A tile on the floor inside Dubh Linh points the way to Dublin, warning that the journey is a long 4,657 miles. Despite that distance, locals needn’t travel at all to experience the energy of a real Irish pub. With house-brewed beers and tons of live entertainment, it’s not so hard imagine that just outside Dubh Linh’s doors lies its namesake city.
When creating the house’s beers, the brewmaster works in small batches, each of which makes about four to eight kegs’ worth of brew. To get your hands on a pint, you need only look to the wooden bar where each one resides. Spanning a variety of styles, the beers at any given time may include a citrusy double hop IPA, maple ale, a light peach radler, and a potato stout made from Idaho potatoes.
Alongside that labor of love, the kitchen plates a full menu of pub fare spiked with both Irish and local flavors. Fresh-smoked Lake Superior trout opens meals before diners move on to plates of tender corned beef and cabbage. Six unique wings platters require a choice between sauces such as Wexford buffalo and spicy garlic. Once stomachs are full, regular events keep the festivities going. Whether coming for trivia, free pool on game nights, or comedy shows, there’s something here for every taste.
Every pizza at Gruzy's Italian Beef House & Pub starts with housemade dough and sauce, but the end results hardly ever look the same. That's not only because Gruzy's culinary team crafts both Chicago-style deep-dish pizzas and crispy thin-crust pies, but also because each can be crowned with more than 15 topping selections ranging from capicola and Italian beef to mushrooms and sporty peppers. Deep-dish pans and fiery peppers aren't the only Windy City staples to appear on Gruzy's menu. Spicy giardiniera smothers sandwiches already piled high with Vienna Italian beef and sausage, and traditional fixings top classic Chicago dogs served on poppyseed buns as opposed to old Chicago Bulls stat sheets. The rest of Gruzy's menu showcases Italian and pub favorites, such as three-cheese tortellini with chicken and alfredo sauce or shrimp battered in Red Hook Ale.
Thanks to wraparound porches, shutters, and other homey touches, it's pretty easy to feel, well, at home at Romayne's Sports Bar & Grill. And people have been making themselves at home here for a while, popularizing dishes such as the foot-long Alaskan pollock sandwich and burgers fresh-pressed with beef from Chisaco Meats. The monthly rotating selection of domestic and imported beers pairs perfectly with the food, all of which can be enjoyed on Romayne's lovely outdoor patio.
distillery sits before the Aerial Lift Bridge, the gateway to the vast waters of Lake Superior. On the cusp of such a port, perhaps it's not so curious that the distillery became the cultural crossroads that it is. Founded by Norwegian descendants and rooted in their brewing traditions, Vikre specializes in the spirits of northern Europe fused with a bit of Americana.
The distiller makes its Boreal Gin, incorporating juniper, spruce, or cedar into an infusion of botanicals foraged from Minnesota's Northwoods. He also crafts aquavit, classically flavored with caraway and cardamom and enriched with a hint of sweet rye. And to celebrate its American environs, the business distills whiskeys from local grains, although those beverages are still some time from hitting shelves. They're busy aging in handcrafted Minnesotan oak barrels.
The story of Wineries and Grille in St Croix Falls began at a picturesque Wisconsin orchard. Former owners Linda and Mike Welch were busy crafting delicious apple wines from the fall’s harvest when the phone rang. "I’ve got 20 pails of ripe grapes,” the voice on the other end of the line said. “What do I do with them?" Out of the goodness of their hearts, Mike and Linda sprung into action, blending the grapes with their apples to create unique local wines. Their process evolved, as did their humble orchard, which now encompasses Wineries and Grille. Though they have since sold the orchard, they continue to produce apple and grape wines. They also market and sell wines from other local makers who have a talent for making outstanding vintages but struggle with the vagaries of marketing, sales, or convincing customers that some bottles contain genies.
Linda and Mike have a knack for tracking down Wisconsin’s best wines, partnering with producers such as Seven Hawks Vineyards to spread forward-thinking drinks. They sell new wines crafted from cold-weather hardy grapes at the University of Minnesota. They also carry national labels, such as Canyon Road from California, which is specially crafted for dining, and international labels from Spain, South Africa, and elsewhere. But even stronger than Linda and Mike's love for ambrosials is their love for St. Croix Falls and its local produce and game. Their son Greg uses these local ingredients to create hearty entrees with elk, rainbow trout, and hand-cut steaks. They pair smoked pork chops and crisp salads with bricks of homemade fudge and cheesecake, for meals that highlight the subtle flavors in their wines and leave diners yearning for more.
Inspired by their love of Germany's Rhine Valley, the Shimek family shares the joy of their days abroad with their European-style vineyard without having to hurl their fellow countrymen across the Atlantic. Chateau St. Croix Winery & Vineyard, a 55-acre plot, is complete with stables, a fishing pond, and an art gallery. The heart of the vineyard, though, is its 2.5 acres of grapes, nearly five tons of which are grown in six varieties for use in their award-winning wines. Visitors can sample Chateau St. Croix's sundry varietals and blends after a half-hour tour, pairing each sip with chocolates, cheeses, and crackers.