Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Exploring La Crosse Part IV: Bars aplenty October 23, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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A flight at Turtle Stack Brewery.

A flight at Turtle Stack Brewery.

LA CROSSE, WISCONSIN, HOLDS a reputation as a beer-drinking town.

Want booze with your breakfast? During Oktoberfest you could attend Kegs & Eggs, starting at 6 a.m.

Want booze with your breakfast? During Oktoberfest you could attend Kegs & Eggs, starting at 6 a.m.

 

Weeks after La Crosse's celebration of its German heritage, Oktoberfest signs are still posted.

Weeks after La Crosse’s celebration of its German heritage, Oktoberfest signs are still posted. Overhead permanent signage also directs you to bars.

The city’s annual Oktoberfest and volume of downtown bars back that up. Or just ask any college kid in La Crosse and you’ll likely get the same assessment.

I ate at Buzzard Billy's, which includes a bar, and then walked through The Starlite Lounge (a 1950s style cocktail lounge) afterward.

I ate at Buzzard Billy’s, which includes a bar, and then walked through The Starlite Lounge (a 1950s style cocktail lounge) afterward.

On a recent visit to this Mississippi River town, I spent some time downtown drinking beer (at a brewery), dining and shopping. If I was bar-hopping college age, I could have hung around into the evening and drank until bar closing time. Not that I encourage excessive drinking, but I was once young…

I believe all bars in Wisconsin are now smoke-free.

I believe all bars in Wisconsin are now smoke-free.

Digger's Sting is a retro steakhouse and cocktail bar.

Digger’s Sting is a retro steakhouse and cocktail bar.

Advertised drink specials alongside a sign that

Advertised drink specials alongside a sign that reads: Tavern League of Wisconsin…A Responsible Server.

By far the most creative bar signage.

By far the most creative bar signage.

I noticed, in particular, how La Crosse bars really try to draw patrons inside with creative signage. Take The Library, which clearly aims to attract college students via this message bannered across its awning: If Mom calls, tell her I’m at The Library! My second daughter, who attended the University of Wiscosnin, La Crosse, confirms that The Library truly looks like a library inside. She worked at the library. Not The Library. But at UW-L’s Murphy Library.

Anyone know how many places sell alcohol in downtown La Crosse?

Anyone know how many places sell alcohol in downtown La Crosse?

Should you happen to visit La Crosse, take note of all the bars. Try to count them. I wonder how many line the streets of this historic downtown.

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Check back Monday for the final post in my La Crosse series. And click here, then here and here to read my first three posts.

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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18 Responses to “Exploring La Crosse Part IV: Bars aplenty”

  1. Beth Ann Says:

    Oh I love The Library. What a fun idea for a bar and I am sure many used that line about telling their mom they were there. Not a huge beer drinker but that is a great challenge to count all of the bars. I am sure there is at least one that would suit any college student, right?

  2. Sounds like a fun little town. Love all of the old buildings.

  3. Love The Library – ha! – Cheers! Happy Weekend – Enjoy 🙂

  4. Almost Iowa Says:

    Dinkytown had a bar called The Library too. It must be a popular name for taverns in college towns. My favorite bar idea was a 3.2 joint in Saint Paul that doubled as a laundromat.

  5. Sue Ready Says:

    I hope the Chamber was alerted to your 3 part blogroll. Great job capturing the vibes of the city. Sounds like you ate well too. Your images were crisp and clear. I liked the birds in part 2 lapping up ice cream and send me to the library. Looks fun. And you are right signage was creative.

  6. treadlemusic Says:

    “Spot on” post!!! I find it a bit incongruous that our TV stations will do ‘pieces’ on the alcohol/drinking stats (how really seriously bad they are!!!!!) and this all from a station located downtown LaX!!!!!! Such events as Oktoberfest do such a wonderful job of promoting the whole drinking activity (“tapping of the golden keg”, which kicks off the Fest……) and, then, we are told of all the problems/stats that are the result and a bit of “hand wringing” as to what should be done!!! Really???? We stay clear of that part of the LaX “culture”.

  7. Jenny Kim Says:

    Very quaint little town, it has a lot of character.

    • La Crosse definitely possesses character. Interesting how you term it a “little town.” To me, it’s not “little” at more than 50,000 people. But then I suppose that depends on your perspective. To me “little” is several thousand or less.

  8. Oh, there’s a Library Bar right across the street from where my daughter lives in Dinkytown (U of M – Twin Cities). It’s not quite as inviting as the one in La Crosse!

  9. Littlesundog Says:

    FD would love the bar scene in La Crosse as he’s an expert “taster” of beers… especially the craft beers that have become quite popular in the last two decades. I would enjoy the photography aspect of this city. I love the color and character of your images! 🙂


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