A tropical escape from the Midwestern winter can be found by looking no further than Warsaw's Clipper Bar

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By: Tom Westerhof

Flavor 574 photo/Tom Westerhof

You know those places you discover and you’re hesitant to tell anyone about in a selfish gesture to keep them to yourself? That’s how I feel about Warsaw’s Clipper Bar, part of the Noa Noa / Spike’s Beach Grill complex on the east side of town.

The fact that it exists isn’t a secret — go to the Clipper Bar on one of the volleyball nights that Spike’s hosts or on the weekend and you’ll have a hard time finding a seat. What surprises people is that it’s open through the winter months. That’s the little tidbit that we’ll have to keep between ourselves, okay?

Specializing in “old school Southern pit barbecue,” the Clipper Bar opened in 2012 to give patrons of Spike’s and Noa Noa a place to go during the long winter months. With a slightly weathered motif reminiscent of beach bars you might find along the Outer Banks in North Carolina, the Clipper Bar offers its customers a menu full of barbecue. Among the offerings are the sliced brisket and smoked sausage sandwiches and plates such as pulled pork and grilled BBQ salmon. Sides are also available (order a plate and you get the choice of two sides, otherwise they’re $2.50 each) and include mac and cheese and BBQ beans.

My choice for the evening was the pulled pork plate which, along with its two heaping orders of sides, was a dish that could have easily been shared between two people. It was delivered with four choices of sauces to drench the pork with: Memphis-style BBQ, South Carolina-style Honey Mustard, North Carolina-style vinegar and spicy Memphis. I sampled all four of the sauces, but the traditionalist in me kept going back to the Memphis-style BBQ. If you don’t finish your plate, don’t worry. The servers will give you a cup to fill with your favorite sauce, ensuring that your pulled pork can be enjoyed appropriately at home.

The Clipper Bar has an extensive cocktail menu to help wash everything down. Offering classic tropical drinks from the Spike’s Dive Bar menu such as the Rum Runner, the Painkiller and mojitos, the Clipper Bar also has its own cocktail menu with personal favorites the Blackberry Bramble — a delightfully refreshing concoction of blackberry whiskey, ginger ale and fresh lemon — and the vodka-based Clipper Lemonade.

Also featuring menu items from Noa Noa (including their exceptional sushi), the Clipper Bar gives patrons a dining option for those evenings when the main restaurant is too crowded or a more relaxed and laid back atmosphere is desired.

If you haven’t been there before, it could be a little hard to find so here’s the easiest way to find it. Go to Noa Noa, and before you enter the front door there will be a small sign for the Clipper Bar. Follow the wooden walkway to the right as it winds around behind Noa Noa and you’ll find the bar. During the winter months, it’s open from 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and from 5 to 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Noa Noa, Spike’s Beach Grill and Clipper Bar are located at 310 Eastlake Drive, Warsaw.

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