Pedals and Pull-Tabs: The dive bars of U.S. Bike Route 41

Pine City

Cricket Bar in Pine City // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

Cricket Bar in Pine City // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

Cricket Bar • 6050 MN-70  

This roadhouse has on-sale and off-sale booze—meaning you can purchase on-site and sip wherever you please, so long as it’s off the premises. Meantime, try your luck at the pull-tabs, enjoy the tiki bar, or play horseshoes with some guy named Willy. Your choice, joyful rider.

Froggy’s • 209 5th St SE  Rise and shine and welcome to Pine City. Once you’ve rambled in, belly up for chicken strips, convos with a local, and booze to make you ribbit. Stick around town ‘til Friday or Saturday night for Froggy’s weekly dance party—the hipshaking starts at 9pm.

Hinckley

Tank’s Tavern • 39109 State Hwy 48  

The walls are wood paneling, the bar is wood paneling—hell, even the ceiling is wood paneling at this no frills mom-and-pop bar and grill. But watch your language, they have a “zero tolerance for profanity.” The casino nearby in Hinckley proper might keep you busy, too.

Sandstone

Bloody mary at The Gas Light in Sandstone, Minnesota // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

Bloody mary at The Gas Light in Sandstone, Minnesota // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

The Gas Light • 306 N Main St  

Inside an old bank building (which was supposedly once a brothel), this homey bar is decked out in decorative tin tiles on the ceiling and the walls. Grab a bloody mary and hop outside for some fresh air in their backyard garden.

Rich’s Bar • 1038 Hwy 23 N  

A small town bar that lives up to its name, as it’s owned and operated by Rich himself, and his wife. Come for the jukebox, stay for the beer selection, and if you’re lucky, maybe there’ll even be a meat raffle.

Willow River

Squirrel Cage Bar, Grill & Motel • 8144 Hwy 61  

Once you’ve piled on the miles on the Willard Munger Trail, take a breather at this quintessential dive bar. Down a Coors Light and gnaw on a gigantic chicken wing while losing money on a touchscreen card game.

Sturgeon Lake

Denham Run Bar & Grill • 87439 Denham Rd  

Meat raffles, outhouse races, five-star cheeseburgers—oh my! If you’re hauling a kid along, Denham keeps ‘em busy with ping-pong, golf ball driving, darts, and pool. Start your little hustler off early.

Moose Lake

Gamper’s Food Liquor & Bowling • 4654 Co Hwy 61  

This family fun center features eight lanes of bowling, an arcade, a pool table, a fully-stocked bar, and classic American cuisine. Try the Cattleman’s Chopped Sirloin, a full pound of hand-pattied meat topped with sauteed mushrooms.

Barnum

Barnum Municipal Liquor and Bar • 3743 Front St  

Bar food’s good for your arteries, right? We hope so, because jalapeno poppers, mozzarella sticks, and onion rings are on the menu at this publicly-owned establishment. Stick around and enjoy an evening of karaoke or some live music.

Mahtowa

Rob’s Mahtowa Tavern • 2756 Co Rd 61  

This friendly tavern features 1/3-pound cheeseburgers, shrimp and chicken baskets, sriracha bites, and deep fried stuffed jalapenos. Great music has graced its indoor and outdoor stages, from Trampled by Turtles and Pert Near Sandstone, to Haley Bonar and Charlie Parr.

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