If you’re hankering for a taste of the old Wild West, there’s nothing like a trip to a local saloon—especially one with “Nevada’s Meanest Bartender.” Operating since 1905, the Sante Fe Saloon is Goldfield’s oldest continually operating business, and a glimpse into Gold Rush-era Nevada.
Pull up in front of the dusty one-story building with its homey hand-painted sign, and you’ll forget which century you’re in. Lassos and old wooden spokes lean against the wall, and inside, you’ll find a spacious interior with rough floor planking and an original Brunswick bar, brimming with beer and good cheer. You can even find a few unique historical items, such as a figure of Wyatt Earp, one of the town’s notable residents, and Julia Bullette’s bathtub (which ought to make you appreciate your modern-day shower).
Goldfield, Nevada isn’t quite the same place as it was at the start of the 20th century, back when it was the biggest city in the state. At the time, prospectors eager to fill their pockets with gold were gathering in the city—the name says it all—to try their luck.
For those whose pockets did fill up, the Santa Fe Saloon was a popular hotspot. Back when the saloon first opened, the town only had a grocery store, two feedlots, and two other saloons in addition to its mining operations. Like many saloons, Sante Fe has always offered more than drinks—in fact, its recent expansion into a motel is rather fitting, since several beds were already stationed in the back of the property.
The place still exudes the history and old-timey feel of the gold rush era, whether you stay for a pint or a night.
Know Before You Go
The Sante Fe Saloon is a short ways off Route 95. Stop for a drink, but not to sate your hunger—the saloon does not serve food. Be sure to orient yourself towards Fifth Avenue and not Fifth Street, which is in another part of the town. If it's dark out, the bright red and blue signs of the Vintage Wares store is a helpful landmark.