Highest Town in Colorado
The whole town of Leadville looks like a movie set. But the buildings are real and you can walk into the Silver Dollar Saloon and get yourself a beer or a whiskey.
But I was already woozy from the elevation of 10,152 feet. We just stopped in for lunch.
Leadville saloons get lots of interesting tourists. Luckily it was early when we arrived and there was only one motorcycle in front.
We've been to a couple Leadville Saloons on past travels. We've seen a few characters in these saloons.
I couldn't see much more than a reflection when I peeked in the festive window. The painted detail around the window looked a bit Scandinavian. I remembered something about painted shamrocks, the last time we entered this place.
Doors and Floors
We headed through both doors and I was as impressed as I was years ago.
Which was more interesting, the curious doors, or the combination of well-worn floors?
A lot of boots have walked across these old tiles. Evidently long ago, Doc Holiday walked these floors frequently. He gambled and drank here and in 1884, he shot a policeman... over a 5-dollar debt.
Other Notable Guests
Oscar Wilde was also a visitor. In 1882 he appeared at the Tabor Opera House across the street, while on a lecture tour.
The "Unsinkable Molly Brown" moved to Leadville when she was 18. She married and often came to the saloon with her husband. Which was a bold move, because ladies weren't allowed. Although curious women or worrying wives, could step inside the door and have a peek, if they stayed behind the "windbreak". That structure was good for keeping the winter wind from intruding, but it also allowed wives to see what their husbands were up to, without "entering" the bar.
Old and New
There was a lot of stuff decorating the walls and hanging from rafters. TVs and sports decor, reminded us that it was 2022. But mostly there were things that looked like they'd been on display for 100 years.
The front and back bars were definitely original. But, back in 1900, no drinkers would have been sitting at the bar. Instead of barstools, they had a foot rail and plenty of brass spittoons,
Backbar & Mirror
The white oak backbar and the diamond dust mirrors were mighty deluxe! Over a century ago, the bar and mirrors arrived in pieces, after traveling by train and covered wagon, from St. Louis.
I noticed the snout of a coyote (or wolf?) peering from above the rounded top.
Don and I were ridiculously lucky to be seated at one of the 2 booths in the main bar. A rather grumpy bartender tried to steer us towards the back room, which had much less appeal. I sort of begged and we got our way.
I'm pretty sure I impressed her with my cowboy boots, which I had just slipped on in the car. (Sometimes I have to dress for the theme of our dining adventure) I was extra delighted to read that the 2 booths had once been train seats, from the very train that brought the backbar and mirrors to Leadville. They look more like pews to me, but I'd like to believe this story.
Surrounded by Old Stuff
I was pretty delighted with our booth. We had a good view of the bar and the people coming and going. We were also surrounded by lots of curious stuff.
I'm sure there's a story behind every item on display. But I didn't ask our server Elizabeth. (who was absolutely fantastic by the way) But Don did ask her about the corned beef hash.
Breakfast for Lunch!
Elizabeth went into great detail about how the meat was cut up each morning. Her enthusiasm won Don over. He ordered the hearty breakfast plate and couldn't have been happier.
I sampled his corned beef hash, as well as his fried egg, potatoes and toast! It was pretty amazing!
Turkey, Bacon & Cheese
I'm not sure what possessed me to order an open faced turkey and bacon melt. But I was glad that I did.
There was a generous amount of turkey and the bacon was thick and crispy. The homemade toast underneath, didn't even get soggy! We honestly hadn't expected such good food at the old saloon! Both were fantastic.
Off We Go
By the time we finished up, the bar was getting busier. A few people had started playing pool next to us. We dodged the cues as we slid out of our booth. We could have had a more dramatic end to our lunch experience, if one of us had been skewered on our way out!
We thanked Elizabeth, for making our lunch extra pleasurable. We left feeling happy and satisfied. We headed for the car and I took a quick pic from across the street.
When I later compared to my 9 year old photo, I was surprised at how different the buildings looked. The Saloon looked bright with yellow and green paint... and shamrocks. The nearby buildings had no plywood in windows. This photo was taken long before Covid messed with tourism.
I'm so glad things are starting to look better with this pandemic. So glad we stopped in and had more than a beer this time! I hope others do as well!
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.