March 8, 2023
When I was on the women's panel at the Tucson Festival of Books last Saturday, I went off on a tangent about all the bars and honkytonks I played in Tucson when I attended the University of Arizona. The list, off the top of my head, included, The Doll House, The Embers, The Cedars, The Hi Ho Club, The Dunes and the Poco Loco. And these are just the bars on Speedway Blvd that I played in. I also played quite a bit in the VFW at Speedway near Alvernon, but that is another story and venue. The main point is, every single one of those legendary bars are gone. History.
Same for the The Stumble Inn, The Oxbow, The Maverick, The Longhorn, The Hayloft, The Red Rooster and the Moose Lodge on Wilmot Road. All gone and paved over.
In my old stomping grounds up in Mohave County, I played in The Smokehouse, The Sportsman Lounge, The Kingman Club, The Elks, The American Legion and even behind the bait shop at Katherine's Landing. With perhaps the exception of the bait shop and the Kingman Club, none of these stalwart watering holes is still standing.
In Phoenix, I played at the Fifth National Bank, JD's In The River Bottom, The Library (a clever name for a bar adjacent to ASU), Dooley's and perhaps the most famous of all, Mr. Lucky's.
Mr. Lucky's on Grand Avenue
featuring Wanda Jackson on July 23, 1969
What this long list of dried up watering holes from my misspent youth illustrate is just how special the ones that have survived—and that were conceived even earlier—and are still standing. Just in my neck of the woods, that would include The Palace Bar in Prescott, The Museum Club in Flagstaff and The Crystal Palace in Tombstone. Of course, there are many more throughout the West and we will run the full list—bar none!—in the next issue of True West.
"Last call for alcohol."
—A phrase that is burned into my brain