Harbor bar was purchased by my mother in 1964, she experienced the worst flood in history the following spring. And we have fought flooding several times since. We also dealt with floodplain mitigation in an attempt to move us off the island we are located on due to flooding concerns. We offer a full service restaurant, bar , and marina along the banks of the Mississippi river. Harbor bar features several outdoor live music festivals during the summer. We are located riverside, mile marker 791. We feature docks with slips for seasonal and transient docking, as well as plenty of courtesy dock's for restaurant customers. With a campground and other marinas within walking distance Harbor Bar has become a major destination along the river for those wishing to enjoy and experience river life. Harbor Bar features a wonderful yard with one of the prettiest views along the river. We are located just across the river from Red Wing Minnesota's Levee park. Harbor Bar and Red Wing was once known for the moonshining that occurred in its intiricate backwaters. Red Wing was one of the capitals for producing moonshine during prohibition. Many criminals used to hide out here during prohibition. Al Capone and John Dillinger played poker against each other here in this bar back in the day. They say Jesse James hid out here after his raid on Northfield, MN. We serve up to 2,000 meals per day and can get very busy on nice summer days. Harbor Bar has been an icon on the river and is a stopping point for many tourists.
Harbor Bar offers riverside dining indoors and out with an outside bar that is very popular during the warmer summer months. And with it's location with nearby campground and marina's all within walking distance as well as our own tent area, transient dockage, room's. The property has become a destination resort.
Many river adventurers are know to make Harbor Bar one of it's major stops on their journeys of traveling the length of Mississippi river in either canoes, kayak's, Homemade rafts, houseboat's, We are involved in the network of river angels that welcome & host many of the 50-75 people who canoe the river source-to-sea each year. With the technology of the internet we can now follow them along their journey and network others along the way to connect with them. We have also had many rafters who travel the river the old way following it's currents and floating with them on their quest to get as far as possible their homemade floating river home many of which they spend 30-90 or more days living like they did on the early days.
Harbor Bar has been hosting those courageous people who attempt the famous trip for over 50 years. And I (Brad Smith the owner) have lived on-site for most of my life. Taking over my parents bar at the age of 18 and still at it 39 years later. I have seen all that has happened on the upper Mississippi River for the last 50 years living and working along it's banks. I have seen & watched most of the boats that have traveled this part of the river, including the king of Spain. Presidents, and the famous Calypso Explorer research vessel from the famed Jacques Cousteau the underwater explorer. I have witnessed and assisted in rescuing many boats and boaters through the years. I fish right from my dock and catch fish like crazy.
We really have become a tourist destination along the river and have been compared to being the Wall Drug of the Mississippi River in the sense that everyone has heard about it and they make sure to stop and see it when passing by. Many people compare the town of Red Wing to oh yea thats where the Harbor bar is. We have gain a very nice reputation over the 52 years of being here in the community for so long.
The history of events & life along the river that comes from this place can fill many stories and could become a lot of books &/or movies that could be real hits. Harbor Bar is a very unique place situated on one of the prettiest spots along the whole river. Also employing many of the locals and retains its same workers for decades. My current chef has worked here for over 27 years with a couple others over 30 years and several workers have been with the company for over 15 years. The harbor Bar even employs Jamaicans to work during the busy summer in the Guest worker (H2B) program. and many of them have worked for over 15 years as well. We have employed 3 generations of family members from at least 3 different families from the area. So have have become a big part of the local history during our tenure here at Harbor Bar. With living here and with so many of our employees that have lived or worked here all these years.
We have also gained acclaim for the quality of our food the restaurant sells, serving up to 1500-2000 meals on our busiest days of summer. with appearances on the food network and also cooking our food live on the local NBC mooring new programs.
When the place is full of tourists and locals enjoying the riverside property so uniquely situated on an island in the middle of the Mississippi river it becomes very lively especially when there is live music in the yard.