Old West saloons were about the first places in town to open...
Businesses in any new settlement catered to immediate needs. After a hard workday, or for newcomers to town - the saloon was a meeting place, a place to relax.
Customers were nearly all men, as 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 more respectable, lavish establishments for sponsored special events. But only if properly escorted.
So glad it's not that way now! Tombstone AZ - has some wonderful Old West Saloons to visit...
FUN TOMBSTONE TOUR!
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.
To support mining interests, other businesses soon followed: mercantiles and grocers. For entertainment, quick eats and relaxation 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.
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 the West, except for San Francisco.
The Cosmopolitan Hotel Saloon, completed in July 1880. A fine building for its time. Even had an orange tree garden lining the front.
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. Recreated in town today!
A small bar opened 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. 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.
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. 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 renown lingers! Others can still be visited today...
The Long Branch Saloon
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. Men like Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Luke Short and Bat Masterson. Chalkley Beeson sold out his interest to Luke Short in 1883.
Long Branch Saloon Opens - 1874
Inside the Long Branch Saloon, Dodge City, Kansas
Don't Get OUT of Dodge - Get to it!!
White Elephant Saloon
This Old West Saloon was in Fort Worth Texas. Opened early 1884, in deluxe style. A grand opening write-up in the local paper even invited the local ladies. It was a leap year Grand Opening!
The 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: three 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.
In Bisbee Arizona, this mining town is Southeast of Tombstone AZ. The saloons predominated in Brewery Gulch. Its remnants, and other historic saloons remain today. A visit to them still recalls those old times!!
One Old West Saloon of the era was the Orient Saloon. One of among 50 from those old West saloon days. Its raucous status attracted many gamblers such as the Dutch Kid, Charlie Bassett and Smiley Lewis. Those were wild times, for sure!
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!
Located at 617 South Collison Avenue in Cimarron. You can call them at (575) 376-2664
We Recommend This App (Use it on All our Travels!) to Find A Terrific Stay in This Historic Area...
Old Wild West years of the St. James
More Old West Saloons
You can "visit" many more Old West Saloons throughout the Western states.
Some have been restored.
Some you just have to use your imagination: Reminisce as you see the sites they occupied
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 in the decor - for that old West ambiance!
Still Here Today...
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
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.
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?
Stills outside town for supply
Trap doors under the bar hid evidence
Private booths for customers
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!
Bill checks the Menu at the Buckhorn in historic Pinos Altos NM
Historic Back Bar at NM The Buckhorn
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.
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?
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 in Wyoming
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.
The Jersey Lilly Saloon - Law West of the Pecos
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.
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.
The Union Hotel Saloon
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!
Creede Colorado - 1892
Holy Moses! The Saloon is Open 24/7
Buffalo Bar - In Silver City NM. The building and 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 NM
Buffalo Bar Front Entrance - Neon Sign Gone & Closed now in 2017
Micca House Korral Bar - The building still stands, it's on the National Register of Historic Places. 40 miles North of Winnemucca. Built in the 1880s. Besides a saloon, it had a department store, post office, and a government office. Actually, something like a Mall. For its time! At times had the town's courthouse/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 once for a Halloween ghost tour. The owners seemed interested in educating on its history. But we don't see too much happening lately. If we get to Paradise Valley we'll investigate more. For now, it remains categorized: Long Gone!
Tombstone, the Town Too Tough to Die! The tips are here for you to get questions answered, to get around, to get any needed help. Parking, eats, drinks, activities? We're locals here to help you navigate our town of Tombstone for the best time ever!