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Bar / Beer Tent Advice

I am with team Brewhaha (the publishers of the unofficial RAGBRAI bar guide), and after the awesome nearly perfect party the Flat Tire threw and talking to many of those involved in the planning of that event, we are looking for to update our suggestion lists for bar owners etc. along the route. So what worked for you and what did you find frustrating as you visited bars on the route?

23 Replies

DotComFactory, August 8, 2011 at 8:01 pm

SFC JKL2 said: I’m OK with tickets as long as it is one and not three or four per beer.  Then it becomes too big of a pain.

Like in Grinnell – one for water, three for beer, four for a Mike’s lemonade…  Or something equally confusing.  Different colored tickets for different drinks is too hard to do comparatively, I guess…


jwsknk, August 8, 2011 at 8:18 pm

A few years ago one town got burned on the tickets. Someone else had a roll the right color for the night. Someone made money,just not the town.


DotComFactory, August 8, 2011 at 8:24 pm

Then the green tickets with pictures of presidents would work best.


stuckinmizzou, August 8, 2011 at 11:35 pm

We’ve had conversations with bars regarding tickets…here’s the problem (especially with the beer gardens in the evenings): due to the size of the crowd and the amount of people needed to dispense beers, they have to hire people they don’t know.  With the amount of $$ that would change hands it isn’t feasible to put that kind of responsibility on people you don’t know.  (If you’ve ever watched “Road House” you understand the problem with a cash business)  :)  So don’t expect tickets to go away…

Thanks for all the suggestions and information…it takes a lot of research and time to put the Bar Guide together; this kind of information would help the bars prepare.  Anything we can give them will only make them more successful (and riders happier).


jwsknk, August 9, 2011 at 7:03 am

JC’s in Ames use custom poner chips for the Fraiday Half-Shell events, one color with “Good for 1 Beer” stamped in in and another color for pop. $1 and $3 each. They recycle them too, every so often when the jar at the bar gets full they take them back and resell them. Maybe a town could even put their logo on one side so if for some reason you didn’t use all at least you have a souviner.


“Bicycle Bill”, August 9, 2011 at 12:19 pm

jwsknk said: A few years ago one town got burned on the tickets. Someone else had a roll the right color for the night. Someone made money,just not the town.

Simple solution, and cheaper than the bar chips Skunky mentioned – get special tickets printed up like they do for the La Crosse (WI) Oktoberfest.

Make ’em distinctive; have them say something like “RAGBRAI 2012 – (name of place; i.e. ‘KC beer garden’)(name of town) – one beer” or “RAGBRAI 2012 – one soda” or whatever you want to do to make them difficult to duplicate.  Any good print shop should be able to run you off a few thousand in rolls of 200 to 250 each.

And as a businessman, if you do end up getting stuck with them there’s no reason you can’t use them for in-house purposes long after RAGBRAI has come and gone.



Wonder Woman, August 10, 2011 at 11:10 am

Ok, we’ve been working on this, are ready to contact bars…what was good and what was bad. So many have no clue going in and just want to treat it as a normal day. What was good, what did you see you didn’t like or made you leave early?


Party Pants, August 10, 2011 at 2:07 pm

Hello RAGBRAI world,

Minnesota and I have a draft of this guide ready for review by a much larger audience. It is somewhat one-sided since we only have a input from a few bars so far, and only a few teams. We really want to invite you and your teams to review and “endorse” the guide, along with any bars that are near you that have served the ride in the past 5 years or so. We really cannot drive to all those bars ourselves, although in some sense we already have… :) But, there is no way to really chat with bar owners when they are dealing with all us riders during RAGBRAI.

Please PM me with your email address, or team contact (I will not share it with anyone) so that I can send you the draft to review. Once you get it, please also forward it onto anyone who you think would be willing to review it as well, including bar owners.



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