From the Bar: 10/1/13
It’s been a while since I’ve written a post, but it doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking of you!
As most of you know, I’ve been pretty busy getting a new restaurant off the ground and it has taken up most of my time.
But, autumn is the time the pub really comes alive and it’s fun to think about all the progress we’ve made and the future endeavors in the works.
The shows at the pub have been soaring to new heights with some of the best acts in the region paying us a visit. This summer’s Wilkie Days was a huge success and it was fun to share it with the likes of such talented folks as 4otF, Apollo Cobra, Charlie Parr and more.
Jake Ilika has been tearing the roof off on Wednesday nights and his send off party at the end of August was one to remember! 3 full bands and a solo set! Jake is one super talented dude, and we are pleased with the fact that he’ll be keeping his Wednesday gigs even though he’s moved on to bigger pastures. TC friends, check him out up there to see one of Winona’s best exports in action.
Our friend, performer and sound guru Jim Trouten will be leaving us for a month to tour with Nicholas David supporting the Avett Brothers. We couldn’t be happier for Jim, Nick and our pals in The Fellin’ Band for this exciting opportunity.
…and we have a very exciting season of shows planned too! We’ve already hosted Sex Rays, Fattenin’ Frogs, Maudlin and more, and the calendar keeps looking brighter. Farewell Milwaukee, Mark Mallman, General B and the Wiz, 757s, Porcupine and Multiple Cat, Jack Klatt, Halloween with Jaybone Bell and WSU Jazz, John Mark Nelson and We are the Willows, Corpse Reviver, Caroline Smith, Charlie Parr, The People Brothers Band and much more!
We are committed to bringing the best acts to Winona and to get better and better ourselves.
We can only do it with your help, so stop down to see us and to support our fine area musicians!
We will be hosting our 3rd Annual Hoptoberfest Beer tasting on Tuesday Oct 1st at 7:30pm. Sample 8 IPAs (all on draught) and vote for your favorite to hold the year round handle of honor at Ed’s. The first year it was Surly Furious, last year it was Summit Saga… which hoppy masterpiece will be our house IPA until next October?
Voting will continue throughout the month, when we feature multiple IPAs on draught at any given time, but the scoring sheets from the tasting will be weighted heavier.
Mike Munson continues his Sunday residency at the pub. He’ll be playing a live score to the silent classic Nosferatu on Oct 27th. Mike and Sarah Johnson, The Old Fashioneds, have begun a new monthly gig at the pub. See them on the 3rd Thursday of each month. In October they will be sharing the stage with The Hobo Nephews of Uncle Frank!
Thanks again for making the last 6 1/2 years pure magic! We look forward to seeing you soon!
From the Bar: 07/21/13
It’s been a long time since we’ve had an update here, and part of the reason is because of the Boat House, Ed’s new business venture (which I must wholeheartedly recommend, even though I have no personal investment in the place). Because of this, Ed has asked me (Brandon) to step in as his manager. In addition, you may have all noticed a few new faces behind the bar. Andrew and Paul have both left after several years of service and will be missed, but we’ve found great replacements for both of them. Ian comes to us with nearly a decade of experience running and tending at a bar in Washington, and although Jonathan has no bartending experience, he’s quickly proving to be a wonderful fit in the Ed’s family. In addition to changes behind the bar, the incredibly talented and knowledgeable Dave Sanders has recently started hosting “Beer School” on the first Tuesday of the month; Beer School is a new take on our Beer Club which will also involve food pairings, so be sure to check it out!
With that said, our 6th Annual Wilkie Days is coming to a close. The last few nights have featured Charlie Parr, Dave Arcari, The 4ontheFloor, Apollo Cobra, and plenty of other incredible local and regional acts. Tonight features Mike Munson, a duo from Horseshoes & Hand Grenades, Tanner Brethorst, and the traditional smashing of the Wilkie pinata on our back patio.
Now, the main reason for this post is giving thanks where they’re due:
First off, I’d like to thank Ed who used this weekend to prove that despite his overwhelming workload at the Boat House, he has not been neglecting us.
Every single bartender here is completely exhausted, but they managed to push through – and with very few complaints at that!
Jim Trouten, who once again busted his ass all week running sound for us. Seriously, Jim has put in as many hours here as the rest of us.
Aaron from Schott Distributing and Todd from Odell Brewing. Both guys hooked us up with the back bar and plenty of goodies, plus they volunteered their time to man the beer tent outside on Thursday and Friday nights.
Sarah Johnson (aka Ladykopp) for building this year’s Wilkie pinata, not to mention her wonderful artwork in the women’s restroom. (Men, don’t worry – there’s already talk about additional art for ours!)
Adam Wiltgen from MWMF. Adam organized the events on Wednesday night and also helped us considerably with advertising and the logistics of the weekend.
All of the amazing acts who played this week. You endured the miserable heat and put on some of the best shows I’ve ever seen.
Mostly, we couldn’t have done this without you: our tremendous and loyal customers who have done your part not just this weekend, but for the last six years, to make this bar a wonderful success. You’ve proven that you love us, and frankly we love you too!
Be sure to check out tonight’s acts and take a swing at the Wilkie!
Cheers! -Brandon, Ed, Aliza, Maggie, Sarah, Ian, and Jonathan
From the Bar: 03/10/13
I went to the bar tired last night. Having it well staffed, I thought I would drop something off for the bartenders and head back to the homestead for a little catch up on sleep. However, when I walked through the door and heard the buttery smoothness of Manfort (feat. Ladykopp) coming from the stage, and then saw my old friends up there playing and smiling and singing, I had no choice but to pour myself a beer and settle in for a bit. I stopped and talked to Jim on the sound board, Steve showed off his new duds, Cole was sleeping on the ceiling, Pat was schmoozing at his art opening, Rich was in town with his band, and familiar friendly faces were in view in all directions.
This was one of the moments when I realize that I love my job and that the bar is Good.
Yes, we have amazingly talented acts that travel from all over the region to play here. Many of these folks have become my friends as well and have captured the admiration of our customers. However, there is a happiness and a pride that swells in me when I see our hometown folks doing their thing so well and having such a great time doing it. I don’t know if the bar has become what I necessarily envisioned it to be when I opened the doors 6 years ago, but it certainly has evolved into something better and more important than anything I could’ve dreamed up alone. And as I’ve watched this evolution I understood that the best thing for me to do was to open the door, sit back and facilitate and support local artists of all sorts. Let them loose. Put trust in our talented people.
We have a great line up of festivals and events throughout the year in Winona, and we bring in lots of great artists from all around, but our local artists are the blood in the beast. They live here, work here, are our friends and neighbors, we can see them throughout the year in various venues town. They deserve all the support we can muster up. They make our town unique and vibrant.
Take Mike Munson for example. From the first time I heard him play blues guitar, I knew I wanted to give him every opportunity I could to play at the pub. I had never attempted to book a weekly artist before, but soon Mike was playing every Sunday evening. The only complaint I ever have about his sets is that they come to an end. Mike (the man and the musician) exudes quality.
And then there’s Jim Trouten. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Jim is the most clutch player in the Winona arts world. He sits behind the scene and runs flawless sound and lights all over town. He teaches kids how to play music. When he gets on stage, his shows are pitch perfect and engaging. He’s a member of the Winona Fine Arts Commission, helping to advocate for artists get them grants. When you see Jim, buy him a beer and say thanks. The guy is a stalwart member of our arts community.
Winona has been fortunate to be home base to: Robert Armstrong. Jake Ilika. Mudcat, Pat, Bruce and the open mic crew. XArt. My Private Eye. Beet Root Stew. WSU Jazz. The Ultrasounds. Riflebird. Jaybone Bell and Restless Light. Wake Up Bedhead. Boats Vs. Manatees. Thumbelina and The Tangerine Fists of Justice. Moondawg. Deep Sea Summit. Oktober. The Bus Boys. The Beef Slough Boys. Dan and Dusty. Northwoods Band. Schwa. WEDGE. Paco. Fat Rudy. Funk Stew. Fast Annie. North Country Band. Etc. Etc. Etc. There have been more great local acts than I can remember that have taken the stage at the bar over the years, and beyond that, the bar is only small component of a long and rich tradition of Winona’s live music and arts culture, which is always bulging at the seams. Honestly, it is a huge reason why I’ve moved back here, not once but twice. It is a big part of why I make Winona my home.
As many of you probably already know. The bar’s remodel is for the most part finished and we have had the new room open for a few weeks. Come on down to check it out. We can certainly use all the support we can get after this huge and expensive project.
We have been getting some stellar beers in as of late. It’s amazing that when I opened the bar, my choice of IPAs to pour on draught was about 3. Now there are dozens. Last night, I couldn’t decide what to pour for myself, it was all so good: Victory Headwaters Pale, Surly Cynic, Summit Saga, Summit Maibock, Deschutes Obsidian Stout, Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye, New Belgium Fat Tire. We’ll also be tapping a Lucid IPA, Odell’s very rare Schott Through the Heart, Pyramid Apricot Ale, New Belgium’s Hoppy Bock and more in the upcoming weeks. (I’m also trying to lock down a firkin of Saga… shhhh…)
Although this post was about local artists, I can’t help but show some love to all the people who have come through recently and are coming through in the next few weeks. 4 on the Floor, Rogue Valley, North Country Bandits, Circle of Heat, Head for the Hills, Good Night Gold Dust, The Farewell Circuit, it was great to see you all. Prissy Clerks, Gospel Gossip, Porcupine, Greg Hall and the Neil Young folks, Tom Robinson, The Sex Rays, we look forward to your visit!