Old West Saloons...

Old West Saloons Served Up More Than Just Drinks

Author: Sean Dell

Are you curious about the beginnings of those Old West saloons? Many people certainly are, and they are fascinated by saloons because these are the "stuff of legends", tall tales and some real "Cowboy" moments. Our ideas concerning Old West saloons have been cemented firmly in our minds due to a magical blend of real historical accounts and some great Hollywood fantasy.

The American West surely contained thousands of these iconic landmarks over the years, and almost everyone has a very similar picture of a saloon dancing in their heads. Swinging café doors are perhaps one of the most defining features of any cowboy saloon shown in movies. It is usual for movies and television shows to show saloons with long polished bars, round tables with an assortment of poker playing card sharks, and saloon hall ladies with sass and attitude to spare. These are based on real saloons that existed in the western cities and territories during the 1800s. Mexican cantinas were even earlier incarnations of the more popular saloons found in the rough and rugged frontiers of the American west.

Brown's Saloon is one of the most notable of the early western libation parlors and it came into existence in 1822. The establishment was located at the aptly named Brown's Hole, which was a small settlement in the proximity of the Wyoming-Utah- Colorado juncture. This Wild West spot was the first to be known as a 'saloon' and could depend on business from fur trappers who were a rough and tumble lot. According to documents there were almost as many fights occurring at Brown's Saloon as there were drinks being served.

Where there are soldiers there are places to drink vast quantities of alcoholic beverages and this was true during the latter part of the 1800s when Bent's Fort Colorado became home to another early and popular libations parlor. Most people have heard of Dodge City, Kansas which is one of the legendary cowboy hot spots, and the cowboys had reason to frequent the city when early saloons moved into town.

The popularity of Old West saloons can be plainly seen by following the growth they experienced in Santa Barbara during the height of the "Gold Rush". At the beginning of the gold fever years there was one saloon, or cantina, in all of Santa Barbara, but within a couple of years, there were over 30 known saloons in existence within the city limits. Even distant Livingston, Montana with a booming town population of 3000 managed to support over 30 saloons in 1883.

In stark contrast to our ideas of how a saloon should look these first early social centers were often shacks, tents or simply a hastily constructed, unsteady lean-to. Shopkeepers and entrepreneurs knew that there was no shortage of lonely men who would visit a welcoming space that offered drink, food and warm companionship and conversation. As the years passed the saloons did begin to change and actually did take on the look and atmosphere that is now indelibly associated with them.

Customers had to be pretty desperate and fairly adventurous to visit these early Old West saloons. The whiskey was as rough, or rougher, than the desert hills and prices could be high. Many of the choice whiskeys were combination of pure alcohol and cooked sugar, with a little hot pepper sauce or chewing tobacco added for an extra kick. Some barkeeps would cut their cheap drinks with turpentine, ammonia, gunpowder or other choice additives; some even tossed in a small amount of rat poison.

You can't say that there was no truth in advertising during these early saloon days because the names of the whiskey pretty much said it all. Some of the names were Dead Dan, 6 Feet Under, Tarantula Juice and Coffin Varnish. Some drinks contained peyote and tequila, and the cheap "House Special" was often known as Rotgut.

Though most of these old saloons are gone there are still some around like The River City Saloon in Old Sacramento

California. You can check there website out before you visit at http://www.therivercitysaloon.com. Also Deadwood has many great saloons like Big Nose Kate's.

So step back in time and go west!

About the Author:
Sean Derfield is a bar owner, and online marketer. He has many sites that deal with bringing more business through your doors. Some of his sites include http://www.myfriendbuilder.com http://www.sacramentoatnight.com

Article Source: ArticlesBase.com - Old West Saloons Served Up More Than Just Drinks

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