Old West Saloons

Old West SaloonsAn Authentic Old West Saloon is Right Here in Tombstone!

Old West saloons were about the first place in town to open...

Businesses in any new settlement catered to immediate needs. After a hard work day, or for newcomers to town - the saloon was a meeting place, a place to relax.

Customers were nearly all men. It was their means of entertainment. The typical saloon in the old West didn't have bar stools as they do today.

In old photos you'll see customers stood at the bar. Sometimes chairs and tables were in the back. Often a gambling area was set aside. With card tables and chairs.

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Women pioneers didn't feel comfortable in these environments. They didn't have many options in town. Clara Spalding Brown wrote "The ladies of Tombstone are not so liberally provided with entertainment, and find little enjoyment aside from a stroll about town after sunset..." 1 Sometimes they'd go into the more respectable, lavish establishments for sponsored special events. But only if properly escorted.

So glad it's not that way now! Our town - Tombstone AZ - has some wonderful Old West Saloons to visit...

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Old West Saloons
of Tombstone AZ

Like many Old West Towns - Tombstone's founding came from its silver mining operations. Adventurers came to make a living, and perhaps uncover great wealth.

Welcome to the Crystal Palace, Tombstone ArizonaThe Rebuilding of The Golden Eagle Brewery made the fine establishment: The Crystal Palace Saloon of 1882

To support mining interests, other businesses soon followed. They were mercantiles and grocers. For entertainment, quick eats and relaxation the saloons and brothels followed mining towns quickly.

In 1880 Tombstone elected its first mayor. The population steadily increased. By the middle of that year, it had all major conveniences a town of that era would need. That included 18 saloons or bars.


The Most Historical Tombstone AZ Old West Saloon Began as the Golden Eagle Brewery

  • Opening July 1880 on Allen & Fifth by Bernhardt Wehrfritz and the Tribolet brothers. After the May 1882 fire it was rebuilt as the Crystal Palace. 
  • Still in business today. [Read More Here>]
  • The Crystal Palace Saloon is the most authentic old West saloon in town: now an eating and drinking establishment. Still located on that same historic corner of Allen and 5th Streets. 
  • That's been its location from the time it was the Golden Eagle Brewery in 1879. Ben Wehrfritz stayed connected to the business for a long time. But many others were owners through the years.
  • Today the owner is Ms. Kimmie - if you stop in, you might be able to ask her questions yourself! But she has excellent staff, who can detail some historical features of this building.

These other 1800s savory drinking establishments were in town:

  • The Alhambra Saloon on Allen, midway between 4th & 5th Streets. Known as the finest in town, or even all the West, except for San Francisco.
  • The Cosmopolitan Hotel Saloon, completed in July 1880. A fine building for its time. Even with an orange tree garden lining the front along Allen Street.
  • The Oriental Saloon was among the most famous. At the corner of Allen & 5th. Opened by Milton Joyce in the Vizina & Cook building on July 21, 1880.
  • A small bar opened in May 1880 on Fremont Street. Owner, Julius A. Kelly expanded, and reopened on August 6 as Kelly's Wine Rooms.
  • The Grand Hotel Saloon was on the first floor of the deluxe Grand Hotel, fronting on 4th Street. The building took up about a third to half the block on Allen Street. Opening its doors on September 9, 1880.

Almost all drinking establishments offered games of chance of some sort. The most popular were Faro or Keno. Roulette or poker were in the more exclusive places.

Other less opulent Tombstone bars and saloons:

  • D.P. Walsh's Cock Pit Saloon offered cock-fights. Place your wagers!
  • The Arcade Saloon on Allen, between 5th & 6th Streets
  • The E. Fontana Dance Hall was at Fremont & 6th
  • Tivoli Gardens was on Allen Street, between 4th & 5th
  • The Occidental Saloon was popular. On the North side of Allen, midway between 4th and 5th
  • Hafford's Saloon, found at the NE corner of Allen and 4th Streets
  • Campbell & Hatch's was a Billiard Parlor & Saloon. On the North side of Allen, between 4th and 5th. It became notorious because Morgan Earp was shot and killed there
  • There was Thomas Corrigan's Saloon
  • Billy Owen's Saloon was an option
  • Sampling Room Saloon & Bowling Alley, at the SW corner of Allen & 5th

Which of these Old West Saloons do you think would've been your favorite?

Why not try a stay in town - and imagine you're figuring that out? See More>


Other Well-Known Old West Saloons

Throughout the Old West, certain Saloons gained fame and reputation. Gunfighters, notorious lawmen, and famous outlaws drew headlines relating to events in these establishments. Some no longer exist - but their reputation lingers! Others can still be visited today...

The Long Branch Saloon

Long Branch Saloon Opens 1874Long Branch Saloon Opens - 1874
Inside the Long Branch SaloonInside the Long Branch Saloon, Dodge City, Kansas

In Dodge City, Kansas, first built in 1874. It lasted until a fire took it down in 1885.

Chalkley Beeson purchased it in 1878, along with his partner William Harris. Harris designated the name - The Long Branch - after the town where he was from: Long Branch, NJ.

Incidentally, that's the town where my Husband Bill was born (in a hospital long since defunct, crazily called Hazard Hospital!). 

A regular popular feature on the television show, Gunsmoke. In reality, many well-known, historic people frequented the bar and gambling tables. Such men as Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Luke Short and Bat Masterson. Luke Short was an owner when Chalkley Beeson sold out his interest to him in 1883.

Don't Get OUT of Dodge - Get to it!!

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White Elephant Saloon

White Elephant SaloonThe White Elephant Saloon

This Old West Saloon was in Fort Worth Texas. Opening in early 1884, in deluxe style. A write-up in the local paper for their grand opening - even invited the local ladies. It was a leap year Grand Opening!

A gambling room was upstairs. Those who plied their luck included Wyatt Earp, Luke Short, Bat Masterson and Charles Coe.

Was on Main Street, between Third and Fourth. No longer though, as a fire destroyed it in the 1890s. Walk to the Morris Building and reminisce: that's where the White Elephant once stood.

But it was rebuilt, relocated in 1896: 3 blocks South on Main Street. Move along to the Winfree Building, between the Ashton Hotel and Kress Building - that's where it was. And more modern! It didn't last, though - closing with financial issues.

There's a White Elephant Saloon in a different Fort Worth location today.

A modern remake, no relation to this historic Old West saloon. Get details: Read More > 


Orient Saloon

Bisbee Brewery Gulch - 1890sBrewery Gulch, Bisbee Arizona - 1890s

In Bisbee Arizona, this mining town is Southeast of Tombstone AZ. The saloons predominated in Brewery Gulch. Its remnants, and some historic saloons, still remain today. A visit to them still recalls those old times!!

One of the Old West Saloons of the era was the Orient Saloon. One of among 50 from those old West saloon days. With a raucous reputation, attracting many gamblers such as the Dutch Kid, Charlie Bassett and Smiley Lewis. Those were wild times, for sure!


Express St. James

Express St. James Hotel & Saloon, Cimarron New MexicoOld Wild West years of the St. James


In Cimarron, New Mexico, this hotel/saloon attracted lots of action. Many famous old West lawmen, gunfighters, gamblers and desperadoes spent time there. Buffalo Bill Cody and Black Jack Ketchum stopped in.

Built in 1872 by Abraham Lincoln's personal chef. Today it's a part of Cimarron's Historic District and on the National Register of Historic Places. Get a room there now, and have a drink at the bar. Look for all the many bullet holes from the Wild West gun-fighting days when you come by!


We Recommend This App (Use it on All our Travels!) to Find A Terrific Stay in This Historic Area...

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More Old West Saloons

There are many more Old West Saloons to visit throughout the Western states.

  • Some have been restored. 
  • Some you just have to use your imagination. And reminisce as you see the sites they occupied
  • And others have been reworked, updated into another era. Yet still retain some "Old West Saloon" look. They provide their histories with photographs and relics of the past. They're placed in the decor - for that old West ambiance!

Still Here Today...

CALIFORNIA

  • Buckhorn Saloon - North Fork, Sierra Nevada Foothills. Near the South entrance to Yosemite, been around since the late 1800s. Started by Les Smith, its since had at least 8 more owners through the years. Now refurbished and renewed. A nice new menu too. Locate this Old West Saloon at 32992 Road 222. For details: (559) 877-8700

TEXAS

  • Buckhorn Saloon - San Antonio, first opened on Dela Rosa St. in 1881. Moved 5 times since then, but the last time just down from the original. Still has the first back-bar and its historic trappings. Find it at 318 E. Houston Street.

COLORADO

  • The Buckhorn Exchange - Denver, at 1000 Osage Street, corner of 10th - been there since opening on November 17, 1893. A ton of history in its walls! You won't be disappointed in the menu. Go upstairs: find the original 1857, German-made back-bar in the Victorian Lounge.
  • The Board of the Trade - Now The Silver Dollar Saloon in Leadville. In 1963 it took on its present name, with Irish ownership incorporating that heritage, as well. Opening in 1879, at 315 Harrison Ave., West side of the road. The bar was shipped by covered wagon from St. Louis MO. Upstairs gambling rooms offered Faro and chuck-a-luck. During prohibition they endured! How?
  1. Stills outside town for supply
  2. Trap doors under the bar hid evidence
  3. Private booths for customers

NEW MEXICO

  • The Buckhorn Saloon - In the small historic village of Pinos Altos, a little north of Silver City. 32 Main Street. The main bar's origin goes back to 1865. The original adobe walls still exist. Other newer features added on, like an expanded dining room. The bar and back bar by the Brunswick-Balke-Calander Company were shipped by wagon. This Old West Saloon has plenty of atmosphere. Serving food and drinks!
Buckhorn Saloon - Los Pinos NMBill checks the Menu at the Buckhorn in historic Pinos Altos NM
Buckhorn Back Bar NMHistoric Back Bar at NM The Buckhorn

NEVADA

  • Genoa Bar & Saloon - Genoa, a beautiful spot at the base of the Eastern Sierra Nevada, 10 miles South of Carson City. Visit at 2282 Main Street. Call (775) 782-3870. Built in 1853, as "Livingston's Exchange." In 1884 Frank Fettic bought it - now it was "Fettic's Exchange." Many more owners since then. Quite a well known place, attracting other well-knowns like Mark Twain, Ulysses S. Grant, "Teddy" Roosevelt, Clark Gable, Cliff Robertson, Raquel Welch (left her bra behind!), Willie Nelson, Charlie Daniels, Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings & Johnny Cash. It's been a movie set: "The Shootist" with John Wayne "Till the River Runs Dry" with Ann-Margaret "Honky Tonk Man" with Clint Eastwood. 
  • Santa Fe Club Saloon - In Goldfield, old mining town where Wyatt Earp & his brother Virgil Earp lived in the early 1900s. This combo saloon/motel opened in 1905. Drive off Hwy. 95, on N. 5th Ave. - be warned, it turns into a dirt road! It has "off-the-wall" Old West charm, but modern comforts & cold drinks. Basic beer selection, though. South of Tonopah, stop in for a few anyway, for the atmosphere! And they do have the hard stuff.
  • Overland Saloon - In Fallon, about 60 miles East of Reno. In a historic hotel near downtown. Built in 1908. Local political leader George Sherman, the 2nd owner, made it a true success. It was known as the finest place to stay in town. Their rooms were recently refurbished by the new owner. There's a Basque dining room open for dinner Wed. through Sun. The Saloon is open every day! They still have an old-style juke box!
  • J.T. Basque Bar & Dining Room - Wonderful, unique, historic place. 15 miles South of Carson City to Gardnerville. Hans Nelson moved this 1896 building from Virginia City NV! It began as a dining, saloon & hotel establishment. In 1955 the business was purchased by the Jaunsaras & the Trounday families. The name became "J.T." - the owners' initials - a French Basque establishment. In 1960 the Lekumberry family bought The J.T. and kept the same name. The rooms show the historic Basque pioneer tradition. The whole building has been restored.

Tonopah/Goldfield

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  • Old Globe Saloon - Carson City, 407 N. Curry St. The oldest saloon in town, but in some ways doesn't reflect that. Attracts the local crowd of regulars. Has some history remnants on the walls. But it's been here since 1875, so I'd think it would somehow reflect that a little more. What do you think?

WYOMING

  • The Occidental Hotel & Saloon - In Buffalo, at 10 N. Main St. A popular and sometimes wild, old west saloon. Bullet holes are there as testimony! Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid were guests. Calamity Jane and Buffalo Bill Cody were customers. The original 1880 bar-room was quite basic, but finely refurbished in 1908.
Occidental Saloon, Buffalo WyomingOccidental Saloon in Wyoming

Re-Invented...

Lilly Langtry's SaloonThe Jersey Lilly Saloon - Law West of the Pecos

TEXAS

  • Jersey Lilly Saloon - Created in the 1890s, named after the English singer Lillian Langtry. Judge Roy Bean was a man of dubious law accountability. He set himself up as the law West of the Pecos in his saloon and courthouse. He proclaimed himself Justice of the Peace. In naming his saloon, the town forever was established in history and folklore. Today it's a Texas rest-stop along State Hwy. 90. Not far from the Rio Grande and the international border.

NEVADA

  • Indian Maggie's - In Belmont, 46 miles NE of Tonopah. Volunteers are restoring this former saloon. From 1867 to about 1901 the building housed local newspaper: Belmont Courier. Now only open for restoration volunteers, friends and family. You may be able to see it by appointment. Check their Website for details.

Dayton NevadaThe Union Hotel Saloon
  • Union Hotel Saloon - In Dayton, about 15 miles East of Carson City. The Union Hotel & Saloon was a popular hostelry in the late 1800s & early 1900s. Among the state's oldest buildings. Purchased in June 2016 by newlyweds, it was uninhabited for some time. New owners wanted to transform it into their home. They needed a special use permit to convert it from hotel to home. It had a 2-story outhouse, the saloon & 8 small rooms. They remodeled the rooms: most were only 8x8 ft. Some were transformed or merged. The saloon became their living room. Now it's their own home - so private property.



Long Gone...

Creede Colorado - 1892Creede Colorado - 1892
Holy Moses Saloon, Creede ColoradoHoly Moses! The Saloon is Open 24/7

COLORADO

  • Holy Moses Saloon - In Creede, a silver mining boom town in the upper Rio Grande, near source waters. Bob Ford, Bat Masterson and Soapy Smith owned saloons in town. Despite the name Holy Moses, their brothel housed soiled doves named the Mormon Queen, Poker Lulu Swain and Timberline. There wasn't a front door - no need, as it was open 24/7!



NEW MEXICO

  • Buffalo Bar - In Silver City NM. The building & facade are still there. But no hope of it ever reopening. The liquor license has been sold - to CVS! The building's front had safety issues, and the iconic neon sign was removed. On Facebook they proudly claimed as a dive bar/lounge! Motto was" The Oldest, The Baddest, The Best." 


Iconic Buffalo Bar Sign, Silver City NMIconic Buffalo Bar Sign, Silver City NM
Buffalo Bar Front EntranceBuffalo Bar Front Entrance - Neon Sign Gone & Closed now in 2017

NEVADA

  • Micca House Korral Bar - The building still stands, it's on the National Register of Historic Places. 40 miles North of Winnemucca. It was built in the 1880s. Besides a saloon, it had a department store, a post office, and a government office. In fact, something like a Mall - for its time! At times had the town's courthouse and jail, a doctor's office, barber shop, dress shop, saddle shop, warehouse, brewery, chop house (Old West Steak House restaurant), butcher shop, bakery, and a hotel. But the bar itself has been closed for ages! Currently privately owned. Was opened for a ghost tour in the vicinity of Halloween. The owners seem interested in educating the public on its history and current uses. But not too much happening lately that we see. If we get to Paradise Valley we'll definitely investigate this more. For the moment, it remains categorized as Long Gone!



References

1 San Diego Union Letter, July 7, 1880



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