The Reef Bar has really changed on the inside. There also are posh couches and booths throughout the bar and several rooms full of pool tables, darts, and various games. The Twins Bar also has undergone some great changes and continues to draw many college students and older patrons as well.
Sir Ben’s has a great outdoor area, but there is an intimate atmosphere inside that keeps people coming back. It also is a lower key venue to listen to many local musicians play acoustically. Enjoy the likes of Toby Churchill of The Alrights, folky songwriter Bill Isles, or Charity Huot and her peaceful songs. During a blizzard there is no sanctuary that feels quite as inviting and safe as Sir Ben’s.
Fitger’s Brewhouse and their beer battered fries here are addictive, and the beer brewed there is the best in Duluth. The bartenders here are excellent, but the wait for a table and service can take some patience. Charlie Parr, The Boomchucks, and many other local folkies grace the stage nearly every night of the week. Parr is a “musician’s musician” and plays the most authentic music around. The Boomchucks are a duo that is infectious in its sound and energy.
Across the hall is the bar that almost doesn’t fit in Duluth, which might be exactly what a few of you large city-based (or those who wanna-be city-based) college students in Duluth need. DJs, high booths, and dark lighting make The Red Star a can’t miss for the uptown crowd.
Some nights you might feel a bit of the Irish in you, which should send you to Carmody or Dubh Linn’s. Carmody has live music, wood benches, and is probably the more Irish of the two. Dubh Linn’s has national comics on Saturday nights in an intimate back room, a college friendly atmosphere, and they throw some great parties on the holidays.
There is a Little Black Book’s song that Mark Lindquist sings about being stuck at Mitch’s and forced to “Toughen’ Up.” You haven’t lived until you have visited Mr. D’s, but for original music Beaner’s Central is the place to go. Jason Wussow always gets the underground of the nation’s best bands and brings them up here.
Bev’s Juke Joint over in Superior has tons of character and great music too. It begins with Bev and her love of music and flows through the bar and its inviting atmosphere. Going here and patronizing a band or two should be a part of every college music lover’s weekly service project. Buy a drink, sit for a minute and hear something new or different, and just take in the ambiance of this place.
As I am running out of words I need to squeeze in Thirsty Pagan Brewing. This place is has best beer of Northern Wisconsin and deep dish pizza that will ensure your return. The pizza comes in these medal pans that sit on wine-bottle cork hotplates. The cheese and sauce are thick and delicious with a changing menu and specialty items to keep you coming back. The Fractals, Stel & Lefty, and other bands play early enough to let you enjoy music at dinner time, but you can stay late as it continues into the wee hours as well.