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A Guide to the Notorious Bars of Alaska 

Revised Second Edition!

The Lower 48 states have created myths and legends about all things Alaskan: Things in Alaska are bigger, colder, wilder, fiercer. However, the one legend that claims Alaskan bars stand head and shoulders above bars anywhere else just might be true.


Doug Vandegraft moved to Alaska in 1983 after graduating college and found himself in the wild-west-style bar scene in Anchorage. Nearly two decades later, he officially began conducting research on the Alaskan bars he found to be unique.

A Guide to the Notorious Bars of Alaska details the rich history and atmosphere of 132 noteworthy Alaskan bars, based on Vandegraft's 14 years of research. Many of these bars have been in business since the end of prohibition in 1933 and have gained legendary repute in their communities and beyond. These bars have become integral to Alaskan culture: today, some Alaskan bars double as community centers or even churches!  Despite stricter laws regarding alcohol sale and consumption, Alaska’s bars remain notorious in many ways.

First Edition: October 2014

Epicenter Press has released the revised second edition to this

unique guidebook.  Since A Guide to the Notorious Bars of Alaska was first published in 2014, eight of the bars that were described in the first edition have closed their doors forever.  The revised second edition includes five additional bars that meet the criteria.  Also added to the second edition are regional maps, and more historic photos and advertisements.

The tone is as it should be--light and irreverant.    Made me thirsty for travel to Alaska and a good stiff drink at a dive saloon.    If I went to Alaska I'd take a copy and stop into a few places.


Randy Roberts, Distinguished Professor of History, Purdue University



A light dose of history enlivens the atmosphere of any old-time bar.  Doug Vandegraft pours the perfect


jigger to help us understand why a bar can be notorious. A toast to the author!


Patricia Roppel, Alaskan author

When visiting a good bar, Vandegraft always asks the following questions: 'How long has the bar been


here?  Has it always been in the same location?  Is the name of the bar famous for something or


someone?'  Little did he know, Vandegraft was applying the National Historic Preservation Act's 

criteria for historic evaluation!


Katherine Ringsmuth, PhD   Owner, Tundra Vision

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