July 1, 2018
There is something special about summer in Waupaca and the water has a lot to do with it. So it should come as no surprise that our top picks for the best bars in Waupaca in the summer are places on or near the lakes. Waupaca is home to 22 spring-fed Chain ‘o Lakes, and numerous other pristine lakes and rivers. When it is sunny and warm, and a cool beverage and good food is needed after some recreation, make sure you check out some of our faves.
Situated right on Taylor Lake, one of the 22 Chain ‘o Lakes in Waupaca, is ClearWater Harbor. Although offering both indoor and outdoor seating, nothing beats the outdoor bar and restaurant, under the umbrella tables or on the covered deck. Although famous for their “shroom” burgers and “shroom” birds with sour cream and chive fries, the salads and mahi mahi sandwich are very good. Get your favorite beverage in a plastic cup and walk out on the docks. Waitress service is also provided dockside, as boats pull up while cruising on the Chain. Save room for an ice cream at “Moo’s”.
Check out ClearWater Harbor’s band schedule too. Our favorite thing to do on a Sunday afternoon, is to go to their floating stage to hear some good area bands playing from approximately 3-7pm. Sitting on the pier and dangling your feet in the water, or better yet, hopping into the knee deep water and dancing and splashing is summer fun at its best.
We would be remiss if we didn’t tell you to take a boat cruise on an authentic sternwheeler, for a narrated 1 1/2 hour ride around the Chain. The Lady-of-the-Lakes, also launches from ClearWater Harbor, and is able to take you to a few more lakes due to the boats lower profile. It is the perfect way to get an overview of the Chain. You may even want to rent a pontoon the next day and do your own exploring.
The Indian Crossing Casino is really not a casino at all, but a waterfront bar, restaurant, and most assuredly a music venue. Opening its doors in 1945, this historic entertainment venue, has hosted the likes of the Beach Boys, Herman’s Hermits and the Everly Brothers to name just a few. Under new ownership, this acoustically superior venue, has now brought back a nice line-up of musicians, where last year, we personally enjoyed The BoDeans. Located right on beautiful Columbia Lake on the Chain, the food and beverages can be enjoyed with an open water view. Yes, boats can pull right up and dock and a large grassy area with picnic tables makes for a nice addition.
Next to the Indian Crossing Casino is “Dings Dock” where the famous Crystal River Canoe Trips begin. Walk on over and plan some fun for the next day.
A short walk from there, you can find another favorite, The Wheelhouse Restaurant, all freshly prepared food. A favorite is the pizza and if you love a good pastrami sandwich, this is generous and lean. Both indoor and outdoor dining/bar is offered here too with views of the Chain across the street. Every other Saturday in the summer, a “Grillin” and music event is offered at noon. I just biked there last week, where the owners of the Wheelhouse and crew were busy grilling the Steak Fry (absolutely delicious) and the band was performing on the outdoor stage, to all of our delight. Across the parking lot from The Wheelhouse is Scoopers ice cream, a must! The portions are huge so be aware before you order a double scoop.
Waupaca is home to many good and casual restaurants/bars but to many to mention in this one blog. So stay-tuned for a second installment!
Cheers to a refreshing and delicious Waupaca summer!