15 Sagebrush Saloons Worth Drinking In… And What To Order When You’re There
Nevada’s cities and towns are full of hip bars and swanky cocktail lounges — and we love those, too. However, one of the delights of cruisin’ our backroads is pulling up to places where you can literally “drink in” the Silver State’s rustic, old-school vibes — places we like to call Sagebrush Saloons.
We’re talkin’ real-deal Pony Express roadhouses, tin-sided ghost town shacks, and even old wooden joints that have been around longer than Nevada’s been a state. Others may be a little newer, but are certainly no less authentic, and still packed with plenty of personality. No matter what the joint’s story is, every Sagebrush Saloon promises to quench your thirst for delicious libations and tasty tales.
And thanks to us, finding them doesn’t have to be a tall order. So crack one open and pore over this list of faves to discover what their deal is, how to get to them, and what to order when you belly on up to the bar.
Travel Nevada Pro Tip
Pull up a stool at some of our fave Sagebrush Saloons, all around the Silver State
Gold Hill Hotel & Saloon
Outdoor Inn & Red Dog Saloon
Santa Fe Saloon
Paradise Valley Saloon & Bar G
Iggy & Squiggy’s Junction Bar
Happy Burro Chili & Beer
Lucky Spur Saloon
Gold Point Saloon
Dirty Dick’s Belmont Saloon
Bruno’s Country Club
The Overland Hotel & Saloon
The Eureka Owl Club
Goodsprings Pioneer Saloon
Loneliest Road in America road trippers can’t miss the three red letters, “B-A-R,” beckoning them to one of the only buildings for miles—and one of Nevada’s truly iconic bars—Middlegate Station. Considered one of the last original roadhouses in the nation, the joint draws its roots back to the 1860s when it served as a horse changing station for Pony Express riders, later becoming a refueling station for stagecoaches and weary westward pioneers. In the 1940s it became an ideal stop for folks traveling the Lincoln Highway, the first transcontinental highway in the U.S.
Today, it’s a Loneliest Road must-stop serving up frosty mugs, grilled-in-front-of-you comfort food classics, and challenging big eaters to take on the formidable Middlegate Monster burger challenge.
Inside you’ll find dollar bill-lined ceilings and walls adorned with commemorative armed forces patches, many placed by servicemen visiting nearby Fallon Naval Air Station. When it comes to “specialty” drinks at Middlegate Station, take solace in the basics and order up a draught lager with a whiskey back and bask in 160+ years of ambiance.
WHAT YOU’RE SIPPIN’ ON: Whatever lager’s on its single tap, whiskey back
DISTANCE FROM RENO: 110 miles, 1.75 hours
MOST ACCESSIBLE SEASON: Any time of year, thanks to its location just off US-50.
This storied joint fits right in at the entrance to Nevada’s oldest hotel, which was built all the way back in 1859—five years before Nevada officially became a state. The saloon occupies what was originally the property’s horse stable and which became the official on-site saloon in the 1960s. However, once you walk in, you won’t know (or care) if it’s the 1860s or 1960s—it’s that cool.
The original part of the hotel is, quite impressively, still intact—original wood floors and all—and can still be reserved for overnight stays. As long as you’re not spooked by the ghosts that allegedly haunt the hallways. Mere feet behind the historic property was where the tragic Yellowjacket Mine disaster went down—one of the most deadly mining accidents in history. Spirits of those perished prospectors are said to roam the halls of the Gold Hill Hotel, but we’ll let you be the judge of that.
Be sure to snag a gin and tonic while you’re here, which is made with Cemetery Gin, the “Official Spirit of Virginia City.” (In 1859, the only totally safe way to drink the local water was to mix it with gin: one part water, two parts gin!) And if you’re hungry, the adjacent Crown Point Restaurant offers fanciful fine dining in gorgeously historic ambiance.
WHAT YOU’RE SIPPIN’ ON: Cemetery Gin & tonic
DISTANCE FROM RENO: 28 miles, 45 minutes
MOST ACCESSIBLE SEASON: All year long. In winter, just be careful on those narrow, steep roads—especially if there’s snow involved.
If you make the trek to the scenic, peak-ensconced, canyon-nestled, riverfront northeastern Nevada community of Jarbidge, you’ve earned a sippable reward or three—it’s one of the most remote towns (and regions) in the Lower 48. Especially after a day spent exploring the sweeping, wide-open Jarbidge Wilderness, searching for elk and moose, fly fishing for redband rainbows and the elusive bull trout, bagging 10,000′ peaks, or even just walking through history in the site of the last great gold rush (and perhaps not so coincidentally, also the last stagecoach robbery) in the American West.
Lucky for you, this community of about 20 year-round residents is home to not just one but two of our favorite Sagebrush Saloons. Pop into the Outdoor Inn to take advantage of a full bar, drop some coins in the state’s farthest-flung slot machines, groove to some occasional live tunes, and order a burger and made-from-scratch desserts from the cafe on the other side of the wall.
Or walk across the dirt-road main drag to the Red Dog Saloon (operated by the same great folks) and behold a wall full of exceptional whiskeys and other spirits while taking in the legit frontier saloon atmosphere. Pro Tip: If you like beer and you also like Iron Maiden, ask about how to make that combo here.
WHAT YOU’RE SIPPIN’ ON: 7&7 on the rocks at the Outdoor Inn; whatever whiskey Jase recommends at the Red Dog Saloon
DISTANCE FROM ELKO: 104 miles, 3.5 hours
MOST ACCESSIBLE SEASON: Summer through fall only. The dirt road from Elko gets plowed around July 4th. There is a much longer, mostly paved route via Jackpot, NV and Idaho, but the fun (and stunningly scenic) route involves about 60 miles of unpaved travel, so brush up on the Dirt Road Code and come prepared.
It may not look it today, but Goldfield was once Nevada’s largest, most bustling city. At one time, there were thousands and thousands of people—including Legendary Nevadans like Wyatt Earp and Jack Dempsey—hanging around this go-to gold camp. A deluge of lavish opulence and wealth came flooding through the streets all at once and so fast that most Americans wouldn’t even have been able to picture it: paved sidewalks, electricity, drinking fountains, and other fancy stuff.
Many famous bars came and went—like the longest bar in the West, which required 80 bartenders to fully staff it—but the Santa Fe Saloon lives on, remaining one of the longest continually operating business in the Silver State. Today, it’s home to the “Meanest Bartender in NV,” tons of authentic old artifacts from the region, and plenty of stools you’re likely to find occupied by talkative locals and even a couple of cattle dogs now and then.
WHAT YOU’RE SIPPIN’ ON: Wild Turkey neat, because the West wasn’t won guzzling martinis
DISTANCE FROM THE CITY: 184 miles and 3-ish hours from Las Vegas; 255 miles and 4.25 hours from Reno
MOST ACCESSIBLE SEASON: Any time of year, since it’s located just off of US-95
Paradise Valley Saloon & Bar G
40 mi / 40 min north of Winnemucca
Find it off the Cowboy Corridor road trip
While 9,000-resident Winnemucca bustles on the daily, just about 40 minutes north, the small (and aptly named) farming oasis of Paradise Valley lilts along at a beautifully bucolic pace, with Paradise Valley Saloon & Bar G as its social nucleus. It’s the only walk-in business for miles, so the locals come here to swap the latest news, quench their thirst, and grab a bite—including of a (mostly) weekly Saturday night ribeye dinner that draws hungry patrons from actual hours away. Up here, it’s buckaroo territory, and Paradise Valley is no exception. Plan on grabbing a barstool next to some working ranch hands, many of whom you’ll find to be 5th and 6th generation Paradise Valley-ites.
This saloon was built in the 1900s and feels like it in the best of ways, including in the long-aged photos and decorations lining the walls. The husband-and-wife team that run the joint showcase their Basque heritage via their menu, especially with a juicy chorizo sandwich and their twist on Nevada’s officially unofficial state cocktail, the Picon Punch.
WHAT YOU’RE SIPPIN’ ON: Picon Punch
DISTANCE FROM RENO: 205 miles, 2.75 hours
MOST ACCESSIBLE SEASON: Year-round, as it’s paved all the way to the door. However, in winter months, it’s best to call ahead, in case the plow hasn’t come through in a bit.
Two words: NEVADA. MARTINI. And no, it’s not the delicate affair you’d expect from a schmancy urban bistro. Instead of stemmed glasses and dry vermouth, this “cocktail” features a huge, frosty mug filled with your choice of domestic lager. The only thing similar is the gourmet olives. Choose your stuffing—garlic, bleu cheese, pimiento, habañero, or several others—and watch the bartender dump a handful into your beer. Voila!
One of the best places to find this liquid delicacy is Iggy & Squiggy’s Junction Bar & Grill, the best (and just about the only) place to go Holbrook Junction, the just-about-halfway point between Gardnerville and Topaz Lake. Iggy and Squiggy are real people—brothers, in fact—who have been slinging the most savory of tacos, steak sandwiches, and cheeseburger specials (plus butterscotch ice cream for dessert) across their cozy little RV park-adjacent saloon since 1982. All of which goes down beautifully with the aforementioned “cocktail”—especially on the way home from a day at Walker River State Recreation Area or Topaz Lake.
WHAT YOU’RE SIPPIN’ ON: “Nevada Martini,” extra olives
DISTANCE FROM RENO: 69 miles, 1.5 hours
MOST ACCESSIBLE SEASON: All year long; it’s located just off US-395
It doesn’t get much more straightforward than this one. Happy Burro Chili and Beer is a place in a town where wild burros happily roam the streets that serves chili and beer. And it’s awesome!
In the early 1900s, Beatty was home to thousands of gold-hungry miners. When the ore dried up, the argonauts took off; however, the offspring of their trusty four-legged coworkers stuck around and multiplied, generation after generation, thriving in the ideal climate found here on the edge of Death Valley. (Seriously, they’re everywhere in this town.)
Today, you can raise a glass to these hearty equines at this old, wooden, small-but-mighty beer shack, which offers a few barstools and tall tables inside, as well as a lovely covered patio out back. The savory, award-winning chili recipe here is a closely guarded family secret, and it tastes great on hot dogs, burgers, and in Frito pie form. And of course, at the end of a long day exploring Death Valley National Park, Rhyolite Ghost Town, Goldwell Open Air Museum, and other area highlights, nothing hits the spot better than their ice-cold mugs of good ol’ Pabst Blue Ribbon.
WHAT YOU’RE SIPPIN’ ON: Frosty mug of PBR
DISTANCE FROM VEGAS: 118 miles, 1.75 hours
MOST ACCESSIBLE SEASON: Fall, winter or spring is the most delightful, if it’s patio drinkin’ you’re after
Lucky Spur Saloon
Find it off the Loneliest Road in America road trip
Descend eastward from Austin, turn off of Highway 50 on to NV-376, and in about a half-hour, you’ll find Kingston—the 100-ish-resident de facto capital of Nevada’s Big Smoky Valley. Everything about it—including the natural hot springs, stunning Kingston Canyon, and nearby Toquima Cave—make this little enclave central Nevada’s get-away-from-it-all go-to.
No matter what you spend your day doing, make sure you celebrate the end of it at what Men’s Health considers to be the “Best Bar In The Middle Of Nowhere”: the Lucky Spur Saloon. Here, you can drink in some of the most dynamic views of the sweeping Big Smoky Valley through the giant plate-glass backbar as the bartender ushers in guests and slings drinks ’til the wee hours.
They’re not afraid to pour a stiff drink, so don’t be shy about ordering one up. The owners here prides their saloon as a gallery of sorts, which the entire thing impressively lives up to being, with walls lined with antique traps, taxidermied trophy animals bagged in the surrounding Alta-Toquima range, and, of course, spurs.
WHAT YOU’RE SIPPIN’ ON: If you’re not sure whether you like Bloody Marys, this is the place to find out. It’s legendary. (And lethal.)
DISTANCE FROM RENO: 203 miles, 3.25 hours
MOST ACCESSIBLE SEASON: Really, any time of year is a good time to swing through, but be leery of snow in the winter months
Nestled against the foothills of the Ruby Mountains, not much is left of “downtown” Jiggs besides—you guessed it, the bar. But that’s only because there never was much more than that in the main-road hub of this ranching community.
Jiggs has quite some history—ask the bartender to show you the little history book they’ve got back behind the bar counter. A couple spoilers include the town being renamed six times, and it being the lifelong stomping grounds for famed cowboy poet Waddie Mitchell. Its tasty remoteness attracted a slew of bandits, and even a handful of famous explorers, but it is probably most known for a Volkswagen Bus print ad campaign (just a few years back in 1965) that featured the town’s entire population—9 people… 1 dog—sitting inside the then-latest model.
Currently, Jiggs Bar is about the only thing left aside from a modern-day one-room school house, and serves as the rendezvous point for local ranchers, fishermen, hunters, and literally anyone else who says, “Whoa, stop! There’s a bar there!” Before you get too committed to nursing your beverage, snap a pic of the two-headed calf above the entrance, the “al-BEEN-o PORK-uh-pine,” or the giant, waist-height elk’s head, and give the resident kitty, Tigg, a good scratch under his chin.
If you’re heading just about anywhere in this region (especially over Harrison Pass to Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge), don’t rely on the internet for conditions; just call Jiggs Bar.
WHAT YOU’RE SIPPIN ON: Nothin’ fancy; just ask for whatever anyone else is having. Just don’t order so many that you have to sleep on the hay-bale bed.
DISTANCE FROM ELKO: 33 miles, 30 minutes
MOST ACCESSIBLE SEASON: Summer or fall is best.… anywhere beyond might be a bit too snow-packed [and stressful to reach] during chillier months
Gold Point Saloon
30 mi / 30 min south of Goldfield
Find it off the Free-Range Art Highway road trip
Gold Point’s picture-perfect saloon presents another chance to knock a few down in a legit ghost town, thanks to two friends named Herb and Walt. Back in the day, the pals—a casino wallpaper hanger and proprietor of a surplus business, respectively—spent a lot of their time exploring the remains of Nevada’s bygone boomtowns. However, what they found at Gold Point was something extra special: the opportunity to own and preserve one where, in a way not typically seen of many ghost towns, many original buildings were still standing.
The two pals had been working and purchasing parcels for some time when Herb hit a slot machine jackpot, which helped speed up their effort to own and relocate dozens of miners cabins, shops, mining structures, vehicles, and more—including the star of the show, an old telephone operator’s shack that, in 1974, would move to its present location and be outfitted as one of the coolest, 19th-century-vibed-out Sagebrush Saloons in the Silver State.
Visitors to this movie set-esque ghost town are welcome to poke around, but must call ahead and ask for permission to enter any buildings—including the saloon, which, with prior arrangements, Walt will let you into before tending a bar stocked with an incredible range of whiskeys, ryes, bourbons, and beyond.
Oh, and if you’re looking for a true ghost town Uncommon Overnighter, make arrangements to crash in a neatly outfitted miners cabin or old home via Walt’s Gold Point Ghost Town Bed & Breakfast. Arrangements can be made for Walt and pals to whip up a tasty steak dinner, too.
WHAT YOU’RE SIPPIN ON: Whiskey — probably lots of it.
DISTANCE FROM VEGAS: 184 miles, 2.75 hours
MOST ACCESSIBLE SEASON: Really any time of year is ideal to visit Gold Point, but is most enjoyable in spring or fall when it’s not too blazingly hot or bitterly cold but juuuust right.
Dirty Dick’s Belmont Saloon
46 mi / 50 min from Tonopah
Like lots of other Nevada ghost town greats, Belmont was a former county seat, due to the insurmountable wealth unearthed here. Vestiges of its late-1860s heydey include miners cabins, the glorious Belmont Courthouse (contact Friends of the Belmont Courthouse ahead of your visit to to request a well-worth-it tour), 100-foot milling chimneys used as target practice by 1940s aircraft… and, of course, the town’s lone surviving business, 1867-built Dirty Dick’s Belmont Saloon.
Today, this off-grid enclave is home to around two-dozen folks (depending on the season)—most of whom tend to meet up at the cozy little, slant-floored saloon, which welcomes ghost town aficionados, hunters, OHV enthusiasts, and anyone else who wanders in. The saloon doesn’t have a phone number or email (we’re jealous!), but the last we heard, they’re open Thursdays through Sundays from 2 PM onward—even in the winter (the wood-burning stove helps with that)—but it’s best to contact them ahead of time if you’re planning to stop in.
WHAT YOU’RE SIPPIN’ ON: Ice-cold Banquet in a Bottle in summer, whatever cup of hot joy they’re serving in the colder months
DISTANCE FROM THE CITY: 272 miles, 4.5 hours from Reno; 256 miles, 4 hours from Las Vegas
MOST ACCESSIBLE SEASON: Whether you’re posted up next to that wood-burning stove in the winter months, or enjoying a beer on the rocking chairs out front, any day of the year is a good time to visit Dirty Dick’s (if they’re open)
No trip to (or, at least, from) a foray into the fabled Black Rock Desert is complete without popping into Bruno’s Country Club, the central hub of Gerlach, the gloriously funky outpost of 100-some-odd residents, and the last slice of civilization for about a 1,000 square miles. Opened by Italian immigrant Bruno Selmi in 1952—and operated by him nearly until his passing in 2017 at age 94—the bar and café still serves up his famous Old-Country ravioli recipe, along with three meals a day worth of hot, hearty American classics.
Oh, and plenty of drinks to clink with locals, ranchers, sheepherders, chukar hunters, rocket scientists (for real), Burning Man Department of Public Works grunts (if they’re in the mood), and fellow travelers, depending on the time of year.
While the full bar caters to everyone, the specialties are where it’s at. Like other bars in regions with Basque heritage, Bruno’s Picon Punch promises to pack the second half of its name. Greet the day in a big way with a Bruno’s Mimosa (here, “pint-sized” does not mean small), or toast this unique region with a vodka-heavy Wet Playa (a concept that’s much better in your glass than under your tires) or a tequila-based Selenite Love Bite, which is named for a majestic crystal this area is known for and tastes like the tropical vibes it’s totally not.
WHAT YOU’RE SIPPIN’ ON: Selenite Love Bite or Wet Playa
DISTANCE FROM RENO: 107 miles, 2 hours
MOST ACCESSIBLE SEASON: Year-round, with two exceptions. If you come during or right around Burning Man, you won’t be able to get on a stool. If you come after any kind of precipitation, you won’t be able to get on the Black Rock Desert Playa — or, even worse, OFF.
If you’re looking to enjoy some spirits—and not just the kind in your glass—head for Pioche’s Overland Hotel & Saloon. Located in a place that was once one of the wildest in the West—where streets ran redder than even Hollywood-famous Dodge City or Tombstone—the Overland is famous among paranormal enthusiasts as an exceptionally active portal to the other side. If you’re into that, ask to stay the night in a room with known “activity.”
Either way, every visitor should float their way to the ground level and start haunting a barstool in some of the best Old West ambiance you’ll find along all of US-93. We’re talkin’ a wooden Brunswick bar that was built (and shipped from) across the world, red wallpaper with gold leaf, ornate plaster ceilings, taxidermied local critters, and more.
It doesn’t get more American than the Wild West. So we suggest keeping it simple and honoring the heritage of “Nevada’s Liveliest Ghost Town” with the oh-so-American combo of some good ol’ Jim Beam with a bud back.
WHAT YOU’RE SIPPIN’ ON: Jim Beam on the rocks with a Bud back
DISTANCE FROM VEGAS: 176 miles, 3-ish hours
MOST ACCESSIBLE SEASON: Pioche’s jaw-dropping history can be enjoyed any time of year, even in the dead of winter.
There are actually three Owl Clubs in northern Nevada, with ones in Battle Mountain, Austin, and Eureka forming a triangle around NV-306, which connects I-80 (the Cowboy Corridor) with US-50 (the Loneliest Road In America). However, this ain’t no chain; each one is totally different and owned by different people.
Eureka’s Owl Club is tough to beat. Nestled in the core of the “Friendliest Town on the Loneliest Road in America,” historic the bar and restaurant is a great stopping point when traveling along famous Highway 50.
They make a mean biscuits and gravy, as well as a wickedly satisfying meatloaf and mashed potatoes, but the unsung hero here is the Western Bacon Burger and tater tots, washed down with Eureka’s very own Two Bitch Bourbon. The place is and has been family owned and operated for decades and you can feel it. It’s the type of place where you can roll in alone and feel like you just dropped into a longtime friend’s place. That, and every damn thing you order feels like it’s made with a little Eureka love. Whether it’s a stack of sourdough flapjacks and a Bloody Mary, or a burger and beer, make sure you whittle out some time for a meal (and convo) that’s sure to hit all the right spots.
WHAT YOU’RE SIPPIN’ ON: Two Bitch “Eureka Gold” Bourbon, neat
DISTANCE FROM RENO: 242 miles, 4 hours
MOST ACCESSIBLE SEASON: Any time of year is good, as it’s right on Eureka’s main drag along US-50. In wintertime you may get snowed in, but this ain’t a bad place for that to happen.
From bullet holes in the the last-of-its-kind Sears & Roebuck stamped tin walls (results of a 1900s card game gone awry) to Clark Gable’s cigar cherry divots burned into the bar counter, the Pioneer Saloon both looks and feels every ounce of its status as southern Nevada’s oldest bar. When you pull up, it may even look familiar, like something out of a set from a movie or Harley commercial or music video; that’s because it is has been all of those things, many times.
Be sure to take the self-guided walking tour around the surrounding ghost town to walk through more than a century of history. But, once you get back to your bar stool, you’ve gotta get your hands on their signature Kentucky Mule. This Bulleit Bourbon-based drink comes in a swanky copper mug and that ginger beer and lime combo makes for an ideal refreshment for southern Nevada’s thermometer-popping temps. If that’s not your style, ask about their exhaustive selection of bourbons and whiskeys… it’s profound.
If you’re hungry, Food Network recommends the spicy, juicy Ghost Burger (we agree), inspired by the many lingering spirits that staff and patrons have routinely encountered. Be sure to ask the bartenders about them!
WHAT YOU’RE SIPPIN’ ON: Kentucky Mule
DISTANCE FROM VEGAS: 38 miles, 45 minutes travel time
MOST ACCESSIBLE SEASON: Any time of year