Virginia City Saloons
Pull up a Seat at Our Old West Saloons
The hard life and good times of the Comstock are remembered throughout town in its ten saloons. No other type of business dominates the landscape of this historic mining town, where there once were as many as 115 bars and saloons. Many saloons have maintained their 19th century appearance and stepping in their doors is like stepping back in time. A visitor today can get much more than their favorite cocktail at any one of the town's ten bars; they'll get a history lesson and an experience to last a lifetime. So pull up a seat and listen up! Following are a few of our most popular tales from the Comstock's saloon days:
The Delta Saloon and Casino is home to the "suicide table" where heavy gaming losses led to gamblers losing their lives in the height of the mining and milling period. Truth be told, one Black Jake reportedly lost $70,000 in one night before turning a gun on himself.
More peaceful, loving gatherings may have come in the 20th century when the likes of legendary rock singer Janis Joplin made an appearance at the Red Dog Saloon in 1968 with the house act Big Brother Holding Co. – which became her backup band in San Francisco.
The Millionaires Washoe Club of 1862, the oldest saloon in Virginia City, still wields the closest thing to opulence and age in this old western town with the original chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. On the wall a sign has been added that describes a world where elite men could call up a beer, whiskey or cigar for just 25 cents.
The Gold Hill Saloon is rooted in history, beginning as The Riesen House in 1859. Legend has it Mark Twain and The Monumental Liars Club hung out here, and according to local lore, ghosts Rosie and William still live there.
The Saloons of Virginia City
Bonanza Saloon and Casino
At the Bonanza Saloon and Casino, enjoy more than just great food - it's home to the "100 mile view" and one of the largest shrines of Bonanza, a popular TV show.
Bucket of Blood
The Bucket of Blood has been serving 'em up since 1876. The building was constructed after the Great Fire of 1875 and sits on the remnants of Boston Saloon and is marked as a National Landmark for this. Most weekends you can enjoy live music from David John and the Comstock Cowboys, the official house band of the saloon.
The Delta Saloon and Casino is home to the "suicide table" where heavy gaming losses led to gamblers taking their lives in the height of the mining and milling period. One Black Jake reportedly lost $70,000 in one night before turning a gun on himself. Two subsequent suicides were said to have taken place by other owners but their names and stories have been lost to history. The table now sits in the back of the saloon with a detailed history for visitors to delve into the lore.
Gold Hill Saloon
The Gold Hill Saloon is rooted in history, beginning as The Riesen House in 1859 and known as the oldest operating hotel in Nevada. Legend has it Mark Twain and The Monumental Liars Club hung out here. Former hotel guests and residents Rosie and William, who died at a ripe old age, are said to still frequent rooms and rearrange items belonging to guests.
Mark Twain Saloon
The Mark Twain Saloon is tucked away along the boardwalk, a great little gem located in the Comstock Lode Mining District. The only 24/7 spot in town.
Old Corner Bar
Attached to Piper’s Opera House, Old Corner bar is a great place to wet your whistle while on B Street. One of the only saloons located off the main thoroughfare of Virginia City. In the winter you can find a warm spot next to the fire or enjoy a seat out front in the summer with your drink of choice.
There are more than 150 years of history in Ponderosa Saloon, previously the Sharon House and current home of the old Bank of California vault from 1864. Take the 25 minute guided underground mine tour with over 300 pieces of antique mining equipment on display. After the tour enjoy a cold drink and a Pondo Dog!
Red Dog Saloon and Pizza Parlor
Enjoy a locals favorite bar and Chicago-style pizza all in the ambience of the old Red Dog Saloon, dating back to the heyday of the Comstock mines when the saloon was known as the Comstock House. In 1965 the Charlatans, hailing from San Francisco, were hired as the house band, thus beginning psychedelic rock on the Comstock. The likes of Janis Joplin and other musicians joined the ranks of musical acts playing on the Comstock.
The tallest bar in Virginia City was built in 1876 at the Silver Queen. Also home to the portrait of the “Silver Queen” who's dress is inlaid with 3,261 silver dollars which represent how deep the Combination Shaft goes down and 28 twenty dollar gold pieces. The Queen is one of the most famous tributes to the Comstock of the past.
Original chandeliers hang from the ceiling at the oldest saloon in Virginia City: The Millionaires Washoe Club of 1862. On the wall, a description of a world in which elite men could call up a beer, whiskey or cigar for just 25 cents provides a glimpse into a place where modest prospectors-turned-mining-millionaires could find their own special hideaway in the heyday of the widely competitive mineral "rush."