Historic Photos of Old Bars & Saloons from the Late 1800s to Early 1900s
Old bars, saloons, taverns, watering holes, taprooms, speakeasies, night clubs or whatever name they may have been called over the years… These establishments have delivered adult entertainment through alcohol and companionship for centuries. Early 20th century bars / saloons were sometimes fun, sometimes wild, sometimes dangerous, but almost always the top night-time attraction in town.
Making a Tenderfoot Dance – Unknown Old West Bar (1907)
Seven men with guns, including the bartender, in a saloon pointing down at the floor forcing another man to dance. (Loc.gov)
Table Bluff Hotel and Saloon (1889)
1889 historic photo of the interior of the old Table Bluff Hotel and Saloon – Table Bluff, Humboldt County, California. Notice the Grizzly Bear chair? Famous Table Bluff pioneer, Seth Kinman, made and presented Grizzly Bear chairs like this to several U.S. Presidents. (Wikimedia Commons)
These historic photos of early 1900s old bars & saloons depict a long-gone era filled with old-school charm and nostalgia. You’ll see long-flowing waxed mustaches, bow ties, sleeve garters, vests, dresses, suspenders and hats that just aren’t the typical attire today. Instead of hip-hop music blasting through speakers, patrons to these establishments blasted their guns – just for fun and sometimes in anger at one another.
Old Bars – Yellow Aster Saloon (ca 1900)
Old photo of the interior of the Yellow Aster Saloon, which was a tent structure, in Ransburg, California – ca 1900. Photo depicts four men sitting around a table gambling while another man watches, a barber ready to do business, a bartender, and an adult with several children gathered around one end of the bar. (usc.edu)
The Monte Carlo Bar – Dawson City, Yukon Territory (ca 1898)
Lots of men and two women at the bar of the Monte Carlo, Dawson City, Yukon Territory, Canada – ca 1898. (Wikimedia Commons)
Judge Roy Bean Holding Trial for a Horse Thief at Courthouse & Saloon – Langtry, Texas (1900)
Judge Roy Bean – the “Law of the Pecos” – holding court for trial of a horse thief at old town of Langtry, Texas – 1900. The building in the photo was both the courthouse and the town saloon. (National Archives / Public Domain)
Gambling at Telluride, Colorado Saloon (ca 1910-1920)
This photo shows men gambling in a Telluride, Colorado saloon. The men appear to be playing cards and other games. There is a roulette wheel visible in the foreground. Local sheriff is pictured, leaning against the bar. (Library of Congress)
Dispute with the Bartender – Unknown Old West Bar (1907)
This old bar photo shows a cowboy with a gun, fighting with the bartender behind the bar. Three other cowboys are standing at the bar with guns drawn. (Library of Congress)
Late 1800s / early 1900s bars came in many different sizes and styles. You could find everything from tiny one-room shacks with leaky roofs and dirt floors to grand, elaborate establishments filled with drugs, drinking, gambling, prostitution, and other nefarious vices. Some of these establishments are still around today, while others came and went like the boomtowns they were a part of. Enjoy these 20 historic photos of bars & saloons and be sure to leave a comment at the end of the post.
Old Bar – London, England (ca 1893)
An old bar in London, England as photographed by American photographer William H. Rau circa 1893. A man is shown having a drink with two bar maids and a barkeep behind the bar. (Wikimedia Commons)
Toll Gate Saloon – Black Hawk, Colorado (1897)
Interior photo of the Toll Gate Saloon in Black Hawk, Colorado – 1897. Photo shows intricate details of the saloon interior, such as: brass spittoon, arched entry windows, swinging doors, stove at left, animal head trophies, and an 1897 calendar on the wall. Three men are pictured – two bar patrons and a bartender. (Wikimedia Commons)
Arcade Saloon – Eldorado, Colorado (1898)
Exterior photo of the Arcade Saloon in Eldorado, Colorado – 1898. Photo shows a group of men standing outside the saloon, possibly waiting for opening time. (Wikipedia / Public Domain)