Wisconsin Dells Visitor & Convention Bureau

Showboat Saloon

Showboat Saloon

Showboat Saloon

Showboat Saloon Map
Address:
24 BroadwayWisconsin Dells 53965
Phone:
(608) 253-2628
Open:
Year-round
Hours:
Sun - Thurs: 11 AM - 2 AM
Fri & Sat: 11 AM - 2:30 AM
Contact:
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Overview

The Showboat Saloon is both a locals’ and tourists’ good time destination. It’s the summertime home of The Swing Crew, and a Karaoke hotspot for over 20 years. Come visit us this winter, too, as we have live music and great specials year round!

Classic Experience

Showboat Saloon has anchored the corner of Broadway and La Crosse Streets since 1907. While it’s always housed a bar, local lore has it that it was a speakeasy in the basement that served up alcoholic beverages during Prohibition. Today, it’s the summertime home of The Swing Crew and a perennial Karaoke hotspot.  There's live music in the winter months too.  Both locals and tourists recommend it for classic beverages and easy-going fun.  Check their events calendar online.

 
Convention Overview
The Showboat Saloon has been a Wisconsin Dells classic for over 20 years. Add it to your itinerary, map the location, get more info & see nearby attractions.
     
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    Classic Wisconsin Dells
    Classic Wisconsin Dells
    Showboat Saloon Videos
     
    Classic Wisconsin Dells
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    Showboat Saloon Stories
    2012-01-30I met my husband in that town and he proposed to my at the Showboat. We are getting ready to celebrate our 17 th anniversary. I will never forget my happiest memories were spent there. Thank you for letting me share
    -Tina 

    Have you been to Showboat Saloon?

    Add Your Story
    Showboat Saloon Articles
    What's Up With That Restaurant?2010-04-01Quirky places to plunk down for a great meal.Read More
    What's Up With That Restaurant?
    2010-04-01

    monks-wisconsin-dells-restaurants-23Monk's Bar & Grill

    Let's start with the original Monk's Bar & Grill located in Downtown Wisconsin Dells, named after Monk Heineke. What makes Monk's one of the memorable restaurants in Wisconsin Dells aside from the best burgers in the Dells, is the University of Wisconsin Badgers' memorabilia. It's a shrine to the red-and-white because Monk's sons played football for UW-Madison back in the late 1950s.

    Showboat Saloon - Wisconsin Dells Bars

    Showboat Saloon

    Just down the street is the Showboat Saloon, with its Tug's Kitchen restaurant. Located in a 100-year old building with a distinctive wedge shape, Showboat's always housed a bar, except during Prohibition, although some say drinks were still available through a speakeasy in the basement of this Wisconsin Dells restaurant and bar.

    Mr. Pancake - Wisconsin Dells Restaurants

    Mr. Pancake

    The landlocked Mr. Pancake restaurant in Wisconsin Dells looks like a paddlewheel boat. Why? Because the owners wanted to give patrons the feel of "dining on the water."

    Paul Bunyans Dells Restaurants

    Paul Bunyan's Northwoods Cook Shanty

    If you're into "muffler men" -- those big fiberglass statues that dot the American landscape -- then pull up to Paul Bunyan's Northwoods Cook Shanty, where good ol' Paul towers over this establishment.

    So, now you know!

     

    View Article
    New Document2009-10-01Sure, the waterslides here can be plenty scary, what with precipitous drops of hundreds of feet at near vertical angles. But in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, "The Waterpark Capital of the World!®", there are some other equally scary things going on, from ghost sightings to haunted river tours, all juicy adventures leading in to Halloween 2009.Read More
    New Document
    2009-10-01

    Stories of Apparitions In The Dells

    Every town has its tales of ghosts, some the product of overactive teenage imaginations, but some just plain difficult to dismiss. Take the historic Showboat Saloon, a 100-year-old wedge-shaped building located at 24 Broadway in downtown Wisconsin Dells, that's long been regarded as haunted. Employees tell stories of the ghost of a past resident, believed to be named Molly, who haunts the upstairs kitchen, opening and closing doors and fiddling with appliances. She's non-threatening, but her appearances have understandably spooked staff, including kitchen manager Dave Pugh, who once lived upstairs. As he tells it, "It was eight years ago, early morning and I heard the door open and close and then felt someone tickling the bottom of my feet. When I opened my eyes, no one was there." Current owner of Showboat Saloon, Jesse DeFosse, says he no longer allows people to live upstairs because "too many strange things were happening." The bar area has apparently seen some supernatural activity too, with stories of human forms in turn-of-the-century clothing materializing in mirrors, sometimes appearing to be walking along the bar toward the exit door. Some say a strange voice has been heard numerous times near the stage area. In the cellar, unusual cold spots are apparent and employees have been known to experience feelings of nausea and sudden anxiety in this area. One little disclaimer - the sightings seem to happen after 3 a.m.

    Others in the community say the ghost of riverboat captain Leroy Gates haunts the waters of the Wisconsin River. More than 150 years ago, visitors first came to the Dells for up-close tours of the craggy sandstone cliffs that tower over the river. One of those first entrepreneurs to see the sightseeing potential in the waterway was lumber rafter Leroy Gates. In 1856, he took out an ad declaring he had purchased a boat for the purpose of touring occult caves of the Dells. Gates met his death on September 8, 1895, but not before he carved in the sandstone bluffs an inscription that would preserve his place in Dells history forever: "Leroy Gates, Dells & River Pilot, from 1849 to 1858."

    Then there's Belle Boyd, famous Confederate spy who spent her final days in Wisconsin Dells. As the story goes, Boyd, who hailed from Virginia, bravely aided Confederate generals, using her flirtatious charms to get information from a Union general's aide, even setting out on horseback that same night to personally deliver her findings. By the end of the war, she traveled the country to present dramatic narratives of her spying adventures. On June 9, 1900, she arrived in Wisconsin Dells to give a speech to veterans of the Union Army. Two days later, at the age of 56, she suffered a fatal heart attack. Her gravesite in the Wisconsin Dells' Spring Hill Cemetery was completed with stones from each of the Confederate states. Some claim her ghost wanders the paths of the cemetery yet today.

    Apparently there is also a ghost haunting Highway 12 between Lake Delton and Baraboo. The man, dressed in a green jacket and seemingly transparent, is said to be hitchhiking, disappearing and then reappearing out of nowhere farther down the road. Drive carefully!

    Wisconsin Dells Haunts - Showboat Saloon

    More Dells Ghost Lore

    The demise of two hotels, both burned to the ground, show up in haunted tales of Wisconsin Dells. The Crandall Hotel, a popular vacation spot in the late 1800s for travelers who got off at the downtown train station across the street, was run by George Humphrey Crandall. Crandall was lauded for his efforts to preserve the natural beauty of the area and was also owner of the Dells Boat Company. The hotel burned down in 1974, but, as folklore has it, ghosts of hotel guests still roam the grounds where the hotel once stood on the 800 block of River Road.

    The infamous Dell House was built in 1837, just beyond a harrowing bend in the Wisconsin River called the Narrows, at the southern tip of Black Hawk's Island. The story goes this was not a "classy establishment," but rather a place that catered to the basic needs of rough river men who came there - food, a place to sleep, bad whiskey, gambling and women. Fights were not uncommon, and some unlucky patrons were rumored to have found their final resting place on the muddy bottom of the nearby Wisconsin River. The days of river traffic came and went and the Dell House was abandoned. Tourists brave enough to camp near the site spread tales of mysterious sounds like pounding footsteps, cursing and breaking glass and shadowy figures slipping past the trees. The building burned to the ground in 1899, with the ruins engulfed by the surrounding forest.

    The Ghost Town of Newport

    On the Wisconsin River just over a mile from the current city of Wisconsin Dells, the village of Newport sprung up in 1853, as several thousand settled here after hearing the Milwaukee and La Crosse Railroad would cross the river at this spot. When the bridge and dam ended up being located a mile upstream after an alleged secret moonlight survey, Newport became a virtual ghost town in favor of Kilbourn City, known today as Wisconsin Dells. Only Dawn Manor, a grand mansion built in 1855 by Captain Abraham Vanderpoel, signer of the Wisconsin Constitution, remains as a reminder of Newport. The building now houses the art collection of George Raab, one of Wisconsin's famous artists.

    Modern Day Halloween In The Dells - Scary But Fun

    Area businesses are getting into the fun (or should we say fright) of Halloween this year with some new offerings. Dells Boat Tours is bringing visitors the first-ever "Ghost Boat Tours" of the Wisconsin River. This 90-minute cruise runs every Friday and Saturday in October and departs at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. from the Dells Boat Tour's Drinker Dock on River Road just two blocks north of Broadway in downtown Wisconsin Dells. The Ghost Boat will wind its way to Witches Gulch where passengers will disembark and sneak along the narrow boardwalk as it winds deep into the darkened gorge. The tour will also take passengers past the spot where the Dell House once stood, with the tour script drawing from both the history and folklore of the area. This after-dark tour is not recommended for children under the age of 11.

    The Wilderness Hotel & Golf Resort opens its new haunted Tombstone Town Haunted Hotel & Livery on October 10. Located off a lobby area, visitors can explore the town's spooky saloon, a ghostly guest room, creepy attic and haunted jail. There's also a maddening mine shaft mirror maze. The attraction open exclusively to resort guests.

    Chula Vista Resort, set along the Upper Dells of the Wisconsin River shoreline, is featuring "Spooktober" every weekend in October with performances by illusionist Jeremy Allen and a Monster Mash Halloween night.

    Less than a half hour from Wisconsin Dells in nearby Mauston, Red Ridge Ranch Riding Stable will have haunted hayrides and a haunted corn maze Friday and Saturday nights from dusk to 10 p.m. beginning October 2 and running through the end of the month. Their web site cautions guests to beware "the headless horseman rides again."

    Wisconsin Dells Scenic Tours - Dells Boat Tours
    View Article
    Bona Fide Haunted, Frightening Fabrications, The Dells Does Halloween In A Big Way2014-10-01Experience Halloween in Wisconsin Dells.Read More
    Bona Fide Haunted, Frightening Fabrications, The Dells Does Halloween In A Big Way
    2014-10-01

    ShowboatGhost Stories That Get You Thinking

    Here's a disclaimer: Don't read this if the idea of poltergeist makes you uneasy. O.K., with that out of the way, let's take a little tour of places in Wisconsin Dells that are purported to be haunted. First, there's the historic Showboat Saloon, a 100-year-old wedge-shaped building located at 24 Broadway in downtown Wisconsin Dells. It's long been regarded as haunted by a past resident – her name is Molly – and she favors the upstairs kitchen, opening and closing doors and fiddling with appliances. Her appearances became so regular that the current owner no longer allows people to rent out the upstairs apartment. The bar area has apparently been the scene of some supernatural activity too, with stories of human forms in turn-of-the-century clothing materializing in mirrors. Some say a strange voice has been heard numerous times near the stage area. In the cellar, unusual cold spots are apparent and employees have been known to experience feelings of nausea and sudden anxiety in this area.

    Others in the community say the ghost of lumber rafter turned riverboat captain Leroy Gates haunts the waters of the Wisconsin River. Gates was one of the first entrepreneurs to see the potential in sightseeing tours for the area and in 1856 he took out an ad declaring he had purchased a boat for the purpose of touring occult caves of the Dells. Gates met his death on September 8, 1895, but his apparition apparently didn't get the memo.

    Then there's Belle Boyd, famous Confederate spy who spent her final days in Wisconsin Dells. As the story goes, Boyd, who hailed from Virginia, aided Confederate generals using her flirtatious charms to get information from a Union general's aide. At the end of the war, she traveled the country to present dramatic narratives of her spying adventures. On June 9, 1900, she arrived in Wisconsin Dells to give a speech to veterans of the Union Army. Two days later, at the age of 56, she suffered a fatal heart attack. Her gravesite in the Wisconsin Dells Spring Hill Cemetery was completed with stones from each of the Confederate states. Some claim her ghost wanders the paths of the cemetery yet today.

    TombstoneFrighteningly Good Times

    If all that ghost talk gives you the heebie-jeebies, perhaps you'd have more fun exploring manmade attractions dedicated to scaring visitors. The Ghost Out-Post Haunted House has more than a dozen bone-chilling animatronics-filled chambers. It's open daily through the end of October, then on the weekends after that. Note – this attraction is not intended for little ones afraid of the dark.

    The Wilderness Hotel & Golf Resort sure knows how to celebrate Halloween! The whole month of October is filled with family friendly activities such as wagon rides, trick or treat trail and Ken-Ducky Derby Halloween Duck Races. Don't miss their Family Halloween Costume Party on October 31st, featuring a costume contest with prizes for all winners. 

    The October calendar looks eerily appealing too at many of the Wisconsin Dells Waterpark Resorts. Throughout the month there are various haunting activities such as hayrides, mazes, trick or treating and more.

    One other not-to-be-missed attraction is the vampire exhibit at Ripley's Believe It or Not! Museum. Look for the secret passageway and also allot time to bone up on your vampire trivia while you're there.

    Ghost BoatGhost Tours by Land and by Sea

    The Ghost Boat Tours of the Wisconsin River take passengers on an eerie after-dark excursion to Witches Gulch. Boats depart from the Dells Boat Tours® main dock at 11 Broadway in Downtown Dells, where even the historic ticket building will be decked out for Halloween. Upon arriving at Witches Gulch, passengers will disembark and snake along a narrow boardwalk leading deep into the darkened gorge. This after-dark tour, which runs Friday and Saturday evenings through Halloween weekend, is not recommended for children under the age of 11. Reservations are required and can be made by calling Dells Boat Tours® at (608) 254-8555.

    Hayrides and Mazes and Zip Lines, Oh My

    Less than a half hour from Wisconsin Dells in nearby Mauston, Red Ridge Ranch will have haunted hayrides and a haunted corn maze Friday and Saturday nights from dusk to 10 p.m. through the end of October. Weekday activities are a little less scary and include pumpkin painting and a petting zoo.

    If you like zip lining during the day, you’ll be screaming with delight knowing you can now zip by the light of the moon at the Moonlight Canyon Zip Line Tour at the Wilderness Hotel & Golf Resort. The tour spans six towers, with the longest run 907 feet. You'll be 55 feet above the floor of Lost Canyon. Tours continue through the fall, weather permitting. Advanced reservations are required at (800) 867-9453. Whee!

    Looking to get lost in a corn maze? Stop by Chula Vista Resort’s 7-acre cornfield. It’s open (weather permitting) Friday - Sunday. In October, the corn maze features zombie events. Attendees are encouraged to dress up in their best zombie costume. Chula Vista also has a GPS and trivia game app for smartphones. Download it, and you will be given clues that help guide you through the maze. Isn’t that nifty?

    Scary Good Deals

    For details on all the businesses listed above and up-to-the-minute information on special deals and packages, visitors can head right to our deals page!

     

    View Article
    Make It A Grown-up Getaway 2011-08-01While Wisconsin Dells built its reputation on family-friendly offerings, there’s nothing to say you can’t vacation here without the kids. In fact, there’s lots to suggest you should.Read More
    Make It A Grown-up Getaway
    2011-08-01

    While Wisconsin Dells built its reputation on family-friendly offerings, there’s nothing to say you can’t vacation here without the kids. In fact, there’s lots to suggest you should.

    For golfers, there are six courses in all and three of them are critically acclaimed championship courses. Wild Rock Golf Club is built around and through a former quarry and Links, Golf Digest and Golf magazines all rated it among the top 10 new courses for 2008. Trappers Turn Golf Club and Cold Water Canyon Golf Course at Chula Vista Resort complete the trio.

    Some say golf and spa is a natural twosome. If you agree, rent one of Sundara Inn & Spa’s private villas overlooking the Wild Rock course and make time for a golfer’s massage and a dip in their heated outdoor infinity pool. At Chula Vista Resort, their golf villas also overlook the fairway and are within easy walking distance of the clubhouse. There’s a spa on-premise here too, Spa Del Sol, where the Couples Massage Flame Experience, which uses a flame-warmed essential oil, is the newest addition to their menu of services.

    Now that you’re feeling warm on the outside, feel all warm in the inside with some wine tastings. Wollersheim Winery in nearby Prairie du Sac is breathtaking, with steep vineyards overlooking the Wisconsin River and historic buildings making up the estate. French winemaker Philippe Coquard deserves a clink of the glasses for his ability to combine European tradition with Wisconsin’s fickle growing season in the production of distinctive award-winning wines. Fawn Creek Winery in Wisconsin Dells also has a fine selection of wines and a micro menu of olive trays, artisan cheese flights, breads with dipping oils and even Wisconsin microbrews that are just too tempting to pass up.

    Let’s stick with microbrews for a moment longer. Moosejaw Pizza & Dells Brewing Co. serves up 10 hand-crafted beers. Take a peek at their copper-clad barrels, then ask for the brewmaster’s recommendation for a seasonal brew. They also make a mean root beer.

    Moving from microbrews to munching, when you’re without the kids you should make dinner out a special occasion. Try one of the area’s well-respected supper clubs.  The Del-Bar has been around since the 1940s and only gets better with age. With its Prairie-style architecture, expansive wine cellar and exquisitely prepared steaks, it’s a special treat. Other places with great ambiance and equally great steaks are Field’s at the Wilderness, House of Embers, Kaminski Bros. Chop House, Ishnala Supper Club and Copper Oak Steak House at Ho-Chunk Gaming, Wisconsin Dells.

    Imagine shopping without children in tow. You can linger in jewelry boutiques like Artistic Expression Gift Gallery, selecting from among the works of 150 artists. You can try on outfit after designer outfit at Alpha Beta Karma. You can pick out that piece of artwork that calls to you at places like Holiday House and Cranberry Connections. Better bring along a friend to help carry all the bags.

    Gather some energy for a night out. Ho-Chunk Gaming has slots, Black Jack and bingo. Their newest table game is Baccarat. Other nightlife in the Dells comes in other forms too, like comedy or music. For music, the dueling pianos act at Monk’s at the Wilderness is a hoot. And Marley’s – A Taste of the Caribbean turns into a hot-spot dance club at night. One venue that offers both laughs and music acts is Crystal Grand Music Theatre. If you’re in the mood for a nightcap, head to Showboat Saloon, Sand Bar or Zap’s Tap to name a few of the local’s favorites.

    Here’s one surprise recommendation for your trip without kids - play at the waterparks. When it’s just the grown-ups, you can ride all the daring slides, float the lazy river as long as you want, and rent a decked-out private poolside cabana at one of the waterpark resorts, like the new Grand Cabana at the Kalahari Waterpark Resort Convention Center where you can lounge in your own private 12-foot-long hot tub.

     

    View Article
    Date Night in the Dells2013-01-11What, you’ve only been to Wisconsin Dells, the waterpark capital of the world, for family vacations? Well, then, you’re in for a pleasant surprise, because this community is an up-and-comer for couples who believe in the concept of scheduled date nights.Read More
    Date Night in the Dells
    2013-01-11

    In the hustle and bustle of life - you know what we're talking about here, as in two demanding careers, perhaps two kids and two dogs, always going in two separate directions because you simply have too many things to do and not enough time to do it in - the joy of spending time together as a two-some often takes a back seat to everything else.  Time to reverse that trend with a date night in the Dells.

    What, you've only been to Wisconsin Dells, the waterpark capital of the world, for family vacations?

    Well, then, you're in for a pleasant surprise, because this community is an up-and-comer for couples who believe in the concept of scheduled date nights.  Consider one of these itineraries:

    Dinner and Dancing: Get dressed up for a romantic dinner for two at one of the area's classic Wisconsin supper clubs. All that incredible food will energize you for a night of dancing at hip and happening clubs like The Reef at Marley's or Showboat Saloon.

    Shopping and a Show: Show her you love her with a bauble from an area jewelry store or a sweet treat from a confectionary.  Show him you love him with a pair of classic Minnetonka driving moccasins or a sports print of his favorite team.  Sip, then buy the wine you both love best from Wollersheim Winery and Fawn Creek Winery.  Those purchases would be in addition to the tickets you already have for a show at Crystal Grand Music Theatre. 

    Swimming and Spa-ing: Swim outside at Sundara Inn & Spa and Chula Vista Resort - their hot spring-inspired spa pools are heated year-round - then head inside for soothing spa services.

    Golf and Gaming: Why wait until spring to plan a golf date when you can reserve some practice time together thanks to indoor golf simulators at the Kahalahari Resort and the Wilderness Resort.  A few rounds of indoor mini-golf with the one you love can be a sweet gesture too.  Pair that afternoon of golf with a night out of slots and blackjack at Ho-Chunk Gaming.  

    As for where to stay, pick an option that suits your date-night style - cozy cabin in the woods, quiet B&B, luxe villa, spacious waterpark resort suite (News Flash:  The Kalahari Resort has the state's first swim-up bar.) 

    Get that date night on the calendar already!

     

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    Wisconsin Dells Visitor & Convention Bureau

    701 Superior Street, PO Box 390
    Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965-0390
    (800) 223-3557
    (608) 254-4293 (Fax)
     

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