The Sourdough Saloon & Wild Burros ~ Beatty, Nevada!

The Sourdough Saloon & Wild Burros ~ Beatty, Nevada!

The Sourdough Saloon in Beatty actually was the last destination that I visited after doing a recent tour through northwestern Nevada.  U.S. Highway 95 runs from Las Vegas to Carson City and this road connects many old historic towns along the way. On the last day of the three day vacation, I toured Tonopah, Lida Ghost Town and Gold Point Ghost Town on the way back to Las Vegas. Dining options were slim to nil after exiting Tonopah, so needless to say, I worked up a pretty good appetite after walking around in the old ghost towns out in the desert. Beatty, Nevada was the next vestige of civilization along the way home, so I decided to take a break from the road at a saloon in this historic old west town.

A had never been inside the Sourdough Saloon in the past, so this little hot spot in Beatty became the top choice for getting some food in the belly during the long drive home in Las Vegas. The Sourdough Saloon is located in the middle of the historic Main Street section of Beatty that is comprised of old buildings from the 1906 Rhyolite gold rush era.  

Some of the old buildings in Beatty are original structures and some of the timber buildings were moved from Rhyolite to Beatty after the gold rush ended.  Rhyolite is just a few miles down the road close to Death Valley and this prosperous town ended up being completely abandoned by 1914.  Beatty was a major hub for stage coach travelers, the mining industry and regional supply lines, so this small town continued to thrive long after the Rhyolite gold mine dried up.  Beatty still serves this same purpose in this modern day and the local businesses still cater to cattle ranching and the Nevada mining industry along with modern automobile tourism.  

In a place where tourism, cattle ranching and mining are active ways of life, an old historic western style saloon will surely be found!  The Sourdough Saloon is one such place and this historic old saloon now caters to the locals and tourists that pass through Beatty.  

During weekdays, the Sourdough Saloon is cozy place to relax, play video poker and strike up some good conversation, while sipping on an ice cold brew and munching away on good food. On the weekends, this old west saloon is a haven for car club tours and motorcycle club rallies. Picnic table seating surrounds the old saloon building, so the large crowds of weekend warriors have plenty of room. The Sourdough is an exciting fun place to be on weekends, but on weekdays this historic old gathering spot is quiet enough to peacefully sip on a beer while reflecting on the days of the old west.  

The Sourdough Saloon offers a classic old west timber building atmosphere that is like stepping back in time.  Interesting old memorabilia and antiques can be seen everywhere in this old saloon and the visual experience is like being in a beer friendly museum! Like many western saloons, visitors leave their calling card in the form of a signed dollar bill stapled to the ceiling. The Sourdough Saloon actually has been around for such a long time that the interior of this saloon is completely papered with autographed dollar bills from floor to ceiling!  Just tying to decipher the messages written on the old monetary notes is entertainment in itself.  Visitors who came from everywhere between Anaheim to Timbuktu have stapled their calling card dollars on the walls of this place and it is an interesting sight to see!

The afternoons are slow and peaceful in old west saloons, so sometimes only a limited menu is offered to the few customers that hang out.  There were only a couple of locals and gamblers in the Sourdough Saloon when I visited and the pizza was the only food offering during the lull period of the day. Having only a choice of pizza gets the nod of approval in just about any traveler’s book, because one simply cannot go wrong with a good old fashioned pizza while on the road!  I was not the only one that felt this way, because a couple of other road weary tourists driving an “RV land yacht” brightened up when they heard that pizza was announced as the only offering too!

After looking at the pizza menu, I figured ending my vacation trip with a top dog signature pizza was the best choice.  The Miner’s Pizza on the menu looked like “da bomb” and this pizza pie turned out to be sheer indulgence at its best!  Every topping but the kitchen sink is piled on a Miner’s Pizza, which makes for a satisfying heavy meal after being on the road touring old ghost towns for most of the afternoon.  An ice cold beer at this saloon also helps to quench the extreme thirst after spitting out desert dust all day. Best of all, some good old friendly western style hospitality can be found in this place!     

On my way out of the town of Beatty, I spotted a couple of wild burros roaming around in a vacant lot.  Wild burrows head down from the mountains every spring in search of an easy meal and these animals are very adept at spotting tourists that are carrying food.  When I rolled the car window down, the aroma coming from the leftover pizza in the to-go box acted like a burro luring magnet.  Once the wild burro caught a whiff of the pizza in the air, the opportunistic desert donkey made a beeline right for my car window.  The burro was actually drooling over the aroma of the pizza and that is when I had to call an end to the friendly visit.  Burros have a habit of sticking their head inside an open window and latching onto anything that even remotely resembles food, so I kicked in into gear before the hungry wild burro had a chance to eat the pizza along with the passenger seat and all! 

Nevada wild burros are fun to look at, but they are wild animals and they are not docile pets.  Burros will bite and kick like an ornery mule when given a chance, so it is best to keep some distance.  As far as feeding wild horses and burros in concerned, it is illegal to do such a thing because the wild animals will become dependent on humans.  So by all means, be sure to guard that good leftover pizza from the Sourdough Saloon with your life when a burro noses up to the car window while passing through Beatty!  


Author: wildwestdestinations

I worked as a chef in remote resorts and National Parks, which provided the time to explore western travel destinations. I have a BA Degree in Culinary Management with high honors and currently I am working on a Masters Degree in Adult Education. My food and travel blog writing began as a means to generate income during college and now photo journalism has become my lifestyle.

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