Excuse me if I get a little sentimental, but as we approach five years at the pub, I am overwhelmed with fond memories and a deep appreciation for all who have made this run possible.
From the months of remodeling (joined by such wonderful people in an epic barn raising effort) to opening night with The Hobo Nephews and my good friends in Beet Root Stew to this weekend’s Block Party and the upcoming 80′s Prom, this place has been filled with the magic of an arts community coming together and finding its place between these bluffs.
I am reminded today of events such as the 2008 election with Manfort and a big screen projecting the election results, and the Beatles tribute show featuring some of the finest, most professional young people you’ll meet anywhere. Then there was grand finale of the Thumbelina, Wake Up Bedhead and We are the Branches show where Queen’s ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ was belted out by great friends sharing a truly fun moment, and of course, the wild antics of G-Biz as he rolled around in his briefs on the dirty dance floor after Joe Hastings entered the building from the street and strutted to the stage on the bar top while playing a solo in a gas mask!
I would be neglectful if I didn’t give a thanks to those who have helped out along the way and guided me through the learning process. For example: Rick Alfaro for being the best mentor and friend a guy could have, Dave Sanders for helping to organize beer related events, Dawn Schreiber perched atop the back bar painting the walls, Jim Trouten and Jamie Groth patiently explaining the art of the sound man, Mike Munson lending us his talents every Sunday night, Dr. Bob bringing his puppets, cabarets, and eclectic records down regularly, WSU Facuty and Student Jazz for tearing it up during their monthly performances, Rebecca for joining me on many gravel road trips through MN and WI taking notes as we hammered out ideas for fun parties and a more proficiently run bar, and Tom Fassbender for putting together great, great shows. I can’t begin to thank everyone, but know you are in my heart.
In addition to all the great Winonans who have lent time and talent are the great friends I’ve made from out of town who continue to support us with regular visits and performances: Charlie Parr, Nicholas Mrozinski and The Feelin’ Band, Chris Koza and Peter Sieve and Rogue Valley, Gospel Gossip, The Goondas, Bird Sounds, The F*ck Knights, Hastings 3000, Ian and Teague from the Hobo Nephews, Apollo Cobra, The People Brothers Band, Maudlin, Quillan and Kim Roe, Peter Miller with We Are The Willows and Red Fox Grey Fox. This list goes on and on and on.
The art on the walls has been an essential component of the bar’s atmosphere and aesthetic. Maggie Sather’s current paintings and photography show should not be missed. Some of the highlights for me have been Jamie Harper’s epic fall exhibitions, Matt Semke’s many shows, Billy Hessian’s iconic images, Andrew Foss’s neo-impressionistic salon stacked shows and Lyon Smith’s large scale paintings. In fact, I don’t think there has been a time when the pub hasn’t been bettered by fantastic local artists!!!
Also, I would like to mention the great festivals in Winona that the pub has been proud to collaborate with. GRSF, FRFF, MWMF and Boats and Bluegrass have made Winona the hippest little secret spot in the state. I guarantee we won’t keep that secret too long!
Last, but certainly not least, I want to thank the great staff who have worked here and the patrons that have populated the place. Aliza, Ava, Andrew, Maggie, Justin, Jenna, Dusty, Rebecca, Brandon and Paul… I couldn’t have done this without you!
So… now come on down this weekend to support the Midwest Music Festival and the pub as we celebrate with three great nights of shows including Friday’s Block Party with Charlie Parr, The Feelin’ Band, Chris Koza, Beet Root Stew, Mike Munson and Dr. Bob! This party is for YOU!!!