Saloons and whiskey joints played a huge role in forming the wild, wild west, and played a huge role in Colorado and Denver’s history too. According to historian Tom Noel, the first Denver Government was established in a saloon called the Apollo Hotel in what’s now Larimer Square. And today, deals political and otherwise continue to be hashed out in watering holes across the state.
While we were out and about day tripping, Day Tripping – Part 1 we stopped for lunch at a local saloon called the The Bucksnort Saloon. The Bucksnort Saloon is one of the most iconic bars in the state. The Bucksnort got its start shortly after the turn of the last century, when Lydia and Howard Newhouser ran the Sphinx Park Mercantile out of a circa 1919 wooden structure perched at 7,040 feet in the narrow canyon above Elk Creek. The store catered to railroad workers on the narrow-gauge Denver and South Park Railroad, which ran to Buena Vista, as well as miners who lived in the area and early vacationers trying to avoid the heat (and smell) of a Denver summer in rustic cabins that dotted the area of Pine and Sphinx Park. The spot has always been a community gathering place, and as the mercantile business trailed off in the ’50s, Pete Smaltz would host square-dancing events there. The store closed entirely in the ’60s, and the building turned into a venue for live performances and dances, then a full-fledged bar/restaurant. By the ’70s, it was known as the Bucksnort, reportedly because the then-owner’s dog was a noisy sleeper. Or maybe it was because of a certain decor item left by a rowdy patron.
The Bucksnort Saloon is a rustic, wild west icon that is full of personality. When you walk through the doors, you feel like you have stepped back in time by at least 100 years.
Upon walking through the doors at the Bucksnort Saloon, time stands still. As the sign on the door says, “If you are in a hurry, go to McDonalds”.
The walls are covered with dollar bills that have been autographed by all the patrons, both old and new, and the tables and walls have all been autographed by The Bucksnort’s patrons as well. Yes, we added to the decorations too.
The menu is simple.
Larry enjoyed the Forest Fire Burger with potato salad, named after the wildfires that have threatened the Bucksnort before, topped with jalapeño cream cheese. This is a HUGE monster burger alright.
I had an elk brat with the house recipe baked beans. This brat was full of flavor and cooked to perfection. It was juicy and tender and had a little bit of a kick to it as well. YUM!
The view is spectacular. We dined outside on the patio, and met some really fun people as we were waiting for our food.
This is a little B & B nestled into the mountains, right across the creek from The Busksnort.
When driving up through the mountains, and you go through Pine, CO, you have to stop at The Bucksnort Saloon. They are located at 15921 Elk Creek Road. You can call them at (303) 383-0284 or you can check them out online at thebucksnortsaloon.com or at their facebook page. It will an ex experience like none other, and you will get to live a little in the times of the wild, wild west.
Stay safe and stay well Everyone. ‘Til next time.