A few weeks ago a friend and I stopped by Polar Bar on our way to a baseball game. This bar, located in the lobby of the Arctic Club Hotel, harkens back to an earlier time in our history and brings a little glimpse of those heydays of gold mining. The Arctic Club was originally a gentleman’s club owned by Alaskan businessmen who had struck it rich during the early 1900s. At some point it was sold and went through several renditions, at one point even housing some city offices. My first memory of this building is of the Dome Room, originally the dining room for the club, but in recent history was available for catered events. A company I worked for used it on several occasions.
This bar has a gentleman’s club feel with lots of leather furniture, wood paneling and a large fireplace gracing one end of the room. A large L-shaped bar anchors one side of the room. When we arrived at 5:00 pm the bar was packed and several, but not all, of the leather chairs and couches were occupied.
We each started with a glass of wine. Their wine by the glass list could use a step up, the wine was okay but seemed way too humble for this fine room. We ordered a selection of appetizers and were pleased with them. I think our favorite was a small poached pear – maybe a Forelle – stuffed with blue cheese. It was heavenly and such a nice-sized dessert.
We also took a little side trip up to see the newly restored Dome Room, again available for catered events or meetings. They did a really great job and the ceiling again glows with the soft lights meant to bring to mind the Northern Lights.
Since we didn’t really give the place a thorough test I’ll have to come back to try it out again but from this first glance I think this place has a lot of potential. It seems to me a great place to meet friends after work or to snuggle into warm chairs during inclement weather.
In the lobby of the Arctic Club Hotel
700 3rd Ave. at Cherry St.