Thirst Parlor #1The Old Western Saloon

The Old Western Saloon in Point Reyes Station, CA

            We love to get our quirk on in the local cowboy saloons – “thirst parlors” as they were known in their heyday. We have some great ones that have successfully repelled gentrification, yuppification, county regulations and other attacks. One is the Western Saloon in the town of Point Reyes Station which dates back to 1860.

Patrons have been known to ride their horses right into the saloon to get them a drink. The saloon uses a cash register from a remodel done in 1906. It’s got a couple paintings of nudes hanging up, one called Trashy and one called Trixie by locals.

A horse leaves the thirst parlor. Photo from old Western Saloon blog

             It has a colorful history. It once served as a brothel and when the current owner Judith Borello took over 39 years ago she found old transom widows from the rooms labeled with the girls’ nicknames – they all took floral names like Daisy, Rose, Lily. Judith is retired from active management now but she rides in to check on things in her golf cart with a Rolls Royce grill.

            There was a room used by bootleggers during the Prohibition years. Booze was smuggled in at the nearby coast and stored in the windowless lockable place. The Liquor Room also served as a temporary jail for the local sheriff’s deputy in later years since there’s no real jail in town.

            There’s wood stove with some comfy chairs, and a dance floor which patrons attempt to wear out when live music is brought in, like The Lost River Cavemen, who are allegedly a mix resembling Gogol Bordello, Tom Waits, Johnny Cash and the Old Crow Medicine Show. Sounds good to us!

Prince Charles, the Lady Camilla and Fred the (girl) dog at the Old Western Saloon

            Not only horses but notables have stepped into the Western Saloon to slake their thirst. Among them are Prince Charles and the lovely Camilla. The Prince even shared a single mug of beer with owner Judy and gave ol’ Fred the dog a pat on the head. What a sport. Bit of a twist from the parlors back home, eh, your majesty?


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