Friday, April 8, 2011

#164: The Wooden Shoe

A special guest post from someone who's seen it all at 'the Shoe': 
The Wooden Shoe fits snugly on the corner of Smith and W. Sixth Streets in old Mishawaka, just south of the train tracks. The name comes from the Dutch immigrants who settled in this neighborhood in the early 1900s when jobs were aplenty at the nearby and now-extinct Ball Band factory along the St. Joe River. While Ball Band and the other industries that used to thrive in the Princess City are gone, a fair number of family-owned and operated corner bars, like Maury's Pat's Pub and the Midway Tavern, still offer residents and visitors a memorable and truly unique night out.

The Shoe is a rough and gruff experience and it starts the moment you walk in the door. Regulars sit on the stools along the bar and give you a long look when you first arrive, but they're mostly friendly to visitors. The bar houses a solid jukebox with a lot of classic rock, country and current jams and on Tuesdays the house special is a $1 frosty mug of Budweiser. As a rule, the bar does not serve liquor or mixed drinks.

A pool table with a Miller Lite NASCAR light glows in the middle of the room, and an old-school shuffleboard table rests along the back wall, with a collection of tables and chairs in between. In the summer, patrons park bikes--not bike lane bikes--along the sidewalk outside the entrance.

Perhaps the best time to go to the Shoe is on weekends when they host country karaoke nights. While the tunes will almost certainly stray from country, the bar really comes alive and a few regulars will start belting out their favorite songs. In one night, I saw a guy in the middle of a tussle between his two girlfriends, a drawn-out and clumsy bar fight that eventually went outside and a group of college kids dressed up for a "white trash" bar crawl.

On top of all this, the Shoe does have a kitchen and makes a pretty good burger, especially if it's late and you've been singing along to Garth Brooks for a while.  All in all, the Shoe is an authentic and well-worn bar, apart from the well-trodden haunts of Michiana, where a group of friends can catch up and have a great time. 

Where: 822 W. Sixth Street, Mishawaka, IN
When: Whenever the lights are on

No comments:

Post a Comment