College is guaranteed to teach a few lessons: various preparations of Top Ramen, basic techniques of hacky sack, and, of course, where to find affordable drinks and cheap food.
So it's no wonder Anchorage's collegiate set has long loved Blue Fox (3461 E. Tudor Road). It's conveniently close to campus. But the no-frills, mellow-vibed joint also offers daily food specials that allow a cash-strapped clubber to grub for pocket-change prices.
After 32 years of business, Blue Fox is older than most of its clientele. But don't write this off as a college-kids-only bar. Dart-leaguers, pool-shooters and long-time patrons also make up a healthy portion of Blue Fox's crowd.
Sandwiched between a barber shop and a Chinese restaurant, the bar would be easy to miss. But overlooking it would be a major budgeting boo-boo.
On Friday nights, tacos cost just 75 cents. Thursdays, appetizers are two for one. They're half-price Mondays. Tuesdays, buffalo wings cost just $3. And Tuesdays to Saturdays, from 4 to 8:45 p.m., you can nab a juicy 16-ounce New York steak with sliced tomatoes on lettuce and a side of fries for just $12.99.
Early Sunday afternoons actually afford some of Blue Fox's best bargains. While at the bar on a recent Friday night, I saw the tantalizing signs: biscuits and gravy or eggs Benedict for just $1.99, between noon and 2 p.m.
I had to check it out.
Come Sunday, I rounded up a pair of hungry, non-hungover pals. We pulled up bucket seats to a low round table at Blue Fox, sipped mild $1 coffees and ordered some breakfast. The bartender who waited on us was attentive and motherly, topping off our caffeinated beverages and boldly talking up the breakfast offerings.
She wasn't over-selling. We devoured the two doughy biscuits that came halved, smothered in hearty sausage gravy. Alas, the advertised eggs Benedict wasn't available, leaving my vegetarian pal to sort through the regular menu and ultimately order a side of relatively plain shoestring fries.
Perhaps bars seem an odd place when considering a breakfast outing. But at Blue Fox, the ambiance was decidedly low-key. In fact, a few college-age girls came in for food and $2 Bloody Marys (that steal of a price is valid only on Sundays from noon to 2 p.m.); One of them wore flannel pajama bottoms.
The establishment isn't huge. Yet it offers plenty of cozy semi-secluded corners for deep talks. Blue Fox also has dart boards, a pool table, pinball, a capable jukebox, plenty of TV screens and karaoke on weekend evenings.
Don't expect anything fancy. The bar's age shows in its broken-in, well-worn aura, and the stuffed animal heads on the walls scream Alaskana.
But if you're just looking for a laid-back place to lounge -- and especially if you're hungry and low on cash -- there really doesn't seem to be a bad time to visit Blue Fox.
-- by Katie Pesznecker