Best Bar for Talkin'
When it comes to ideal surroundings for having a beer and catching up, The Joynt (322 Water St., Eau Claire) is heaven. Pitchers of beer are the cheapest around (ideal for sharing), maybe there’s some smoky jazz emanating from the jukebox, and if there’s no one else to talk to, the bartenders (and the enigmatic owner for that matter) are great conversationalists. Give it a try and see why it’s won this category 11 years straight. Next up is the Lazy Monk Brewing taproom (97 W. Madison St., Eau Claire), where there’s rarely music playing and plenty of places to tuck yourself away with some pals, a local beer, and a few board games. And finally, Dive (333 Gibson St., Eau Claire) on the second floor of The Lismore Hotel is an extra-classy yet super-cozy place to grab a craft cocktail with friends and catch up. The fireplace-warmed patio is a real treat, too. – Eric Christenson