Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Desert Bar (near Parker, AZ), 10/24/2015

Today we had the interesting experience of visiting the very remote Nellie E Saloon, known simply as The Desert Bar. It is located in the Buckskin Mountains on property that was once an old copper mining camp. The owner acquired the land in 1975 and opened the bar in 1983. 

An unmarked dirt road (5.3 miles south of Buckskin State Park) on the left traveling south on Rte 95 is the beginning of a rough and rocky 5-mile drive to the bar. This is through desert terrain so be sure to bring water with you. There were many 4-wheel drive and off-road vehicles on the road (we were driving our Mini Countryman). 

When The Desert Bar first opened in 1983, there was only a temporary three-sided structure and water was brought into the site in a 50-gallon tank loaded on the back of the owner's truck. Next an old fire truck was purchased to bring in water. Today there is a 360' well that operates on solar power. 

The "Nellie E" was completed in 1988 and the covered walkway was added in 1991. A full service bar is located inside and food can be ordered at two locations. Everything is self-order and pickup. 

Turkey burgers, hot dogs, chili and more is available on the main floor. There is also a more extensive menu downstairs (burgers, chicken, fries). 


There is a horseshoe pit behind the outside bar which is an interesting feature that is close to the action. 

Multiple sitting/dining areas can be found on multiple levels of the establishment. There is a stage for performers and we enjoyed hearing the band today. 

There are bathrooms (more like outhouses) on the upper level and a parking area there for off-road vehicles. Flush-toilet bathrooms can be found downstairs next to the kitchen where food can be ordered. 

One of the strangest features here is the "church" that is constructed of solid steel with walls and ceiling of stamped tin. It is a silhouette building (below is a frontal and then a side view) and no services are held here. 


However, this unique location is sometimes used for wedding ceremonies. As luck would have it, a couple got married there today!

This place is open on Saturdays and Sundays from noon until sundown ONLY in the months of October, through April. They are also open Thursday through Saturday on Thanksgiving each year. New Year's Eve is the one night of the year that the establishment is open. 

The Desert Bar is really off the grid utilizing solar energy for the entire operation. They accept only cash for drinks, food, and their hopping t-shirt business. And we did not have cell reception when we were there. 

We enjoyed some cocktails, lunch, and the band. People watching is really interesting here as there all types of people including families that come to this place. We learned about the bar from the folks at the Lake Havasu City Visitor Center or we never would have found it.


  1. that lace will be rocking with large crowds soon as all the people in Quartzite are on their way.. love that place in the middle of the desert

  2. Always a most do when we are in that area.

  3. Happy to hear that you guys have been there. We heard about it from the Visitor Center staff in Lake Havasu City. I was wishing we had a 4-wheel drive vehicle though!