Serving up nostalgia: Northstar Speakeasy to open in former CK Dudley's location

Starting Feb. 11, the restaurant in the former CK Dudley's location will reopen as The Northstar Speakeasy and owners Brian and Brittaney Winter hope to recreate nostalgia of days gone by.

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Brian, Juel and Brittaney Winter are ready to open the Northstar Speakeasy in the former CK Dudley's location at 6405 Bemidji Ave. N. on Saturday, Feb. 11.
Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI — By all accounts, the Oasis Night Club was a roaring place for Bemidjians and tourists to dine, dance and gather.

Next weekend the building that has housed a half dozen restaurants at 6405 Bemidji Ave. N. will reopen as The Northstar Speakeasy, and owners Brian and Brittaney Winter hope to recreate some of the nostalgia of days gone by.

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The property at 6405 Bemidji Ave. N. has been home to several establishments. It first housed the Oasis Night Club, which opened in 1932. A fire destroyed the original building in 1936, after which the present structure was built.
Dennis Doeden / Bemidji Pioneer

“We just kind of came up with the name just to bring out the history of the building,” Brian said during a break from remodeling work this week. “We thought of names back from that era. The name goes with our decor, which is going to be that prohibition, roaring ’20s kind of feel.”

The Winters have purchased the former CK Dudley’s restaurant and bar from Shawn Dudley, who has owned it since 2016. Brian, a former corrections officer, was general manager of CK Dudley’s for about five months before the purchase. Brittaney has been a bartender and server at the restaurant for about 18 months. Their teenage daughter, Juel, will join them on the Northstar staff.

Brian said he will handle bookkeeping and day-to-day operations, while Brittaney will serve as manager. They said the kitchen staff will remain the same and most other CK Dudley’s employees will remain. They plan to change the name of the lower-level Peanut Room to The Hideout, in keeping with the speakeasy theme.


The Winters don’t plan to make major changes to the menu, which includes meats from an on-site smoker. They do plan to offer more steak choices.

“Around Bemidji there’s just not a lot of places that offer more than one or two options for steak,” Brian said, “so we’re definitely going to try to do that.”

The Northstar Speakeasy, which opens on Saturday, Feb. 11, will continue CK Dudley’s practice of giving discounts to military and law enforcement personnel. Brian was deployed to combat missions in Bosnia and Iraq as a member of the National Guard after graduating from Bemidji High School.

The Northstar Speakeasy will open on Saturday, Feb. 11 at 6405 Bemidji Ave. N.

The property four miles north of downtown Bemidji has been home to several establishments over the years. After it was known as the Oasis, it became THE Chez-Marcel until Noel and Geneva Vanasse took over and named it Noel’s Supper Club in 1968. In recent years it was called Northwoods Steakhouse and The Cattails.

A story in the Dec. 7, 1942, edition of the Bemidji Pioneer reported that the Oasis opened in 1932 and for many years was “the center of nightlife in the Bemidji area.” It hosted a variety of musicians, including the popular Dot Van Orchestra led by the daughter of Beltrami County Sheriff Alvin Hazen.

A fire destroyed the original building in 1936, and the present building was erected, the Pioneer reported.

Dennis Doeden, former publisher of the Bemidji Pioneer, is a feature reporter. He is a graduate of Metropolitan State University with a degree in Communications Management.
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