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A Stream-of-Consciousness Review of Fairbanks' Finest

By Christopher "Ski" GanczewskiPublished 6 months ago 3 min read
Photo by Aimee Therault, pulled from Google Maps.

20 Feb 23

Arriving at 11:20 am on a Monday, I am surprised at the crowd in the relatively small establishment on University Avenue in the northwest side of town, and accordingly, the lack of parking. Granted, it's February in Fairbanks, so parking in most lots becomes a lawless wasteland. Plus, it's President's' Day, to boot; while I wait for my dog to potentially get his tail amputated, I am reminded I am likely not the only one with time to burn on the holiday afternoon.

The packed parking lot purveys an equally eclectic crowd on the inside. To my right, a pair of 40- somethings with hand tattoos are pouring cash into pull tabs 40 bucks at a time, repeatedly. I'm yet to see them win, but I take note of their topic of conversation: a series of streets in town named after the prostitutes who once lived there.

I pull my phone out to take a quick look at Google maps. Sure enough, there’s a series of streets on the northeast side of town, near downtown, with names like Annabelle, Betty, and Clara. I also note the convenient alphabetization of the aforementioned, but choose to buy into the legends.

I love this town.

The bar itself is roughly U-shaped, with the entrances to my far right and left as I sit dead center at the bottom of the "U."' Two dozen tap handles hang from an interestingly diamond plate bar and cooler structure, and notably, every tap is an Alaskan beer, cider, or seltzer, less the classic Bud Light.

Perhaps the new American staple, even outside Lower 48.

The two next to me have moved on to another pull-tab game. Apparently, "Wild One" was bullshit.

Diving deeper into the taphandles, the classics are all here. Alaskan's big five: White, Amber, Icy Bay, Kolsch, and Husky, along with a DIPA, ' a pair of Seltzers, and Freeride APA. Left of the Bud Light pull, Anchorage offerings are on full display, between some 49th State, Matanuska, King St., Glacier, and Talkeetna offerings. A pair of Bearpaw taps and an Alaska cider I've never seen before rounds out the draft offerings aside from the lone Fairbanks local, a Lat 65 of unknown variety.

The whole beer situation makes me wonder about the Alaska distribution scene.

The bartender mentions that people often seem to have a “sunk cost fallacy when it comes to relationships."

I'm not sure if I find it wise, upsettingly relevant, or both.

As a seeming regular gives me an inquisitive stare to the recently emptied seats on the right side of the "U," a dude on the left laments the condition of a proximal Tired Iron old- timer. The barkeep responds that people love the town's traditional vintage snow machine races.

If nothing else, this is a local bar through-and-through; the gambling pro to my right mentions that two previous radio DJs in town are cousins as we argue the accuracy of proposed Fall Out Boy lyrics.

Behind me stand half a dozen high tops, and roughly the same amount of low tops on either side of a pony wall. Behind that, with a window for delivery, the kitchen, flanked by bathrooms on either side. The place is known for breakfast/brunch, but as morning turns to afternoon, burgers and sandwiches tend to be common fare.

I would recommend the food. And at that, the establishment. The beer selection is redundant, and dare I say lacking, but this place is a FBX staple with solid food and a welcoming local crowd.

Any visit to the Golden Heart is incomplete without a drink or three.


About the Creator

Christopher "Ski" Ganczewski

I write things. Sometimes they matter.

Active Duty USAF TACP Officer.

Mountain biker. Board gamer. Imbibement appreciator.

Niagara Falls, NY born and raised.

Often found with a dog attached to my hip, near either a trailhead or a brewery.

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Comments (1)

  • Judey Kalchik 6 months ago

    Nice review!

Christopher "Ski" GanczewskiWritten by Christopher "Ski" Ganczewski

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