The Hansons Get Bloodied: The 500 Club, The Golden Frog, WingDam
This is the chronicle of two men who share the same last name and penchant for putting alcohol into their tomato-based beverages. Two brothers from different mothers, who are united—not by blood—but by bloody. My name is Todd Hanson—maybe you know me from my Instagram pictures of Bloody Marys (#toddsbloody)? Maybe not. My friend and drinking companion on this quest is Justin Hanson, who is not only one heck of a guy, but also one heck of a bloody aficionado himself. Follow us around Winona and beyond as we seek out the best Bloody Marys this area has to offer and report back our findings in the greatest detail our bloody addled memories will allow—one drinking hole at a time. It’s a tough calling, but somebody’s got to do it.
The 500 Club
Location: 500 W 5th St, Winona, MN
Justin: Ed’s 500 is your typical townie bar located on the west end of Winona. The Bloody Mary they have there comes in your standard pint glass. They offer domestic taps for your chaser. I didn’t feel out of place when we walked in, which is a good sign for any townie bar. One never knows what to expect when walking in to a bar like Ed’s 500. You can either walk in and think that people want to hurt you, or nobody seems to notice you. This place was the later of the two. The bloody was made with a house mix (I never found out what was in it), and comes with a pickle, three olives, and a beef stick. The mix had a bit of a kick and wasn’t absolutely delicious but it did exceed my original expectation. It was a decent bloody with it’s own flavor and we didn’t receive any injuries from the people there or from the bloody.
Todd: This was a decent, solid bloody in a frosty pint, which is always a plus in my book. The frosted pint and mug is also a staple of many a neighborhood bar in Winona. I was pleased to see them pouring the mix from a plastic pitcher they grabbed out of a cooler, so at least you knew they had their own mix. You’ll probably get a pint glass with a Vikings or Budweiser logo on it—because this is a true townie establishment. I’ve been to this place before to get my ass kicked in Foosball because these west end regulars don’t mess around when it comes to their Foosball—definitely no spinning allowed. They’ve also got an old school jukebox that plays CDs, no digital TouchTunes bull, and it’s even got two albums by The Replacements on it. Also, they still sell smokes right at the bar.
The Golden Frog
Location: 112 N Shore Dr, Fountain City, WI
Other info: Get the Build-Your-Own Bloody Mary Bar from 8-2pm on Sundays for only $2.
Todd: I’ve always liked The Golden Frog, but I’ve only been there a handful of times. They have a cool bar and good food in my experience. It’s just right across the bridge, so not far from home. This was my first time trying the bloody there. It came in a frosty pint and we were told they often serve it in a frosty mug as well. I liked that when asked if I wanted a beer chaser with my bloody our bartender asked by saying, “Would you like a little beer wash with that?” I’ve never heard anyone call it that before. I grabbed a Spotted Cow with mine because beer drinkers know you can only get New Glarus beer in Wisconsin. Plus, it’s one of my favorites. The bloody was good, thick, and flavorful and very sparse on the food. We were handed a bottle of Tabasco in case we wanted to kick it up a little and I did.
Justin: The Golden Frog has a beautiful bar when you walk it that was pleasant on the eyes. The bartender was a kind older lady. I really liked the customer service that we received. The bar has many cool decorations. The bathrooms are even named ‘Frog’ and ‘Princess’. Now onto the bloody – it was a tad sweet, thick, and had just enough kick (we were given the hot sauce to make it how we wanted. Each bloody also came in a frosty pint glass, which I am always a fan of. The bloody was garnished with a crunchy pickle spear split in half that had a nice spicy flavor as well as two olives. We were also offered any tap for our chaser, so I chose Spotted Cow.
WingDam Saloon & Grill
Location: 1 N Shore Dr, Fountain City, WI
Justin: When we walked into the WingDam, both bartenders were very friendly. I was a big fan of the huge light up Old Style sign in the back of the bar. Next to it was what looked like a large antique American flag that was behind glass. The Bloody Mary was made with a house mix (mostly) that consisted of tomato juice, Mrs. T’s Bloody Mary Mix, horseradish, black pepper, Lawry’s Seasoned Salt, and Worcestershire Sauce. It was tangy, sweet, thick, but didn’t seem to have any spiciness to it at all. This bloody was garnished with a pickle, olive, and beef stick. The beer chaser was domestic beers that came in 7 ounce bottles – I hadn’t seen that in quite some time. I was hoping that the bloody was going to be as rare as the Old Style sign or the old American flag but that wasn’t the case. It was a good bloody and one has to always appreciate a good house mix.
Todd: It had been awhile since I’d been back to WingDam. It’s a nice place and especially nice in the summer because you’ve got the outdoor patio to enjoy your drinks and food with a great view of the river. We probably should have been out there, but we had business to attend to, you know? They’ve got their own bloody mix there and it is on the thicker side with a bit of horseradish but nothing overpowering. It was good, but you might ask them to make it spicier if you like it hot because it didn’t come spicy at all. I really enjoyed the miniature 7oz bottle beer chasers. I had a mini Miller High Life with mine.
|Check back to see our continuing bloody adventures. We’ll try to hit up a few places in each post. Also, be sure to let us know if you’ve got the lead on a must have Bloody Mary near the Winona area. If you do, you can email me and maybe you’ll see it in our next adventure. Until then—stay bloody.|
Header photo credit: Ben Steinquist