Your Top Chippewa Valley Drink Picks
let our poll help you find a Bloody (Mary) good night on the town
With more than 180 bars, taverns, pubs, saloons, taprooms, and other assorted watering holes in the Chippewa Valley (find them all in our Night Out guide), locals have plenty of places to wet their whistles. Amid all of this variety, some places stand out and become winners in our annual Best of the Chippewa Valley Poll. Whether you’re looking for a perfect Bloody Mary, an astounding number of beers on tap, or mysterious (and mysteriously delicious) cocktail, let our (2014) poll voters be your guides.
Best Bloody Mary
1st Place: Milwaukee Burger Co.
2nd Place: Girolamo’s Court’n House
3rd Place: Ray’s Place
It’s simple science: the Bloody Mary is the cornerstone of any lazy Sunday hangout. It’s only proper that the grand prize for a much-contested Best Bloody Mary match goes to a restaurant which strives to be so quintessentially Wisconsin (and tops theirs with three thick-cut slices of bacon, each uniquely seasoned and a tiny slider): Milwaukee Burger Co. (2620 Clairemont Ave., Eau Claire) It’s in the name, after all. In at second place is a beloved locally owed establishment on West Grand Avenue, Girolamo’s Court’n House (113 W. Grand Ave., Eau Claire) The flavors of their standout Bloodies are more easily pronounced than their family name. And it may be on the far end of Water Street, but Ray’s Place (838 Water St., Eau Claire) has no trouble drawing in fans of its no-BS bar food favorites like the hot beef sandwich. You won’t find any bells or whistles on your Bloody, but you will find the taste is all the sophistication one drink needs.
Best Beer Selection
1st Place: The Fire House
2nd Place: The Livery
3rd Place: Milwaukee Burger Co.
Average Wisconsinites have their taste for beer rounded out to an artful degree. But there’s always room to change and discover something new. Smashing the voting competition is the local craft lover’s oasis, The Fire House (202 Gibson St., Eau Claire). Boasting an impressive cast of 40 taps that rotate weekly, the curious beer drinker can always count on finding something new. The Livery (316 Wisconsin St., Eau Claire) is a Southern-ish style comfort food staple for any given summer night. There’s nothing quite like enjoying your favorite beer with a slight breeze coming through the wide-open garage door. Fantastic cheese curds and burgers call for the right sudsy complement, and it’s no secret that Wisconsin’s own Milwaukee Burger Co. (2620 E. Clairemont Ave., Eau Claire) has a plenty-diverse selection to fill that order.
Best Specialty Drink (non-Bloody Mary)
1st Place: The Grand Illusion’s Delusion
2nd Place: The Livery’s Seasonal Mojito
3rd Place: The Livery’s Prickly Pear Margarita
The most infamous drink in Eau Claire has taken first place in this category for six years running. The Delusion at the Grand Illusion (418 Water St., Eau Claire) is a drink that’s as strong as it is colorful. The contents are a tightly kept secret and it’s a very tasty drink, but don’t let it fool you: The Delusion is one of the stiffest around, so take it slow. The Livery (316 Wisconsin St., Eau Claire) swept the other two spots on the list: The Livery’s Seasonal Mojito is a mix of rum, mint, limes, simple syrup, and a choice from a variety of flavors. If you’re more a margarita person, try the Livery’s Prickly Pear Margarita. (Several other flavors are available if cactus juice doesn’t sound good.)