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Best Bar in Alaska

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First, thanks to Tom May of Eagle River, Alaska.  Donations are what keeps Bourne’s Blog alive, and allows me to make it better.  I’m sincerely grateful.

*****

Hockey players, like most athletes (check that, most humans), like to drink occassionally.  After the game, there’s no better time to sit down, decompress, and have a beer.  After your “nutrition window” has passed (no later than 20 – 30 minutes after you stop exercising, eat/drink something with a 4:1 carb to protein ratio to help your muscles recover the fastest… interestingly, chocolate milk is almost the perfect answer), a beer or two is actually not bad for you.

Especially after the game, when the impossi-sleep phenomenon happens.  Chalk it up to adrenalin, or just the general alertness it takes to play a game as fast as hockey, but most guys have a zero percent chance of falling asleep soon after a game.  Sometimes you play the next day, maybe an afternoon game, and there’s just no hope. So a few beer helps.

Now that I’m done justifying alcoholism, let’s talk bars.

Of all the fancy spots and dive joints I’ve set foot in post-game, no place comes anywhere near one place:

F STREET STATION, ANCHORAGE, ALASKA.

(Yes, the store on the corner is called Once In A Blue Moose)

(Yes, the store on the corner is called Once In A Blue Moose)

Originally a pilots bar, it’s now the meeting place of the two major hockey teams in Alaska, the ECHL’s Aces and the WCHA’s Seawolves.

A smallish, well-lit bar, F Street (see also: ”Effer” or “The Streeter“) has a few unique, endearing qualities:

1) The Food – Anchorage, in general, has some really great seafood.  F Street combines this with the best qualities of pub food, for the most amazing halibut sandwiches and calimari in North America (of course, this is all personal opinion.  But it’s a blog, so fuck, you knew that).  Oh, and great fries.  And soups.  And burgers.  And… And…

2) The Drinks – Everything out of Mason Jars (excluding wine – but shots, mix drinks, beer, everything), and poured liberally.  Though Alaskan pricing is a complete hose-job (no drink specials allowed in the state), they tend to overlook a couple beverages on the bills of regulars.  Hence, they’re regulars.

Andi

Andi

3) The Staff – I’m not certain that everyone is still there, but I think they are.  They tracked down about five of the only six normal girls in the state, and hired them (commence with the hate mail).  Andi is the ring-leader, while Jill, Tiffany, Angela, Kim and the rest of girls are great too.  Oh, and they’re girls.  And it’s Alaska.  So [A] plus [B] eqauls [it's busy in there]. (Does Cartwright date Audrey now?  Did I hear that rumour somewhere, Alaskan friends?).  Also, I wanna say it’s Carlos that works the grill there.  He rules.

4) The Candy Jars - There’s probably three or four littered around the place – huge glass jars packed with candy, from mini-chocolate bars, to mints, caramels, candies, whatever.  And you just help yourself.  Not sure how many drunk nights you’d see a table of college kids eat like, half a jar, but it happens.  And they don’t care.

5) The Block of Cheese – sitting under the “for display only” sign (for health inspector reasons, I assume), is a HUGE block of cheese under saran wrap, with one of those cheese peeler draggy things.  And a tub of saltines, in packs.  And you grab a napkin, peel slabs of fresh cheese off, grab some crackers, and call it an appetizer.  It’s amazing.

6) The Bell – Ring the bell if you want to buy the house a round (before editing, that said “buy a roundhouse”.  I wonder if Chuck Norris serves them…).  Or, you can trick your first-timer buddy to walk in and ring the bell.  The regulars will lift their heads off the bar and cheer, I promise.  Actually, and more accurately, the bell is used by some guy who, wasted, rings the bell and runs out, thus disappointing a whole fleet of fellow boozebagians.

There’s a million little nuanced reasons to love the bar – all I know is any bar that’s fun at noon-on-Tuesday or midnight-on-Saturday is doin’ something right.  Nice decor too.  Copper roof.

Our team was fortunate enough to go out in nearly every city to which we ventured in college, and there’s still nothing like F-Street {Tangent brackets:  I vaguely recall two underage current NHL Gophers getting “shots on the house” post-game in Alaska – about 50% food colouring.  It was embarrassing hilarious unfortunate.}

Here’s some “honorary mention” names that come to mind from the road in college… thanks for showing me a good time. (I’d love a review of these places from locals):  Hooligans in Mankato (or South Street Saloon), Brothers (or Sallys) in Minneapolis, The Red Carpet in St. Cloud, The Downtowner in Michigan, Judy’s in North Dakota, that bar in Denver where Tom May poured an entire pitcher down his throat (not the Tom May that donated to the blog), and State Street Brats in Madison, Wisconsin.

 And last, a piece of F-Street (like I said, once a pilots bar) that’s permanently engrained in my memory, just above the urinal.  Ohhh, college.  Sighhh….

F Street Sign

Thanks for the pics Frank.

Comments

20 Responses to “Best Bar in Alaska”
  1. St. Cloud Gopher says:

    Red Carpet in St. Cloud…
    Um, no. Maybe as a hockey player, it is a different place. Check that, I know it is. That said, if the Carpet was closed tomorrow, I ‘m not sure many would care.
    For a better bar/food/people experience, head to Howies.
    The Carpet would be awesome if you were always 19, always in the mood for drama, always ready to help your buddy fight the group of 7 wasted frat boys or always ready for a bouncer to get pissed off and start the fight himself.
    Others on the list: Hooligans, yes. Brothers, hell yes. State Street Brats. Not sure, but I’d take all of Madison. In fact, I think Madison is the coolest place nobody will ever see.
    If it was located on the eastern side of Sconnie, all of the Twin Cities would be there. If it was more southernly, all of Chicago would make the trip. The only thing holding it back is Badger/Packer fans. They are passionate, but, man, I have never in my life seen so many people have such a disproportionate view of their state and teams. (Check that, I would throw Grand Forks up there right with ‘em. And Gopher hockey fans. We still talk about Potulny’s ’02 winner like it was yesterday.)

  2. jtbourne says:

    Haha, yeah, we had cups and a free keg behind the bar – I know it’s not the best, but it showed me the best time.

    And you couldnt be more right about Madison. I’m obssessed with it. I was there on Halloween one year… with an 11 o’clock curfew. It’s like taking starving kids to a buffet and saying “help yourself to one appetizer, then back in the car”.

  3. Josh says:

    Ooof… Judy’s was pretty brutal, Justin. As far as I could tell, the few times I went, it was always just hockey players, jersey chasers, and some very rough-looking locals. I guess if I was a hockey player I wouldn’t mind the low lying fruit and terrible, almost creepy atmosphere. Generally, the equation for finding a good bar in Grand Forks was lots of students, no locals (ever have to deal with an annoyed drunk 50 year old from North Dakota?), and no Basers (liked to get tanked, start fights, and pursue any girl in the bar) — which eliminated all about two or three bars.

  4. jtbourne says:

    Oh, Judy’s absolutely sucked. 100%. We hotel drank there, that was just the one place we went out – I mentioned it cause I thought some locals would have some underage Fighting Sioux drinking scandal stories for me. If not, I just knocked over a huge jar of beans…

  5. derek_com says:

    the not being able to sleep after games is by far the worst part of hockey. i still suffer from it playing rec. but yes, beer does help.

  6. Josh says:

    http://www.uscho.com/news/college-hockey/id,13656/BinaToFaceChargeInTavernIncident.html

    Epic.

    You didn’t reveal anything that wasn’t known by the entire UND student population. It was one of the worst kept secrets of all time that the entire team would go to Judy’s and get tanked, from seniors to freshmen. It was initially a smart idea I guess, instead of going downtown, just go to a townie bar, Judy’s. A lot of those guys had a hard time being civil after a few drinks.

    One summer, my buddy and I were walking home to the fraternity house at 3 or 4AM. We see this tall, huge guy approaching us with what looks to be a large bottle of liquor in his hand. Who is it? A shirtless Joe Finley taking pulls from his 1.75L bottle of Jack. My friend, who said he knew him, asked him what was up. He stops. Looks at my friend. Looks at me. And promptly sprints away — maybe we looked like we were undercover.

    You can’t spell North Dakota without Drinking Problem.

  7. Beer:30 says:

    There are more than 5 or 6 normal girls in state. They just avoid hockey players ………….

    ……. I’m going to go hide in an electronic corner now.

  8. jtbourne says:

    Haha, I love the e-corner comment.

    Let me clarify… I meant that there’s no “attractive AND normal” girls. …Now I’m a dick, right? Meh. Not the first time… Feels good to be back!

  9. The Calamari at F Street is simply amazing. It ruins Calamari at any other joint. I actually feel a little guilty eating Calamari after learning that some Squid species may be as smart as dogs (which means they’re smarter than cats).

  10. airborne moose says:

    Justin,
    great blog. Its fun to read your experiences in the hockey world.
    Keep it up.

  11. garett says:

    F Street is amazing! nothing beats the block of cheese..i always had way to much of it..but the best f street memory is def Andi getting Mr Rycroft on the old purple mouth trick and him not knowing it for a good 10 mins..priceless!!! haha

    And what about a special shoutout to Mac & Charlies and Suds in Boise, ID..many great memories and stories from those 2 gems..Go Jake

  12. jtbourne says:

    Hilarious. I feel like an ass for leaving it out, but I was just doing college bars.

    Shout out to Mac and Charlies in Boise, Idaho. That place is badass… especially Jake. Free blasters all around!

  13. jtbourne says:

    I should do a “bars week”, hey? I just thought of about nine more worthy of mention. Or a bar book. Or I should just go get drunk. Yeah… yeah that was the right “or”.

  14. JD says:

    Bars week would be an ideal read.

  15. Sioux in the Cities says:

    Speaking of bars in WCHA towns, some buddies and I are traveling up to Duluth to see our beloved Fight Sioux next weekend. Anyone have suggestions as to some good Duluth bars?

  16. Sioux in the Cities says:

    Speaking of bars in WCHA towns, some buddies and I are traveling up to Duluth to see our beloved Fighting Sioux next weekend. Anyone have suggestions as to some good Duluth bars?

  17. Jake says:

    Blasters? What are those? They sound delicious though. I hear there are a few beautiful babies running around Boise. They all have a best friend named Chris Brander too. He’s neat. Keep it real J.B. and keep knawing Bemmer.
    jl

  18. andi says:

    F St may be the best bar in Anchorage but it’s missing some of it’s best sunday night crews. When are you going to come up and visit and not end up in the hospital? Audrey and Cartwheel are no longer together but he did turn her on to hockey players. We miss you at F St and the Alaskan girls still are hourney for Bourney.

  19. Will77 says:

    Have a frequent place for any of your visits to the Island JT?

  20. Justin says:

    Hey Justin,

    Just found your blog by way of Islanders Point Blank and have spent the last few hours reading all the posts. Your writing is excellent and pretty damn funny. This post is great, as I’m a huge Islanders fan, but also an international airline pilot that happens to pass through Anchorage at least twice a month. I can attest that yes it is a still a pilot hangout as well! Keep up the great work!

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