This goes back a few decades, when my son was on his way to college. We’d driven to Baileys Harbor, Wisconsin and stopped to see my uncle for a week. Early one evening the three of us and a neighbor that my son had adopted as Grandpa Garskey headed out for a couple beers at a local watering hole known as the AC-TAP. Well, my son was under-aged so it was only Coke for him. Let me try to describe the setting.
We arrived at a large parking lot, with signs proclaiming “Snow Mobile Parking” and a small building that appeared not much larger than a three car garage. We were well before the crowd, probably about 5pm so there was only one other car in the lot. Yes, it was just before college started, so the time of year was August, too warm for snow, but during the winter most of the parking lot is taken over by dozens, if not hundreds of Snow Mobiles. If I remember, my uncle said that the intersection was also known locally as BS Corners. I guess many stories were swapped here.
Once my eyes had become adjusted to the dimly lit inside I could hardly see anything, that’s because there wasn’t anything ot see. A bar in one corner, a Juke Box, the kind with real Black Vinyl disks, in another and a couple of tables. We sidled up to the bar and ordered some beers, and of course a soda. Fancy Glassware? No! I remember that the beer glasses were straight sided water tumblers, the kind that you used go get water served in a diner. There wasn’t much on the menu, the barkeeper’s wife hadn’t come in yet, we were early, I guess we only had some chips. I don’t think dip had come to this part of the country yet.
For entertainment, there were some boxes sitting in the corner in one of the rooms, and a piece of masking tape on the floor, and a blackboard to keep score on. Another apology from the barkeeper, his wife had most of the Bean Bags at home repairing them. But he did have two we could use. I did start this saying it was a few decades ago, no Video Games! I don’t remember even seeing a honest-to-goodness Pin Ball Machine. Yes, the main entertainment and competition was a rousing game of Bean Bag, now a-days I guess it would be a game of Washers, but using just cardboard boxes.
Man I’d like to go back and see if the AC-TAP still stands! If it is still there I’d probably be disappointed to see the changes. Years later when Garrison Keillor described the Side Track Tap in his tales of life in Lake Wobegon knew I’d been there.
Epilogue: After I wrote all that above, I did the smart thing, I google’d AC-TAP and to my surprise I found it. The pictures of the outside make it look bigger than I remember, but since I’m not on Facebook I can’t look inside. I’m glad to see that the place still stands (or has been rebuilt.) If you’re near there, stop in and send me you first hand comments, it may induce me to make the drive again..