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22 Still-Standing Saloons of the Old West

Home to revelry, rivalry, and a bevy of brews, saloons were the nexus of social and political life in the Wild West. Fortunately for admirers of antiquity and ale, many of these taverns still stand to this day as a reminder of the gunslinging spirit of westward expansion. If you have a hankering for a cold one with a history chaser, grab a seat at the bar of one of these storied saloons.

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Silver Dollar Saloon in Leadville, Colorado via amayzing

Fugitive John Henry “Doc” Holliday, who famously killed a policeman to avoid paying a $5 debt, was a regular at this bar, dealing cards, swigging drinks, and tapping out tunes at a piano in the back room.

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Inside the Silver Dollar Saloon via larry1732

While there’s been a piano on the premises since the Silver Dollar opened in 1879, these days the bar’s outlaw patrons have been replaced by beer aficionados and foodies, who stop by the original mahogany bar for Doc’s Omelette or a refreshing Fat Tire ale.

White Elephant Saloon in Fort Worth, Texas ragingwire

A bar brawl for the ages, the famous gunfight between White Elephant owner Luke Short and Fort Worth Sheriff “Longhair Jim” Courtright took place at this timeless tap house. Opened in the 1890s in Hell’s Half Acre, the bar eventually moved to the historic Fort Worth Stockyards. 

Inside the White Elephant Saloon via atxjen

While the White Elephant is now best known for its Texas Red Chili and live music, its Wild West past lives on; in fact, the long-lost lawman Courtright is rumored to haunt the saloon to this day.

The Buckhorn Saloon in Pinos Altos, New Mexico via Tom Blackwell

Purveyor of pints since the 1860s, this mountaintop saloon in the former mining town of Pinos Altos has long been a gathering place, where diners can enjoy live music and good food in a surprisingly elegant setting.

Pinos Altos Opera House via thetravelgal

Behind the rough-and-tumble exterior of the neighboring opera house lies an intimate performance venue, complete with a full bar, which draws revelers and musicians. It’s also available for private events.

Occidental Saloon and Hotel in Buffalo, Wyoming via ungard

Despite elegant additions made way back in 1908, which included stained-glass-accented back bar and an embossed tin ceiling, you can’t take the Wild West out this old-time barroom, a Buffalo favorite since 1880.

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Inside the Occidental Saloon and Hotel

Wikimedia Commons via Paul Hermans

Look up, and you’ll still spy bullet holes in the ceiling from past shootouts involving former patrons, who included Buffalo Bill Cody and Calamity Jane.

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Big Nose Kate's Saloon in Tombstone, Arizona via lightcraft

Built in 1880 as the Grand Hotel, this historic establishment frequented by the likes of outlaw Doc Holliday and the Clanton Gang burned down just two years later. It was then reconstructed and is now operated as Big Nose Kate’s Saloon.

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Inside Big Nose Kate's Saloon via hazeliis

Named after Mary Katherine Horony-Cummings, the common-law wife of outlaw Holliday, the saloon—which contains the original long bar from the short-lived Grand Hotel—serves Southwestern cuisine and draft beers, and hosts Wild West reenactments.

The Salty Dawg Saloon in Homer, Alaska

Wikimedia Commons via Derek Ramsey

Since its construction in 1897, the Salty Dawg has served variously as a post office, schoolhouse, and grocery store.

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Inside the Salty Dawg Saloon via jsmjr

It wasn’t until 1957 that the structure became—and has remained—a saloon. Novel touches include a lighthouse that was built to cover a water tower, and the thousands of dollar bills on its walls, tacked there by loyal patrons over the years.

Crystal Palace Saloon in Tombstone, Arizona via carolinadoug

Local notables like U.S. Deputy Marshal Virgil Earp and gunshot wound expert Dr. George Goodfellow all swung through the doors of this cheery redbrick drinking hole in Tombstone that served its first drink in 1879 as the Golden Eagle Brewery.

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Inside the Crystal Palace Saloon

Another character who haunted this establishment was gunfighter Buckskin Frank Leslie, known for his trademark buckskin jacket and his deadly blows, who did a short stint as a night watchman.

Pioneer Saloon in Goodsprings, Nevada via hawk59

Though featured as a backdrop in films like “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” and “The Mexican,” Pioneer Saloon enjoys a vibrant life in the real world as a popular stop for barbecue or a spirited game of horseshoes.

Carole Lombard Memorial at Pioneer Saloon via travelnevada

After the crash of the airplane carrying his wife, Carole Lombard, and 21 others in 1942, it is said that Clark Gable drank his sorrows away in this historic saloon, where he waited for news of her fate.

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The Historic Montana Bar in Miles City, Montana

A “contemporary” touch that anchors this tavern firmly in the prime of the 20th century, a Montana-shaped neon sign welcomes thirsty visitors to this time-honored 1908 watering hole that still has its original Italian tile floor and embossed tin ceiling.

Inside the Historic Montana Bar via exitlines

Reminders of its earlier days include mounted steer heads, the original stand-up bar, a double-drawer National Cash Register from 1914, and a bullet hole in a glass panel at the bar’s entrance, a memento from a customer whose gun fired accidentally.

Bucket of Blood in Virginia City, Nevada via aresauburnphotos

Despite its sinister-sounding name and the fact that it got its start in the aftermath of a tragedy—the bar opened in the wake of the Great Fire of 1875, which claimed more than 1,000 local establishments—Bucket of Blood has a reputation as a good-time hangout.

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Inside Bucket of Blood Saloon via kohaver

Patrons know and love the saloon for its bar crawls, annual chili cook-off, and live music from the house band, David John and the Comstock Cowboys.

Old Style Saloon No. 10 in Deadwood, South Dakota via baggis

Saloon No. 10 is famous for the 171 types of bourbons, scotches, and whiskeys on its menu, and infamous as the site of a dastardly deed. In 1876, the same year the saloon was built, Wild Bill Hickok met his demise here at the hands of assassin Jack McCall, who shot the Western legend in the back of the head.

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Remembering Wild Bill Hickok at Saloon No. 10 via baggis

The pub pays homage to Hickok with a memorial wall and a free daily reenactment of the fatal encounter.

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