular evening, we passed on the Saturday specials of prime rib and crab legs, but would return to try them on another occasion. Other daily specials that caught my eye included broasted chicken and fried fish.

In conclusion, we found a warm atmosphere, friendly bartenders, a new favorite cocktail, and good ranch at Mulligan’s. Plus, lots of TV’s to watch sporting events, which Jake appreciated.

In other exciting news, Webster City heard about how Franklin County hosted the North Iowa Bloggers for a Harvest Blogger Tour weekend this fall and invited us to join them for a day of eating, shopping & touring soon. We’re also visiting West Fork Wharf in Sheffield, another reader suggestion.

The Every Bar In Mason City Quest
Burke’s Bar & Grill
Candy Bar Nite Club
Homer’s Sports Bar & Grill
Kozy Korner
Mason City Brewing
Mulligan’s Bar & Grill (11/24/2014)
Patrick’s Bar
Ransom’s
Sidewinder Bar
Spike’s Tap & Grill
Sportsmans Lounge
VFW Post 733
Willow Run Lounge (11/01/2014)
Wise Guys Sports Pub (11/08/2014)

Restaurant/Hotel Bars
1910 Lounge
Chop Eleven
LD’s Filling Station
Loredo’s
Papa’s
Pastime Gardens
The Quarry Tapas Bar
Rib Crib
River City Bar & Grille at the Clarion Inn
Whiskey Creek
Wok ‘n Roll

Reader Suggested Bars Throughout North Iowa
Bernie’s Bar, Forest City
Elly’s Lakefront Tap, Clear Lake
Lake Time Brewery, Clear Lake
Signatures Sports Bar & Grill, Northwood
Tanks Bar & Grill, Rudd
West Fork Wharf, Sheffield

Introducing The Every Bar In Mason City Quest

Winter is coming and I want to visit every bar in Mason City. Every single bar.

I don’t care where it’s located or how divey it appears. As a new[ish] Mason City resident, I’m taking Jake on a quest to explore Mason City via interesting bars.

Sure, I’ve visited restaurant bars and fancy bars during happy hour, but the neighborhood bar is a new experience for me. I rarely consumed adult beverages in college, and when I first moved back to the Twin Cities after graduation, I lived in Uptown where friends introduced me to happy hours. We felt very Sex & the City as we vented about adventures in dating and work and recounted our latest breakthroughs during our therapy appointments over mojitos at Palomino’s and $5 pizzas at Figlio.

This year, Jake introduced me to the television show Cheers. Cheers. The bar where everyone knows your name. Not that I want to frequent a bar enough for everyone to know my name, but I want to find those places where people aren’t afraid to make friendly banter with strangers and don’t put on airs. Where there are less frills and stronger drinks. Popcorn machines are good and fried bar food is better. I want to figure out what that je ne sais quoi is that makes a Cheers bar a Cheers bar.

I found some Cheers sharing ketchup with the folks sitting next to us around the horseshoe bar at Rookie’s in Clear Lake, IA and I felt it watching the bartenders banter with customers at Joe’s Knight Hawk in Waverly, IA. After we participated in CREATE: The Community Meal, we found the vibe visiting around a high top at Billy’s Victorian Bar located in the Frogtown neighborhood.

I’ve done the crowded Stella’s rooftop thing and feel too old for places like Chino Latino. I want the Cheers experience and so I’m on this quest to experience every bar in Mason City.

Every Bar in Mason City Graphic

My drink order will be whatever the bartender recommends as that establishment’s quintessential beverage. If there’s bar food, all the better.

We began our quest last weekend at Willow Run Lounge, a little bar perched along the main drag between the Willow Inn Motel and a drive-through liquor store. A sandwich board facing the street advertises homemade tacos to curious passerbyers.

On the Saturday after Halloween, the bar was packed around 6 p.m. We sat near a group of people who were playing cribbage around a large table. The bartender was dressed like a superhero and when Jake noticed the two people ahead of him ordered a 7 and 7, he did too. Both of our cocktails were cheap and hella strong. It’s a good thing we ordered a taco because I felt like my face was melting away off a third of the way into the drink. We’re used to cocktails composed of 1/3 liquor and 2/3 seltzer at twice the price and our superhero lady bartender flipped this ratio upside down.

77 Willow Run watermarked

Don’t hesitate to order a taco. You’re not going to find anything fancy, and with drinks this strong, that’s OK. We devoured our taco which was filled with flavorful ground beef, cheese, chopped white onion, crunchy iceberg lettuce, and pickled jalapeno. A server provided big squirt bottles of sour cream and a salsa that tasted much fresher than any Tostidos stuff. The Willow Run taco reminded me of the type my parents used to make, except better.

The menu listed other food options, though I don’t remember seeing anyone else eating. The establishment accepts cash only and an ATM is located near the bar. The vibe was friendly and no one made us feel unwelcome. You could definitely say we felt a Cheers thing going on.

And the quest continues. We’ll start with dives and neighborhood bars before visiting restaurant bars, giving higher priority to non-chains and places we haven’t visited before. If we’re missing a bar or you feel we should give special consideration to a restaurant bar or bar outside of Mason City, leave a comment below or send an email.

The Every Bar In Mason City Quest
Burke’s Bar & Grill
Candy Bar Nite Club
Homer’s Sports Bar & Grill
Kozy Korner
Mason City Brewing
Mulligan’s Bar & Grill
Patrick’s Bar
Ransom’s
Sidewinder Bar
Spike’s Tap & Grill
Sportsmans Lounge
Willow Run Lounge (11/1/2014)
Wise Guys Sports Pub

Restaurant/Hotel Bars
Chop Eleven
LD’s Filling Station
Loredo’s
Papa’s
Pastime Gardens
The Quarry Tapas Bar
Rib Crib
River City Bar & Grille at the Clarion Inn
Whiskey Creek
Wok ‘n Roll

*This quest is also inspired by a similar quest our friends embarked on in Fargo and the blog 76 bars.

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