By Dr. Ink
According to a bartender at the Old Town Saloon, the property dates back to the late 1800s and has operated as a watering hole since the 1930s.
Like the saloon at The Cosmopolitan Hotel a few blocks away, this is one of those bars where you can ponder local history while drowning your brain in gin and tonics.
The Old Town Saloon, however, doesn’t contain the antiquated artifacts or décor that you’ll find at The Cosmopolitan. The closest thing to a historical relic you’ll see here is a working pay phone standing against the front of the building.
So to visualize the distant past of these surroundings, you’ll have to use your imagination or peruse the old-time photographs hanging on the wall showing nameless peeps dressed in Western garb.
A long copper-top bar leading to a few billiard tables in the saloon’s roomy back area reminds me of what neighborhood drinking establishments felt like before they became gentrified, back when you set out for cheap beer and well drinks while shooting the breeze with whoever entered your space.
Indeed, this is one of those divey sanctuaries where you stick around for the long run before stumbling down the street for a sobering burrito since the saloon doesn’t serve food — not even chips or pretzels.
Or you end up here as a rousing last stop to your bar crawl. I did the latter a few times in earlier days — and in a rather hammered state.
Regular drink prices are inexpensive, and they dip down by about a buck during happy hour.
I paid $4 for a rocks glass of Seagram’s Vodka with cranberry juice and lime garnish. That’s the going happy-hour bargain for all well drinks, and the liquor pour was neither weak nor generous. Ditto for the others that followed.
Bottled domestic beers during happy hour are $3.50, imported bottles are $4.50 and drafts are $1 off from a short list of domestics and crafts — Coors, Bud Light, Sculpin, Shock Top and a few others.
Expectedly, several flat-screens hang throughout the bar. They were showing a mix of sports and movies, thankfully without sound.
It was the catchy hodgepodge of music playing from the modern-style jukebox that kept me sticking around — tunes by Rush, Janis Joplin, Rihanna and Johnny Cash.
A few minutes before leaving, “Alabama Song (Whisky Bar)” by The Doors came on, with Jim Morrison singing provocatively: “Show me the way to the next whisky bar.”
Several patrons at the bar and pool tables sang along, but they were too content in this festive environment to heed his command.