Alaskan Pipeline bar to be torn down, replaced with gas station

The Alaskan Pipeline bar in Schererville will be torn down to make room for a Circle K gas station.

A woman posted on Facebook that she visited The Alaskan Pipeline bar in Schererville in 2012 and a friend was incredulous, saying she thought it shut down.

The woman responded that it reopened last year and "you know that place will never go away."

That's a sentiment many may have had about the landmark bar on U.S. 30, but it will soon disappear from the Region landscape.

Alaskan Pipeline at 200 East U.S. 30 has been closed for more than a year, is now being used for semi-truck parking, and will be torn down to make way for a Circle K gas station, Schererville Town Manager Robert Volkmann said. El Paso, Texas-based fuel station chain Circle K, which has more than 8,000 locations internationally, is planning a multimillion-dollar investment in a gas station, convenience store and car wash that would be right across the street from a rival Speedway.

Circle K, which is known for its supersized Polar Pops, plans to build a 4,600-square-foot brick building with 10 fueling stations outside.

"The bar could come down any time," Volkmann said. "It should happen soon."

The Alaskan Pipeline opened in Schererville in 1983, according to the small business intelligence service Manta. It was well-known for its distinctive logo of an eagle clutching a wrench in its talons and opening a pipeline so it could pour beer in a frosty mug.

The bar held live concerts, pool tournaments and karaoke, according to Times archives. It was home to one of Schererville's first recycling bins in the early 1990s, a time when recycling was still in its infancy and people had to drive somewhere to dump recyclables because there was not yet curbside pickup.

The Alaskan Pipeline also was infamous for hosting male dancers and live lingerie shows. The Indiana State Police arrested two women there for public indecency in 1992 because their see-through outfits were too revealing, according to Times archives.

The owners wanted to expand and open an Alaskan Pipeline II in Lowell, but residents, clergy and businesses opposed the plan because of the prospect of nudity.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation raided the Alaskan Pipeline in Schererville and seized two video poker machines in 1996, during a county-wide crackdown on illegal gambling that tavern owners said was tied to the dawn of riverboat gambling on Lake Michigan.

In 2007, a long-haired, goateed biker climbed up on a bar stool and took a mounted mule head down from the wall, speeding off with it on his Harley-Davidson. The owner offered a $200 reward for the mule, which was named Dusty, according to Times archives.

Volkmann said it was good to see some development replace the bar, which has fallen into disrepair and greets motorists on U.S. 30 with a fading, cracked street sign that simply says, "USA."

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Business reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.