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

Atkinson

Elmwood Inn • 2145 Co Rd 61  

The kind of joint where you can tell the day of the week by the food. Tacos on Tuesday, half-price burgers on Wednesday, barbecue ribs on Thursday. Friday’s a fish fry, of course. Saturday’s all about the prime rib you’ve earned by biking.

Carlton

Spirits Restaurant & Bar • 1704 Highway 210  

Ever eaten at a restaurant–bar attached to a gas station? Stop into Spirits to cross that item off your bucket list. Right off the Munger Trail, right beside Carlton Travel Center, and featuring breakfast, lunch, dinner, and off-sale liquor.

Streetcar Kitchen and Pub // Photo via Streetcar's Facebook

Streetcar Kitchen and Pub // Photo via Streetcar’s Facebook

Streetcar Kitchen and Pub • 232 Chestnut Ave  

Not so much a dive bar as a Carlton treasure, the Streetcar moved into town in 1928, when coffee cost a nickel. Its current incarnation preserves that old-time spirit with microbrews, top-shelf liquor, and scrumptious food.

Scanlon

River Inn Bar & Grill • 3212 River Gate Ave  

Though it’s a bit off the path, head up to the River Inn and ponder the mysteries of existence in the glow of neon beer lights, or feel the breeze off St. Louis River on the patio. Once you’ve rafted on the river, settle in at nearby family-run Knife Island Campground. You brought the tent, right?

Duluth

Holy garbanzo bean, you’ve really hit the dive-bar mother lode in Duluth. You might wanna spend a whole week here.

Buffalo House • 2586 Guss Rd  

Opened in 1972 and built with Buffalo Valley lumber, this joint’s right off the bike trail and comes with a full bar, banquet hall, a buffalo statue—perfect selfie material—plus three softball fields, ice skating rinks, volleyball, and horseshoes! Camp nearby once you’ve satiated your pedal hunger.

Tappa Keg Inn • 7036 Grand Ave  

This charmingly named drinkery sounds straight out of Lake Wobegon. It’s been around for more than a half-century, has spaghetti on the menu and prices that, per one TripAdvisor reviewer, are “inexpensive beyond belief.” Peek into the Lake Superior Zoo across the street!

Kom-On-Inn • 332 N 57th Ave W  

Once you’ve scaled Enger Tower and gotten a higher-up view of Duluth, relax here while ogling the Inn’s nearly 20 murals that document the city’s ‘50s-era industrial greatness.

Next Page: Duluth

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