Virginia City Saloons
Belly Up and be Enlightened at Our Old West Saloons
No other type of business dominates the landscape of this historic mining town like Virginia City's saloons and restaurants. Many date back to the Comstock period when unwinding from a day's work noted the hard life and good times for Virginia City's thousands of residents.
To this day, many saloons have maintained the 19th century look and antiques. Some have added slot machines and posted history lessons of experiences encompassing wild yet memorable times in Virginia City. A visitor today can do or learn much more than feasting on a meal and summoning their favorite cocktail, draft or glass of wine at any of the City's 13 bars and 21 eateries situated primarily on C Street.
The Delta Saloon and Casino is home to the "suicide table" where heavy gaming losses led to its owners 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 then turned 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 after they met in San Francisco. Posters on the wall of the bar mark the famous appearance.
As mystery has it, the Bank of California walk-in vault of 1864, which now sits in the Ponderosa Saloon, was robbed in 1927 with much of the $32,000 unrecovered. The money is believed to be hidden in the hills of Six Mile Canyon, once home to large mining and milling operations.
It's capitalism at its finest at the birthplace of the largest silver ore deposit in U.S. history. The Ponderosa Saloon also offers visitors to tour an underground mine for a nominal fee. This is the case of many businesses with relics, antiques and access to the underground world throughout Virginia City, giving tourists seeking up-close-and-personal views of history maintained for over 150 years.
The Millionaires Washoe Club of 1862 still wields the closest thing to opulence and age in this old western town. The original chandeliers hang from the ceiling at the oldest saloon in Virginia City. On the wall, a description of a world in which elite men could call up a beer, whiskey or cigar for 25 cents provide 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."
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 Ghosts Rosie and William still live here. The stories abound.
Today, a friendly competition ensues between the Silver Queen Hotel's saloon and the Bucket of Blood bar on the other side of the street over who makes the best Bloody Mary in town.
The Saloons of Virginia City
Brass Rail Saloon
Bucket of Blood
Mark Twain Saloon
Old Corner Bar
Red Dog Saloon & Pizza Parlor
Gold Hill Saloon