In the blazing January sun, Bald Tony and Mick Zano drove the 38 miles south from Las Vegas toward the infamous Pioneer Saloon in Goodsprings, NV. Goodsprings, NV is smack dab in the middle of nowhere, NV, which is in no way affiliated with Nowhere, AZ (a real one horse and one bar town near Prescott). The Pioneer Saloon is allegedly where Clark Gable pined for Carol Lombard after her tragic decision to go to the nearby Idle Spur in Sandy Valley instead (or something like that. I’m not much of a historian—Tony, even less so). The backroom is filled to the brim with old black-and-white pictures and historic newspaper clippings. The very back wall is an altar of sorts to the great Clark Gable, a man who apparently never actually set foot in the joint.
Frankly, my dears, I don’t give a damn.
The place is like a polder, a closed-in Universe, where the bartenders are always trying to pour you another one, you can never quite find the door despite your best efforts, and ‘the next thing you know you’re pinned to a sophomore named Chip.’ What movie? Despite the exigent gnawing fear that the place was some Hotel California-esque desert trap, we ordered another round. I could smell the colitas rising up through the air…whatever the hell that is.
This archetypal western-style saloon is truly one of the great American hangouts. It is cozy, atmospheric, and steeped in history (most of it bullshit). There is an outside seating area, front and back, and always plenty of friendly motorcycle gangs to pass the time with. There is a general store off to the side of the building that sells both water and flavored water, for all of your re-hydration needs. When we arrived, sometime before 11AM, the place was already packed with whiskey drinking bikers. Of course, as if on cue, the Doors’ Roadhouse Blues belted out of the old-style jukebox in the corner (no shit. I think it’s a law or something). Oddly, we had already ‘woke up that morning and got ourselves a beer.’
“Grolsch,” said Tony, tipping back his bottle, “it’s what’s for breakfast.”
|Can you guess what the Discord gang rode in on?
After setting up camp in the billiard room, lined with memorabilia, we found our pool skills weren’t the only thing scary in that haunted backroom. Sadly, there was already a Weird: Las Vegas article hanging on the wall. Foiled again by our arch-nemesis! They’re always one step ahead of us. While perusing the article in question, the main bartagonist poked her head around the corner and dove into the history of this authentic western watering hole (didn’t even have to ask this time). Cindy Niles, one of the main barkeeps, had a much different story to tell than our Weird friends—a story happily involving copious amounts of Grolsch. Sometimes when Cindy is alone in the bar, she reports seeing unexplainable movement out of the corner of her eye (even when taking her Prozac), which today may simply have been Tony recovering his tips. She reports having even chased these peripheral apparitions into the billiard room, only to find the room empty. Our pic of the billiard room revealed a mysterious green orb that, once again, turned out to be the spirit of Kazoo (the little bastard keeps turning up like a bad penny).
Cindy explained the Weird: Nevada authors were “full of shit,” and she was horribly misquoted in their coverage of the Pioneer Saloon. In keeping with our esteemed colleagues’ theme, she went on to say:
“The Daily Discord is responsible journalism at its finest.”
— Cindy Niles
Cindy told this Discord reporter four separate ghost busting groups have staked out the place at different times. When the last bunch, a group of four, came busting through town, she got three of these ghostbusters “stinking drunk.” The boys in gray slugged it out with a pretty pesky poltergeist, then stayed on to dance the night away with some of the lovely ladies who witnessed the disturbance. What movie?
The Pioneer Saloon is truly an awesome stop and Cindy is a great hostess and a talented barkeep. If you ever find yourself driving through the groovy jumping wasteland southwest of Las Vegas, do yourself a favor and do what Carol Lombard did…go to the Idle Spur in Sandy Valley instead. Kidding! This is a worthwhile destination for any bar crawler or paranormal enthusiast. Just beware of Kazoo. He’s a pool shark and apparently keeps stealing Cindy’s tips.