Thursday, August 27, 2015

Swinging Doors and Brass Spittoons

Huff Post Travel listed 5 Old West saloons everyone should visit before they die. This is a fine list of old establishments, but they missed my favorite, The Palace on Whiskey Row in Prescott, Arizona.

Vintage Palace Saloon

Wyatt Earp, Virgil Earp and Doc Holliday patronized The Palace, and the film Junior Bonner (Steve McQueen) used the saloon for location shots. I’m also partial to The Palace because I used the saloon in Murder at Thumb Butte, and I seem to have a fuzzy recollection of having a few drinks there on occasion.

In 1900, the original mid-19th century building burnt down, but the bar is authentic because loyal customers carried the heavy wooden structure across the street. I guess they figured that fire could take the rest, but they needed a place to rest their boot and elbow. The Palace reopened in 1901 and has continued to be a town fixture. It certainly feels more Old West than the Crystal Palace mentioned in the Huff Post article.

Palace Saloon today showing rescued bar

The Palace is almost authentic, unlike The Old Style Saloon #10 in Deadwood, South Dakota. Unfortunately, the displayed death-chair for Wild Bill Hickok is not authentic either. Nevertheless, #10 is still a fun visit. 

The Old Style Saloon #10 in Deadwood

I also have fond memories of the saloon in Mitchell, South Dakota, across from the Corn Palace. It might not have been a genuine article, but the beer was cold and the décor creative. 

Mitchell, South Dakota

A few beers even made the Corn Palace seem interesting.


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