Welcome to Dingman's Tavern
It all started in 1952, when Mabel and Earl Dingman purchased the building from Gerald and Gertude Kowkol. The Kowkols had built the original building in 1948 and operated it as a party store. Mabel and Earl came from the Flint area and wanted to open a local tavern. So the party store became Dingman’s Bar.
Mabel was a very astute businesswoman and even won the “Businesswoman of the Year” award twice. She also organized the first all female bear hunt club. Many children watched movies on an outside movie screen while Mom and Dad socialized in the bar. Dingman’s Bar was the first place to have a phone in the area allowing people come in to the bar to make and receive phone calls once again while socializing in the bar.
Mabel also bought one of the first snowmobiles in the area and would loan it out for local residents to use.
Mabel’s imagination lead to the first “bare” sandwich. You thought you were ordering a bear meat sandwich but you actually received were two sliced of bread and nothing in between!
In 1965 Bill and Hazel Veldman purchased Dingman’s bar from Mabel. The business was growing and Bill and Hazel saw the need for a larger bar, and added on the first addition to the bar. A map of the Bear lake area was painted on the ceiling and if you wanted to find out where someone lived, all you had to do was come in and find the house on the ceiling!
In 1971 Eileen Ryska purchased the bar from the Veldmans. Eileen also experienced growth and placed a second addition onto the bar. She brought draft beer into Dingman’s for the very first time. Eileen is still a trusted friend and voice of experience of Dingman’s Bar and an active and respected member of our community. Look around - she may be here and tell you a story!
In 1978 Ruth Egeler bought the bar from Eileen. After Ruth’s passing, Carl “Shorty” Egeler ran the bar for the next 15 years. Shorty held the first fundraising event for Michigan Special Olympics in 1992. In 1993, Pat “Pops” Modos bought the bar and his son, Pat, moved up from downstate to manage the bar while Pops and Pam continued to work for Ford Motor Company. They continued with fundraising activities for Special Olympics through the Wertz Warriors. Pat Jr. became a riding member of the Wertz Warriors Snowmobile Club. They also raised money for Crawford County Animal shelter, POWs/MIAs and Make a Wish foundation. With such avid fundraising for our local community, they decided to build an outdoor pavilion, as well as an outdoor bar. In 2008, after 15 years, Pops and Pam decided to retire and they sold the bar to Bob and Karren Laurence - your hosts.
Since then we have been busy renovating the bar. Almost everything you can see and many things you can’t is either new or updated, with much care to keep the distinctive up north feel. Our kitchen, menu and draft system has expanded as well, and we always have a large selection of ice cold bottled beers and many Michigan Brews. We are proud to continue to fundraise for The Wertz Warriors - You can look online at our website or on Facebook for one of our many yearly events. In the 2010/2011 Winter season the staff of Dingman’s Bar sold the most Snowmobiles for SOMI at over 1700 – At least as far as our Wertz Warrior can tell!! We are active Snowmobilers and ORV riders when we can and enjoy volunteering for our local trail systems.
So don’t just look around our beautiful area - get out in it! You’ll be sure to enjoy it. And while you’re here you are always welcome at Dingman’s Bar -