Tag Archives: Entertainment in Dickinson

Eric Smallwood, Dickinson, North Dakota

Today, in this post, I write about Eric Smallwood, the Alive @ 5 event organizer, music promoter, business promoter, and community advocate living in Dickinson, North Dakota.

Eric Malone Smallwood was born September 11, 1979.  He was raised in the small town of Buhl, Idaho, population 4,000.  After high school, Eric studied agriculture and biosystems engineering at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

In approximately 2007, at the age of 28, Eric moved to Dickinson, North Dakota, after hearing from a friend, Nick, about the build-up in Dickinson, indicating what could be an oil boom.  Not long after moving to Dickinson, Eric and a Nick bought the old Dickinson Press building.

At the time Eric Smallwood moved to Dickinson, a very good way to make a lot of money was to work in the rapidly expanding oil field, to work a lot of overtime, at one of the highest rates of pay, directly on an oil rig.  At that time, oil companies were looking for quick well completions.  Drilling companies were pushing their workers to go, go, go for more than twelve hours each day.  Work conditions were very dangerous, and in 2009, Eric lost half of his right index finger while working on an oil rig.  After that, Eric worked in the oil field as a crane operator.

The location of the old Dickinson Press building which Eric and Nick had bought, was on 1st Street, directly across from the historic old Elks Lodge building.  Within 1-1/2 blocks, were several historic buildings, the American Bank Center building, the Park Square building, the Odd Fellows Lodge, the Jessen building, the Masonic Lodge, and the Brickhouse Grille.

The historic Elks Lodge building renovation had been going on since approximately 2004.  Jacob Siewart, the owner of the old Masonic Lodge building, had been working on his building renovation for more than ten years.  In 2012, Adam Metzker moved to Dickinson and purchased the Park Square building and the Jessen building, and began their renovation.  Eric worked on the remodeling of his building, helped with work on the Odd Fellows Lodge building, and visited Jacob Siewart and Adam Metzker during the work on their buildings.  One of Eric’s favorite things was the stamped tin metal ceilings in several of these buildings, popular in the 1800s, and early 1900s.  Eric took an interest in the downtown Dickinson historic district building preservation, and he became a supporter, activist, and organizer.

The first report that I could find about the Thursday evening street parties in Dickinson, was a June 2012 article in the Dickinson Press written by Kevin Holten.  The Alive @ 5 event was at 1st Avenue & 1st Street, from 5:00 pm to 7:30 pm, and organized by the Odd Fellows Lodge.  I believe that the event was also supported by the Dickinson Chamber of Commerce, and the Downtown Dickinson Business Owners Association.

In 2014, Eric Smallwood became the lead organizer for Alive @ 5 in Dickinson.  As the summer went on, the street parties got bigger and bigger, and went to 8:30 pm or 9:00 pm.  Some of the crowds in 2014 were probably 2,000 to 3,000 people.  Hundreds of people remained downtown after Alive @ 5, and continued to drink at the Rock Bar, Bernie’s Esquire Club, and the Brickhouse Grille.

Eric Smallwood was able to bring increasingly bigger and better performers to Dickinson.  The highlights in 2014 were Gwen Sebastian and Kat Perkins.  The work had begun months in advance by Eric, selling advertising, selling VIP tickets, getting donations of money, material, equipment, and labor from local companies.  For every Thursday event, stage set up took all day.  Stage tear down and clean up took all night through to dawn.

Eric Smallwood got a lot of donations and cooperation from the Dickinson Mafia.  I don’t think that there was anyone else accept for Eric that could have gotten so much cooperation from the Dickinson Mafia.  Eric was persistent, high energy, enthusiastic, and he got results in the form of successful events, bringing performers that people wanted to see, creating good publicity for Dickinson every week.  With the Dickinson Mafia’s favorable opinion of the event, the Dickinson Police absolutely left everyone alone at Alive @ 5, the Dickinson Police were 100% helpful during the event.  The Dickinson Fire Marshal was cooperative with the event.  Probably one hundred businesses in Dickinson contributed to the events.

In 2015, the Alive @ 5 events were even bigger.  Eric Smallwood not only got Gwen Sebastian and Kat Perkins to come back, he got them to come back together!  Because of the growing enthusiasm in Dickinson for the event, and because of rumors “to expect something big”, the attendance at this concert was close to 6,000 people, on a Thursday night!  This was probably the highest attendance ever at a concert in Western North Dakota.

Other big performers in 2015 were Firehouse and Aaron Tippen.  Eric also booked performers that were not well known in Dickinson, such as Corb Lund.  Many people had not heard of Corb Lund before, but when they heard him at Alive @ 5, everybody recognized that this was something different, and very good.  Other performers that were well liked at Alive @ 5, were the two sister band, Tigir Lilly, who had as many autograph seekers afterward as the more famous Nashville bands.

Most people in Dickinson were positive about Alive @5.  Many people looked forward to going, downtown business owners were happy about thousands of people seeing their businesses every Thursday, the Chamber of Commerce and the City of Dickinson were happy about the publicity.

In addition to the summer street parties in Dickinson, in 2014 Eric Smallwood began bringing performers to Dickinson during the winter.  Eric would have liked to have used the large ballroom in the old Masonic Lodge building to hold events, but it wasn’t ready yet, so Eric used the Odd Fellows Lodge theater to have performances with people like Mitch Malloy.  There were so few seats in the theater, guests were limited to the major donors of the summer Alive @ 5 events.

In the winter of 2015, Eric continued to bring entertainment to Dickinson, organizing a formal Christmas dinner party with two hundred guests at the Astoria Hotel ballroom, where Kat Perkins was the performer.

At the end of the summer in 2015, Eric Smallwood was working on a business plan, to create a very large, indoor, year-round, event center in Dickinson.  In order to bring big, famous performers to Dickinson, the idea was to be able to seat at least 10,000 people.  From what I heard, this business plan was presented by Eric to the biggest donors and supporters of the Alive @ 5 event, and his plan was well received.  As I have mentioned in several previous posts, there are a group of men in Dickinson who own businesses, own properties, are on board of directors, are involved in city government, who control what goes on in Dickinson.  These men had the money, and the power to have a large event center built in Dickinson, and they wanted one.  This was probably the last and only thing that was missing, to put Dickinson on the same level as Bismarck and Fargo.  Too bad the price of oil went down so low when it did, or Dickinson would have become the Fargo of western North Dakota.




Helpful Advice for Women in Dickinson, North Dakota, Part I

In this post, I would like to give some helpful, useful advice for women in Dickinson.  It is not too late for you.  You young school girls in Dickinson, you need to read this too.  I would like to give you some advice to better your physical, mental, and emotional health.

Please start exercising.  It may be difficult to get started, but try to do just a little at first.  The West River Community Center is a very warm, safe, pleasant environment to not only exercise, but to socialize with other women.  Take the time each day to get out of your house, away from your work, away from your children, away from your husband, and take time for yourself.  Try walking the track on the upper level, try stretching and doing floor exercises upstairs.  Later, you may want to join the group stationary cycling class, or the aerobics class.

Start with making a small amount of daily exercise, a daily habit, and a lifelong habit.  When I worked in healthcare, I often saw elderly women naked.  Some women in their eighties, who did water aerobics daily, had smoother, tighter bodies than women in their 20s!  The women nurses even complained, “Shit, you’ve got better legs than me!”  The women in their eighties just laughed, and said they did water aerobics every day.

When you begin exercising, and taking care of yourself, your self-esteem increases, and your positive mental attitude increases.  Within a couple of weeks of beginning a daily exercise routine, your flexibility, strength, and endurance will improve.  You are better able to engage in life activities, whether it is playing with your kids, going on outings, working, or having sex.

Please, please try to take care of your physical health.  Your children, your husband, your boyfriend, your parents, or your employer probably already depend on you.  Be physically able and strong to help take care of your family and your responsibilities.  Being in good physical shape and exercising daily will help you cope with stress.

For selfish reasons, please also take care of yourself.  If you can afford it, go to a beauty salon, get your nails done, get your toe nails done.  Please read fashion magazines like “Cosmopolitan” and “Vogue”, so that you can get ideas on how you might do your hair, your makeup, your nails, your clothes.  It is obvious in these magazines that the models are beautiful, glamorous, and greatly desired.  Don’t you want to be beautiful, glamorous, and desired too?  It is O.K. to admire shoes, dresses, coats, handbags, and jewelry.  There are events in Dickinson where you can get dressed up, such as the events at the Astoria Hotel ballroom, and the Grand Dakota Lodge.

Even if your husband, boyfriend, and family are from Dickinson, and have never encouraged women getting dressed up, that doesn’t mean they know everything and are always right.  Although it might be too much of a shock to them if you changed completely overnight, I bet they might be happy and impressed if you got a hair cut that really looked good on you, or an outfit that really looked good on you.

For your sake, and for the sake of your kids, please try to read to become knowledgeable about different things outside of Dickinson.  Just think, do you want your kids to be able to experience more things in life, or not know about opportunities they have in life?  Just as an example, every now and then, buy a magazine like “Architectural Digest”, “Yachting”, “Sailing”.  These magazines show how wealthy and successful people live, their homes, their furnishings, their jewelry, their cars, their boats, where they travel, the things they get to do.  In a big way or a small way, when people or kids see some of these things, it inspires them to want to be successful, to finish school, to think about what type of career they may want to have, to think about marrying a person that will help them to be successful.

If you are of the opinion that it is not a good idea to see expensive clothes, jewelry, furniture, houses, cars, boats, planes, vacation destinations, beautiful glamorous women, when these things are not relevant to you or your children, I think you are wrong.  Any progress that we have made as human beings has come through education and becoming more and more aware.  It is harmful, limiting, and dangerous to not know what is going on in the world.

School Assignment, Dickinson, North Dakota

Hello, and thank you for reading my blog.  The purpose of this blog is to tell people from out-of-state, what Dickinson, North Dakota is like.  Additionally, I hope that people from Dickinson read this blog.  The people here in Dickinson should be ashamed of how badly they treated everyone during the oil boom.  The people here in Dickinson were hostile, unfriendly, uncooperative, and they took advantage of people.

I want people to know the truth about Dickinson.  I don’t want people to get misinformation about Dickinson from the Chamber of Commerce, the City of Dickinson, or Dickinson State University.  Because I have written approximately forty-five blog posts about Dickinson, this site usually comes up on the first page of search engine results for “living in Dickinson”, “working in Dickinson”, “moving to Dickinson”, “relocating to Dickinson”, “women in Dickinson”, “corruption in Dickinson”, “nightlife in Dickinson”, and “the Dickinson mafia”.

Even though this site comes up on the first page of search engine results, there should be more views every day, from school kids doing their homework assignments for instance.  There should be more school kids looking at this site, but that doesn’t surprise me too much, North Dakota ranks first in some categories of illiteracy.

I want to write this blog for the school kids in Dickinson, to give them some useful information for their school assignments and reports on Dickinson, and to give them some useful life information.

The ratio of men to women in Dickinson is probably about 3:1, which is not normal.  Because there are way more men in Dickinson than women, there is a shortage of women for men to date, and marry in Dickinson.  There should be a strip bar, where men can go and talk to women and see them naked, but the City of Dickinson will not allow that.  There should be prostitution in Dickinson to provide women for men to date, but the City of Dickinson will not allow that.  Thank God there aren’t any rapes!  Because there is a shortage of women in Dickinson, most of the women in Dickinson do not try to stay in-shape, dress nicely, look nice, or be pleasant.  Most of the women in Dickinson are overweight and unfriendly.

There is not a lot to do in Dickinson.  It is cold from about the beginning of October through the end of April, that’s seven months.  It would be nice to go out to bars at night to have some drinks, but the City of Dickinson has instructed its police officers to be very aggressive in arresting people for Driving Under the Influence.  In fact, the Dickinson police arrest people and take them to jail, even before giving them a breathalyzer test, if they are under the legal limit at the police station where the breathalyzer test is given, they are still under arrest, are processed into jail, later post bail, and pay $3,000 up-front to an attorney.  Don’t let mom and dad go out to bars in Dickinson, they might get a DUI, lose their job, and then you’ll be out on the street!

Going out to restaurants in Dickinson is not that great either, the service is usually very bad.  The servers in Dickinson restaurants have been led to believe that all of the oilfield workers in Dickinson make over $100,000 per year, that’s what the television news says.  The servers have had the expectation that every oil field worker would spend $100 every meal and leave them a $20 tip.  The servers are angry that they aren’t making $300 per day at Applebees, Perkins, Country Kitchen, and Players Club.

There are not a lot of restaurants in Dickinson.  Prior to 2008, people in Dickinson did not go out to eat because they did not have much money, they were paid very low wages.  The local companies in Dickinson paid very low wages in order to control their workers.  The workers could not get ahead, they lived paycheck-to-paycheck, they could not afford to lose their job, they had no savings, they were completely dependent on their employer, they had to keep their job even if they were mistreated.

Because wages were low in Dickinson prior to 2008, home rents were low.  A one-bedroom apartment was probably $300 per month, a three-bedroom house was probably $700 per month. Due to the oil boom, by 2011, the rent for a one-bedroom apartment went up to $1,500 per month, a three-bedroom house went up to $3,500 per month.  This huge cost increase in housing not only hurt the oil field workers, it hurt the local people too.  This is why some people say that people in Dickinson were very greedy and took advantage of people.

That’s enough for now, your brains are probably jumping like a toad!  Please, please feel free to write comments and ask me questions.  I’ll go ahead with what will probably be a FAQ, Frequently Asked Question:

Question:  You seem to hate Dickinson, why don’t you just leave?

Answer:  I stay here because currently I can make more money here than elsewhere.  I have a home in a different state that I would like to go back to, but unemployment is high in that state.  While I am here, I would like to get the truth out about Dickinson, so that people from out-of-state will know what it is like, and maybe not come at this time.  I hope that I can change some things in Dickinson by exposing them.



Surprise Sighting of Attractive Women in Dickinson, North Dakota

On January 24, 2015, I went to the Chili Cook-Off at the Astoria Hotel in Dickinson, North Dakota.  There were about twenty companies that served their home-made chili at this event, which was a fundraiser for rural fire departments.  There were about four bars that served alcohol.  The band “Outlaw Sippin” played from about 9 p.m. to midnight.  There were about four hundred to five hundred people at this event.

I have spent about two and a half years in Dickinson, and I have never seen more attractive women in Dickinson than I saw at this event.  In fact, the last time I saw that many attractive women in one place, was twenty years ago when I was at a school with over 30,000 students.  At the Chili Cook-Off, there were all different kinds of attractive women:  tall skinny ones, tiny petite ones, friendly volunteer women of all ages, cow-girls, hot housewives, pretty geeks, off-duty bartenders, on-duty bartenders, out-of-town girls, local girls, college girls, other kinds too.

I have thought about it and thought about it, why did pretty women come out to this event?  What made this event different?  Three things: large clean bathrooms, tile, and clean, warm, safe environment.  I tried to understand why women decided to come to this event, and imagine what their thought process must have been.  Here is what they must have been thinking, “I would like to go to this event at the Astoria Hotel, they have nice big bathrooms that are clean, and have tile work, and I can drink and have someplace safe to go to the bathroom.  I like tile work.  It will be clean, and warm, and dry, and safe, and not nasty.  I can eat some chili.”

I have done a lot of complaining about the lack of attractive women in Dickinson.  It turns out, that if you have a nice, clean, warm, dry, safe environment, with tile, they will come out.  Also, the women at this event were nice to me, which was unusual, I guess they must have been in a good mood and felt safe.

Women in Dickinson, North Dakota

I stated that the purpose of this blog was to try to provide truthful information to people about what living in Dickinson, North Dakota, is like.  Women in Dickinson, North Dakota, are significantly different from women elsewhere.  I feel the need to explain this, not so that I can say cruel things about women in Dickinson, but to let people from out of state know what to expect.

As I have said elsewhere in this blog, there are way more men in Dickinson than women.  If you come to Dickinson, you will see that there is a shortage of women.  For most people, this is an additional unpleasant thing about Dickinson, in addition to seven months of cold grey weather, lack of places to shop, lack of entertainment, lack of things to do, over zealous DUI citations, and the fact that Dickinson residents and your co-workers from Dickinson do not like people from out of state.

Day after day after day in Dickinson, I go to the gas station, to work, to the grocery store, to the hardware store, to other stores, and I don’t see any pretty women.  It gets depressing.  I wonder to myself,”What has happened to the Earth?”  It is like I am stuck in some apocalyptic movie, living in some dreary, barren land, after some kind of devastating disaster.  It’s like I’m on some kind of prison planet.  I might as well be in prison, there are mostly men here, not any women.  The hardships in Dickinson, make me feel like I am living through the Great Depression, like I’m a refugee during a war, or that I have been put in prison for some kind of crime.  Like I said before, if you want to know what living in Dickinson will be like, you need to watch the movies “The Grapes of Wrath”, “Deliverance”, and “Planet of the Apes”.

One of the reasons why you don’t see many pretty women in Dickinson, is because, there aren’t very many.  When I lived in warm states like Florida, Texas, and Arizona, women were very concerned with how they looked, they were even competitive about it.  In states with warm climates, there are so many more opportunities to go out, for recreation, socializing, entertainment, business.  In warm states, people ride bikes, walk, jog, play tennis, play golf, surf, water ski, roller blade, swim, sun bathe.  In warm states, people go to movies, plays, concerts, cook outs, cruises, dinner parties, drinks after work.  In all of the aforementioned recreational and social activities in the warm states, the women are concerned with how they look.  They want to look good in their bathing suit, their golf outfit, their dinner dress, their party dress.  The women look forward to shopping for clothes and planning what they will wear.

Without trying to go too deep into the psychology of why women do what they do, in warm states, women want to look good, they try to look good.  The women enjoy getting attention from men, they enjoy getting noticed.  The women enjoy getting admired for their jewelry and clothing.  Women in warm states read “Vogue”, “Vanity Fair”, “Cosmopolitan”, and “People”, in order to see what clothes other women are wearing, what accessories they have, how they are wearing their hair.  In warm states, women go to the gym, exercise, diet, pay attention to what they are eating, in order to maintain and improve their appearance.

One of the reasons why women are competitive about how they look in the warm states, is because there are about equal numbers of men and women.  The women would like to be able to get the boyfriend or the husband that they want, but there is competition for the better males.  In order to be able to get one of the better males, each woman has to try to be more attractive than the other women who are seeking his attention.

In Dickinson, most of the women do not ride bikes, jog, play tennis, play golf, roller blade, swim, or water ski.  It is too cold to do outdoor activities for seven months of the year.  In Dickinson, most of the women do not go to plays, dinner parties, or drinks after work.  What I am saying is, most of the women in Dickinson do not exercise, they do not go out, they do not have any place to go, therefore, they do not care how they look, they do not care very much about what they wear, and rather than being competitive about looking good, I actually think that they are competitive about looking bad.

In Dickinson, I think that the women that are from here, try to look bad.  One possible reason why women from Dickinson try to look bad, is so that they will be left alone by the men.  There is nothing to do in Dickinson, and nowhere to go, what is the use in a woman looking good in Dickinson, it’s not like she’s looking forward to getting asked out on a date, there is nowhere to go.  Why would they want to look attractive?  They are not really looking forward to some guy in Dickinson trying to mount them.  As far as women being in competition with other women for the better males, I can just hear some woman from Dickinson in her North Dakota accent saying, “I don’t want him, you can have him,…no you can have him,….no, you can have him.”

A second reason why women in Dickinson try to look bad, is to get along with other women and to have solidarity with other women.  All of the women have decided that they are going to be anywhere from thirty pounds to one hundred pounds over weight.  If all the women do this, the men won’t really know the difference.  So when the men in Dickinson see big overweight women, with baggy loose clothing, and unkempt hair, the men think nothing of it, because that is what they are used to seeing.  The buffalo are big, the cows are big, the women are big.

Night Life in Dickinson, North Dakota

(This post was re-written and updated on 4/18/2018 in order to provide current information.)

I am going to start at the north end of town, and work my way south, in naming the bars and restaurants that serve alcohol in Dickinson, North Dakota.

But before I begin listing places where you can drink alcohol, I want to tell everyone the most important thing that they need to know about Dickinson, and that is, that the Police in Dickinson try as hard as they can to arrest people for DUI, like no other place that I have ever been.

Many bars and restaurants, will provide customers with a free voucher for the Camajur Bus Service and Taxi Service to get a ride home.  Even without a free voucher, the Camajur Bus or Taxi Service is very cheap, and I recommend using it.

  • Players Club – On the north side of Dickinson, just south of WalMart, is the Players Club sports bar and restaurant.  This building and restaurant, was built and is owned by the Fisher Group.  This sports bar is probably more upscale for Dickinson, and professional people and their wives would feel comfortable in the bar area.  The formal restaurant dining area is completely separate from the bar area.  Though you could expect that the formal restaurant would be suitable for an important business dinner, birthday dinner, or anniversary dinner, I would recommend to anyone in Dickinson who is planning a special dinner, to telephone the restaurant manager before hand, to emphasize that you are planning an important dinner, and ask if there was some way to help make sure that you would not be seated beside over intoxicated or rowdy people.
    • For any nice restaurant in Dickinson, I am going to have to give this warning, that if you are planning an important business dinner, family dinner, a date with your wife, or a date with a girlfriend, you are going to have to take steps yourself, to make sure that your dinner is not ruined by construction workers or oil field workers.  The young or inexperienced wait staff in Dickinson, will not hesitate to seat a group of intoxicated and rowdy males, beside a business meeting, family dinner, or couple on date, so you will have to do something about this yourself.
  • The Crossing – On the north side of Dickinson, on State Avenue, this upscale bar and formal dining restaurant was built and is owned by Seth Murphy, owner of SM Fencing and Energy Services.  From what I hear, this is the most expensive bar and restaurant in Dickinson, and that it is very nicely furnished.  I will not go there, because I do not like the owner and his wife.  If you work in construction, or if you work in the oil field, and you have a big pay check, please gather your friends together, have some drinks before hand, and then go try the Crossing bar and restaurant.
  • Grand Dakota Lodge – On the north side of Dickinson, southwest of the Prairie Hills Mall, is the Grand Dakota Lodge.  The Grand Dakota Lodge is probably one of the nicest hotels in Dickinson, with a bar, restaurant, several lobbies, conference rooms, and indoor swimming pool.  This hotel is a fairly safe, comfortable, indoor environment.
  • Elks Lodge – Just south from the Grand Dakota Lodge, the Elks Lodge in Dickinson has recently downsized, has sold the upstairs to their building, in order to move into the basement of the building.  I don’t know what they are doing.
  • New Life Pentecostal Church – Just south from the Grand Dakota Lodge, the New Life Pentecostal Church has recently purchased and renovated the upstairs of the Elks Lodge building.  Live music and entertainment on Wednesday night and Sunday morning.  A place to meet friendly people in Dickinson.
  • El Sombrero Restaurant – On the north side of Dickinson, just south of the Prairie Hills Mall.  Just average Mexican food.  A restaurant with a small bar.  At this restaurant, you can experience not being waited on, which was a common experience for myself, my friends, acquaintances, and other people that I have asked.
  • El Puricatan Restaurant – On the north side of Dickinson, just south of the Prairie Hills Mall.  A small Mexican restaurant with a wide variety of authentic, good, unique Mexican food, for reasonable prices.
  • Astoria Hotel – At the intersection of I-94 and Hwy 22, is the Astoria Hotel, which is one of the nicer hotels in Dickinson.  The very large ballroom is often used for shows, parties, and events.  There is a recently opened restaurant and bar inside the hotel, adjacent to the main hotel lobby.  A fairly safe, comfortable, indoor environment.
  • Applebees Restaurant – At the intersection of I-94 and Hwy 22, is Applebees Restaurant.
  • Sakura Japanese Restaurant – On the north side of Dickinson, across Hwy 22 from the Prairie Hills Mall, is the Sakura Japanese restaurant where you can order sushi, or watch your food being cooked at your table top hibachi by an entertaining chef.
  • Sanfords Pub And Grub – On the north side of Dickinson, adjacent to the Sakura Japanese restaurant, and surrounded by newer hotels, is Sanfords Pub And Grub sports bar and restaurant.  A fairly normal and fairly safe sports bar.  I believe that it is O.K. for wives and children.
  • The Wurst Shop – On the north side of Dickinson, behind Sanfords Pub And Grub and Sakura Japanese restaurant, is the Wurst Shop which serves bratwurst, hot dogs, sausage, and other meats that they create and process right there on the premises.  Though they might not serve alcohol, this food is something interesting to try in Dickinson.
  • Buffalo Wild Wings – On the northwest side of Dickinson, at the new Menards and Family Fare shopping center, is Buffalo Wild Wings.  This Buffalo Wild Wings is a fairly large sports bar and restaurant, which I believe is O.K. for wives and children.
  • Army’s West – On the south side of I-94, just west of Hwy 22, is Army’s West Sports Bar.  This bar, which is owned by Dan Porter of Dan Porter Motors, sometimes has live music.  Though adults of all ages go to this bar, it is sometimes the most liked bar of the Dickinson State University college students.
  • Mavericks Saloon – On the south side of I-94, next door to McDonalds, is Mavericks Saloon which is a fairly normal and safe bar.
  • Red Coach Lounge – Across the street from McDonalds, inside of the Motel 6, adjacent to the motel lobby is the Red Coach Lounge.
  • King Buffet – On Main Avenue, in the T-Rex Shopping Center, is the King Buffet Chinese restaurant, which is a fairly large buffet style restaurant.  You can have fresh food prepared on a hibachi, at no additional cost to the buffet.
  • JDs BBQ – Across the street from the West River Community Center complex, very close to DSU, is JDs BBQ restaurant, which is a medium sized restaurant, with fairly good food, and it is safe for families with children.
  • Liquid Assets – Across the street from the West River Community Center complex, very close to DSU, is Liquid Assets, which is a fairly large sports bar.
  • The Spur – On the west end of Villard Street near DSU and downtown Dickinson, is The Spur bar, which is as medium sized bar.
  • The Paragon Bowling Alley, Diner, and Bar – Near the west end of Villard Street, DSU, and downtown Dickinson, is the Paragon Bowling Alley, Diner, and Bar.  During the day, the diner and bowling alley are fairly safe for women and children.  Once it gets past about 8:00 p.m., the Paragon begins to fill with more adults and college students who are interested in drinking, and it becomes less suitable for families and children.
  • Blue 42 – In the heart of downtown Dickinson, on Villard Street, is a new sports bar owned by Mike Lefor, called Blue 42.  It is a medium sized sports bar, which is currently fairly popular.
  • The Rock Bar – In the heart of downtown Dickinson, on First Street, is a small bar owned by the Kathy Fisher family, called the Rock Bar.  This is a fairly calm and mellow community bar, which has outdoor sidewalk seating during the Spring, Summer, and Fall.  The Rock Bar is usually the sponsor for the downtown Thursday Summer concerts which sometimes bring thousands of people to downtown Dickinson.
  • Odd Fellows Lodge – In the heart of downtown Dickinson, on First Avenue, is the Odd Fellows Lodge.  Though the Odd Fellows Lodge is active throughout the year, their main effort is organizing and operating the downtown Thursday Summer concerts in Dickinson, which host well known bands and music performers.
  • Bernie’s Esquire Club – In the center of downtown Dickinson, on First Street across from the Post Office, is Bernie’s Esquire Club, owned by the Bernie Marsh family.  This is a medium sized bar, which is a little like a biker bar, but also like a community bar.  In the Spring, Summer, and Fall there is outside sidewalk seating.  Bernie, his wife, his sons, and his daughters operate the bar, and if you are very lucky, you might even get to see Marinna Marsh.
  • Brickhouse Grille – In the center of downtown Dickinson, on Villard Street, across from the old train depot is the Brickhouse Grille and Lounge, which is owned by Mike Riesinger.  The restaurant is located inside a restored historic building, with one bar located downstairs, and a larger bar located in the lounge upstairs.  This is Dickinson’s nicest fine dining restaurant, and there is a dress code requirement.
  • Eagles Lodge – In the heart of downtown Dickinson, situated between the Post Office and Villard Street, is the Eagles Lodge.  In Dickinson, the Eagles Lodge is open to the public.  There are lunch specials for dining in the afternoon, but in the evening the Eagles Lodge is primarily a community type bar.
  • Southside Bar – Located on Broadway Street, on the south side of Dickinson, is the Southside Bar, which is a fairly large bar, frequented mostly by local working class people.  I advise non-local people to not come into conflict with local people in this bar.
  • Upin Thai – Located on the south side of Dickinson, on Main Avenue, is the very small Thai restaurant, which is used mostly for take out, called Upin Thai, which has very good and unique Thai food.

Improving Life in Dickinson, North Dakota

In my previous post, I listed some positive things about Dickinson, North Dakota.  I could have mentioned Alive at 5, which is a street party in downtown Dickinson that is held every Thursday during the summer months from 5 p.m. to about 8:30 p.m.  1st Avenue is closed to traffic from 1st Street to Villard to make room for a band, food vendors, and a beer garden.

I went to about half of the Alive at 5 events, and I enjoyed every one of them.  From what I saw, everybody who came had a good time.  For the first half of the summer, all of the musical performers were very good, but towards the end of the summer, Dickinson hosted two well known performers, Gwen Sebastian, and a few weeks later Kat Perkins.  I met these women, they were very positive and friendly to everyone, they were very nice people, they created a lot of excitement in Dickinson.

The people who came to Alive at 5 were infants to people in their late 80s, moms and dads, kids, teenagers, bikers, hippies, everybody.  As I have stated previously, there is a shortage of women in Dickinson, but at the Alive at 5 event, there were probably as many women as men, and many of the women were attractive.

The Odd Fellows Lodge of Dickinson organized the event, which was a great deal of work.  The entertainers had to be selected, scheduled, booked, and paid, and in order to pay the performers, a lot of money had to be raised in a variety of ways.  Advertising was sold, VIP tickets were sold, donations of labor and equipment were made to set up the event.

I have met some older people in Dickinson, some of them were bikers, hippies, farmers, oil field workers, who told me about the music festivals that used to be held just east of Dickinson in the 1970s, I think they were at the Green River in Gladstone.  These older people that had lived in Dickinson their whole lives, some of the only happy memories I ever heard them talk about was being young and going to the Green River concerts, that or sometimes they would talk about the Queen City Club.

On west Villard, where Aarons Furniture is now, it used to be the Queen City Club.  The Queen City Club was a large bar with a dance floor, and every weekend they would have a band. This was back in the late 1970s and 1980s from what I can gather.  One older guy that I talk to, told me about how everybody used to get dressed up to go out on Friday and Saturday night to the Queen City Club, the men and the women.

But this older guy reminds me, you can’t do that now, nobody can go out and have a good time now, they’re so worried about getting a DUI and losing their jobs.

I enjoyed going to the Alive at 5 event.  I do recall that the police did stay away from most of the Alive at 5 events and did not try to catch people as they left.  I am very glad that the Odd Fellows Lodge members, the volunteers, and the Rock Bar did all the work to have the event.  This made life this year in Dickinson much better.