COVID-19 forced a lot of people in the bar & restaurant business to switch professions. Lockdown and restrictions lead to less of a demand for those people who've been in the industry and know their profession. Now, on the other side of things as restrictions have been lifted and people are dining out again, we've seen a tremendous labor shortage.

Just about every bar or restaurant has a help wanted sign up. Most, if not all, have had to reduce their hours of operations to give their precious staff time off so they don't burn out. I recently was on a 4 day motorcycle trip. We obviously packed light and couldn't bring a bunch of food with us. We were going to rely on side of the road bars and restaurants to get a bite to eat. Boy was that a mistake. Half of the places were closed, some of them didn't have cook staff, and others didn't seem to care that we were even visiting their business.

It's been a bit frustrating lately, so when I see a place that provides a positive experience I feel the need to share it. A couple weeks ago I had a great experience at a little bar on Highway 53 that has a great Bloody Mary. While that was a great experience, I was even more impressed with this place in Washburn.

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We stopped at a downtown bar in Ashland to try to get a burger and a beer. We quickly realized that this was going to be a problem as we walked in and realized the Packers were playing. Every bar was going to be packed. We got a drink, assessed the situation, and ultimately decided to go somewhere else.

I had remembered that years ago there was this bar in Washburn that had a pretty good burger, so we headed just a few miles up the road to Patsy's. I noticed as we pulled up that this place was packed too. We walked in and there wasn't an open seat in the house. It was full for the packers game. Now what were we going to do? We went back out in the parking lot to try to find somewhere else because we were starving!

Ken Hayes
Ken Hayes

Good news for us was that the Packers were playing horribly, and some people started to get fed up and left the bar so we ran in and got a table. Still, I had a feeling that this was going to be a long wait. Also to note, while I would consider this a dive bar, it's because it's cozy and has that small town bar feeling. It's very clean, FYI.

A couple minutes went by, and to be honest I wasn't sure if they had a waitress or you just walked up to the bar so I approached the bar and asked if there was a waitress. Yes, she'll be right with you.

About 30 seconds later the bartender came over and got us drinks immediately. The waitress came by and took our order. I don't think it was even 10 minutes and our food was coming out.

Ken Hayes
Ken Hayes


They came by several times to check on us and we never had to wait for a drink. This was the best service I've had in YEARS. Literally years. The food was pretty darn good too. I left a 25% tip and happily went on my way. We chatted with the bartender and I told him how great the service was. I don't remember his name, but remember he took a lot of pride in his little town of Washburn and Patsy's Bar. Well done guys, well done.

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