Gone, but forever notorious:

Bars of Southcentral Alaska

 

ANCHORAGE

Authors note: Over 100 Anchorage bars have come and gone since 1933.  The following bars are among the most famous.

 

        Ambassador: Sixth Avenue & C Street (541 C), 1937 – 1951.  The first modern nightclub in town.  A full orchestra was

          featured here as well as vaudeville acts.

 

        Billik Inn: 6241 DeBarr Road, 1955 – 2006.  Neighborhood bar with lots of Billikens.

 

        Blues Central at Chefs Inn: 825 West Northern Lights Boulevard, 1964 - 2014.  A great place to enjoy live music in an

         intimate setting.

        Canteen: Fourth Avenue & C Street (247 Fourth), 1940 – 1951.  Buses dropped the soldiers off right in front of this

         bar during the WWII years.

        Carousel: 3206 Spenard Road, 1967 - 2016.  Included in the first edition of Notorious Bars of Alaska.

 

        Club 25: 410 I Street, 1948 – 1983.  Began as a bar for women only; became a restaurant / bar boasting designer cocktails.  

         The Wendler Building was moved from the corner of Fourth and I Street to the corner of Fourth and D Street in 1984.                 

 

        515 Club: 515 Fourth Avenue, 1945 – 2011.

 

        Fly By Night Club:  4811 Spenard Road, 1980 - 1984.  3300 Spenard Road, 1984 - 2006.  Owned by Mr. Whitekeys and home

        of such hilarious live shows such as the Whale Fat Follies and Christmas in Spenard.

 

        Hunter Bar: Fourth Avenue & C Street, 1934 - 1971.  Owned by Louis Blum.

 

        Idle Hour Country Club: Lake Spenard, 1940 – 1956.  Speakeasy that became a nightclub.  The original log structure burned

         down in 1952 and the second building burned in 1956.

 

        Last Chance: Fourth Avenue & Post Road, 1954 – 1964.  The first bar in town that booked professional strippers from the

         Lower 48. 

 

        Lido Gardens / Aleutian Gardens: 335 B Street, 1941 – 1954

 

        Monkey Wharf: Sixth Avenue & C Street, 1976 – 1987.  Noted for the huge glass enclosure behind the bar that contained

         a dozen or so small monkeys.

 

        PJ’s: 3608 Spenard Road, 1969 – 2012.  “Papa Joe’s” was a discotheque which became a strip bar; located on Deadman’s       

          Curve.  Female bodybuilder “Pillow” was a dancer here.

 

        Scandinavian: 238 Fourth Ave, 1950 – 1984.  Destroyed by the 1964 earthquake and rebuilt.  Author Ronald Johnson in

         his book Out of the North tells a story about an encounter in the bar between a big Swedish logger and a female

         Finnish accordion player.  The logger decked the musician after she refused to play a Swedish waltz.  Seven bouncers

         fought with the logger before allowing him back into the bar, where he calmly asked again to hear the waltz, which she

         played.

 

        Sourdough Bar: 311 Fourth Avenue and 519 C Street, 1934 - 1982

 

        South Seas: Fourth Avenue & G Street (707 Fourth), 1942 – 1950.  Featured lavish tropical decorations and drinks.  Alaska

         Governor Walter Hickel once worked as a bouncer and bartender here.

 

        Spenard Cocktail Lounge / Spenard Bar: 3103 Spenard Road, 1951 – 1989.

 

         The Pines: Lake Otis Parkway & Tudor Road (2421 East Tudor), 1962 – 1993.  Began as a rock & roll bar and became a                                      Country/Western institution with line dance lessons on weekday nights and always a packed house on the weekends.

 

        Union Club: 338 Fourth Avenue, 1941 – 1984.  Now the Avenue Bar.

        Whaler: 171 Muldoon Road, 1979 - 2014.  Included in the first edition of Notorious Bars of Alaska.

 

BIG LAKE

        Call of the Wild: 1956 – 2002.  Popular with boaters and water skiers. 

 

        Ship Ahoy: 1955 – 1999

 

CHITINA

        Chitina Bar / Chitina Saloon: 1955 – 2001.  Known as the “Ghost Town Bar.”

 

COPPER CENTER

        Copper Center Bar: Mile 101 Old Richardson Highway, 1936 – 1996. 

 

CORDOVA

        The Club / Club Bar: First Street, 1934 – 1998.  Began as a pool hall and card room; ads boasted that it had the longest

         bar in Alaska.

 

        Imperial: First Street, 1934 - 1964.  Owned by Bob "Kernel" Korn.  The city swimming pool is named for him.

 

 

GIRDWOOD

        Little Dipper: 1939 – 1964.  For many years the community center of Girdwood.  Destroyed by fire.

 

HOMER

        Yah-Sure Club: 1946 – 1984.  First bar built in Homer.  Destroyed by fire.

 

 

INDIAN

        Bird House: Mile 100.7 Seward Highway, 1963 – 1996.  Log cabin built in 1903 on boggy ground which caused the floor to

         slope.  Truly a unique dive bar where the walls were literally covered with business cards, dollar bills and undergarments. 

         Destroyed by fire.  Visit the replica at Chilkoot Charlie’s in Anchorage.

 

        Bore Tide: Mile 103 Seward Highway, 1974 – 1986.  Home of bartender Cecilia "Ceil" Braund, whose huge breasts

         (14+ pounds each, insured by Lloyd’s of London) were matched only by her sense of humor. 

 

KENAI

        Casino: 1967 – 2003.  Re-opened 2012.  Now a pizza restaurant.

 

        Eadie’s Last Frontier / Frontier Club: Mile 3.5 North Road, 1952 – 1999.  Eadie Sutton was known for her beauty, her dancing,

         and her hospitality.  Her Frontier Club was famous for its topless dancers who were featured at a “floor show” every

         Saturday night. 

 

         Larry’s Club: North Road, 1965 – 1996.  Owned by Larry Lancashire, this was a very popular country western bar and

           restaurant during the oil boom years.

 

         The Rig: 1959 - 1987.  Owned by Billy McCann and Wayne Sterling.  True to its name, this bar was popular with the oil 

          industry crowd.  Also served as a restaurant and liquor store. 

 

McCARTHY

        The Golden

 

MOOSE PASS

        Jockey Club (Trail Lake Lodge), 1948 - 1980

           

NIKISKI

        Bishop Creek Bar: Mile 35 North Kenai Road, 1964 - 2005

 

PALMER

        Del Rois: Mile 39.5 Old Palmer Highway, 1958 - 2016.  Included in the first edition of Notorious Bars of Alaska.

        Frontier Bar: 1945 – 1977.  Renamed the Frontier Restaurant.

PAXSON

        Paxson Inn and Lodge: Mile 185 Richardson Highway, 1941 - 2013.  Included in the first editon of Notorious Bars of Alaska.

PETERSVILLE

         The Roadhouse / Forks Roadhouse: Mile 23.5 Petersville Road, 1954 – 2012.  Built in the early 1930’s, popular with

          hunters and snowmobilers.  Destroyed by fire in 2012.  Rebuilt and opened for business in 2017.

 

SELDOVIA

        Joe Hill / Polar Bar: 1934 – 1970.  Joe Hill, a black man, built a dance hall in the 1920’s, adding a tavern when prohibition

         ended.  The multifaceted hall burned down in 1940, prompting Joe to open the Polar Bar.

 

SEWARD

        Northern: 1904 – 1917 and 1933 – 1964

 

        Palace: 133 Fourth Avenue, 1904 – 1917 and 1933 – 1985

 

        Pioneer: Fifth Avenue and Washington, 1905 – 1917 and 1934 – 1983.

 

        Seward:

 

        Solly’s: 406 Washington, 1956 - 1980

 

SLANA

        Duffy’s Tavern / Roadhouse: 1947 – 2005.  Don & Zabel Duffy established a roadhouse here.  Bar and café became

         community hub of Slana homesteaders.  See the book The Last Settler’s by Jennifer Brice.

   

SOLDOTNA

        Bear Den: 1953 – 1986.  Owned by Chell O. & Maxine Bear.  One of the first bars in Soldotna and popular with bachelors

         looking for company.

 

STERLING

        Millie’s Moose River Inn: adjacent to the Moose River bridge on the Sterling Highway, 1981 – 2004.  Mildred “Millie” Hirth

         bought the Moose River Bar which was here in 1956.  Popular with hunters, fishermen, and river rafters. 

 

VALDEZ

        Canteen: 1942 - 1964

 

        Club Valdez: 1950 - 2009.  Rebuilt after the 1964 earthquake, this Valdez bar was very popular with men working on the

         pipeline.  It was here that Capt. Joseph Hazelwood had his last drink before boarding the Exxon Valdez and then spilling 10

         million gallons of crude oil into Prince William Sound.

 

        The Acres: Mile 1, Mineral Creek Road, 1956 – 2002.  Wild and crazy place during the pipeline days.

 

        The Pinzon: 1934 – 1988.  This “House of Recreation” boasted billiards, pool and card tables, and booths for the ladies. 

         Became just a liquor store in 1980.  See The Pinzon exhibit at the Valdez Museum.

        The Pipeline Club: 1969 - 2015.  This bar opened shortly after Valdez was chosen as the terminus for the Alaska Pipeline. 

         Captain Joseph Hazelwood had drinks here the afternoon before the Exxon Valdez ran aground on Bligh Reef.

 

WASILLA

        Wasilla Cocktail Lounge / Wasilla Bar, Mile 43 Parks Highway,   1947 - 2004.  Owned by Ray Bergman and Roy Morrison, and

         later John and Jean Polis.  Popular valley bar that catered to young and old.

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