Is Yankton's 'Ice House' the Best Dive Bar in South Dakota?

One writer for Only in Your State, and another from Thrillist apparently think so. What I can tell you, as a 16-year former resident of the small town of Yankton, South Dakota, is that- - the Ice House (or Pure Ice Company) was and still is a gathering place for people from all walks of life.

If you spent any time in Yankton as a high school kid in the 1970s, you were down at the old Ice House pretty often. No names will be used here, to protect the innocent and the guilty.

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I'm not ratting anyone out, but there were several occasions where attempts to purchase beer failed for one reason or another.

The Ice House was built in 1928 by a gentleman named John Keller. It was the first place in the Yankton area to artificially produce ice using refrigeration and for that, it has national recognition.

When Prohibition ended, (not a moment too soon!) the Ice House began selling beer. It still does and is one of the few places that offers carhop service. You can drive up and honk they'll bring your beer bucket right to your car.

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But what makes the Ice House a legend is the dock and what's under it. Patrons love sitting on the dock in good and not-so-good weather and then are encouraged to smash their bottles on the wall under the deck. This tradition apparently began when I was one of those 1970s high school kids.

All this activity led to the dock and wall being replaced in 2017 because of the damage from all that smashing.

The same family has owned The Ice House for over 90 years and it has become a popular place for wedding photos, reunions, and more, as the profile of the famous Yankton Ice House just continues to grow!

Check it, and the great view of the Missouri River, out for yourself, next time you're in Yankton, at 101 Capital Street, or take a look at their Facebook page.

Sources: Only In Your State, Thrillist, Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan, Visit Yankton South Dakota, and 605 Magazine

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