Jerry and I get together with a group of friends in Hayward, WI every Thanksgiving weekend. One of the activities is bar hopping; the biggest reason why it’s an adults-only time. Me, since I don’t drink, I get to be sober cab, listen to increasingly-taller tales told by our group, and admire the taxidermy at the local establishments. Here’s a listing of some of our regular stops.
Angler’s Bar and Grill
Friendly and often crowded. Split down the center with a long wall, The Angler boasts of a bowling alley in one room, the bar and grill in another. TVs of various sizes and types dot the wall between displays of large fish, trophy bucks, a moose and a bear. Today, the TVs are all showing college football. Along the back wall of the bar are dioramas of birds – snowy owls, pheasant, ruffed grouse – the expected racks of hard liquor, and a collection of bumper stickers (“4 out of 3 people have trouble with fractions,” “A fool and his money are soon elected,” “I don’t suffer from insanity – I enjoy every minute of it.”). The food is decent, the prices are reasonable, and the servers are cheerful – even when tactfully arranging seating for people who don’t see the “Please Wait to be Seated” sign.
One of my favorites. The outer walls are edge-to-edge dioramas of trophy fish, natural curiosities like albino deer or fetal fawns (taken from a road-killed doe), and displays of beautiful, if not native, birds – the Silver Pheasant, Golden Pheasant, Ring-neck Pheasant – plus local raptors like the Rough-legged Hawk, and Snowy and Saw-whet Owls, and Golden Eagles.
The Moccasin boasts of residing in the oldest building in Hayward, building in 1875 as the office for the North Wisconsin Lumber Company. The building changed hands five times, becoming the Moccasin Bar in 1946.
Our bartender is a short older lady named Mo, well-known and evidently well-liked by the locals. She moves up and down the bar, filling drinks, selling pulltabs, washing glasses. She still has time for questions, though, and tells me the birds in the large diorama with the albino deer are both golden eagles, and that the thirteen-stripe gopher diorama has been featured on Jeopardy and in Trivial Pursuit.
Check them out on their Facebook page – it’s unofficial, but you can see what everyone else is saying!
The Wildlife Bar
The Wildlife is generally fairly dark, with red lights illuminating the glasses and ice reservoirs in the horseshoe-shaped bar area. Adjacent is a room with two pool tables and more stools and tables. A semi-closed nook holds the dart board – no doubt to shield players from the unaware walking through their airspace, generally right as a dart is flying toward the target. This Saturday the TV shows the Penn State-Badgers game, and a collection of steins featuring the Green Bay Packers rings a lintel above the bar. Our bartender Jerry is a humorous, good-natured fellow, full of local anecdotes and able to carry on conversation no matter how wide-ranging the subject.
Once upon a time, the bulk of the floor space in the Wildlife Bar was dedicated to the Wildlife Museum; a collection of unique and accomplished taxidermy. Underwater scenes featured various species of fish – muskellunge, tiger muskie, northern, walleye, bass and perch; in the “sands” of the display cases were crayfish, clams, snails. The “trail” through the museum showed beaver, Canadian Geese, Trumpeter Swans, badgers, wolverine, squirrels. Moving further along, a mountain lion and antelope are locked in combat in a desert scene – the 1992 second place winner in the National Taxidermy Championship. One case is solely for albino animals – deer, raccoon, squirrel, and peacock. And exiting the museum were the cases for songbirds; next to them, one of the prizes of the collection, was a passenger pigeon. in 2013 I learned that the bar is for sale and all the displays had been gathered up and donated to a museum in Cable.
Probably not a surprise, they don’t seem to have either a website or a Facebook page.