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Monday, January 21, 2019

The Desert Bar - A Weekend Destination

For the past few years I have kown of The Desert Bar in Parker, Arizona.  (Nellie E Saloon -The Desert Bar, Cienega Springs Rd, Parker, AZ 85344)  It’s an off-grid establishment about 5 miles from US95 on dirt roads that get increasingly rough as you arrive at the bar.  It is only open on weekends October through April.

The road there takes you through BLM land, past Boondockers and people practice shooting.  Although a rough road, my Prius could have make it, provided I would take it slow and be careful.  

As you arrive parking could be tight for cars with low clearance.  Having my truck, I was able to back up over a rough gravel wash to park.  As you can see in the above picture the road is cut through the hill where the main parking is.  I parked at the bottom of this hill as the main parking was already full.

This destination is the site of an old mine and there are relics to amuse on the way to the bar.

Remember that this is my first time here and I only had sketchy information on what to expect.

I knew it opened at noon and that online it is recommded to arrive early, but arrived at 12:45 due to a bit of a late start from the Big Tent TV Show in Quartzsite. My tardiness resulted on parking a bit away, but not far.  What I didn’t know was the place was already packed as much of the parking is obscured.

There are two levels with seating and food ordering g lines in each level.  Seeing the first level was full I chose to go to the second level.  The prominent building with the tower is only a facade but adds charm to the setting.

There is a band playing rock music that started at 1:00, as I stood in the food line.  Susan, who is a friend and at the RTR came with me and she grabbed a couple chairs without table, since this was all that was left. 

The first floor, as it turns out, has a more extensive menu including cheese for your burger and fries.  I got in this second floor food line for burgers and chips.

After waiting for 10 minutes with a recent retiree from Washington State, the young woman announces that she would not take more orders for 20 minutes, as the cook was backed up.  The 6 people in line in front of us left and we looked at each other and we both agreed that no way would we want to leave the line to come back and stand in line again.  So, we stood for another 20 minutes until we could order.  After I ordered food I went around the bar for drinks, and brought them to were we were sitting, then returned to find the burgers I ordered ready.

With burgers $4.50 and $1.00 for potato chips there (cash only) there is no price gouging for the remoteness of the location.  Coors Light is $3.00.   It is also a family friendly environment, although not many children could be seen.

Many wandered around as they could not find a seat.

Others stood around under the canopy like any other  bar crowd..  There are two bars on the second floor and the wait to order was minimal.  The canopies shading patrons are actually solar panels.

Wether you came to people watch, have a few drinks, and or eat pub food, it’s a. nice crowd, mostly a bit older as many are in the area as they come for the winter, sun and warmth.  Therefore most are retired.

Although finding a table was an issue when I arrived, by 2:00 pm early birds were starting to leave freeing up tables.

I enjoyed my visit and would want to go again.  If you plan on going plan the time to drive on the dirt road since you have to go slow.  There is no cell service at the bar so you can’t call your friends to find out where they are and you will have to wait until you get back to the highway to share on social media.


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