Sunday, May 22, 2022

THE COCKTAIL HOUR: Elko, Nevada Pub Crawl

Idaho Street...or highway the main thorough fare of Elko, Nevada. You'll find all the main gas stations, hotels, fast food joints, and casinos along this street. A block south is a square, with no name that I can find, that is bordered by 3rd Street on the west, 8th Street on the east (where the centennial railroad water tower is) with storefronts lining Railroad and Commercial Streets on the north and south. In the middle is a large parking lot with room for hundreds of cars.

Since no one else has seemed to name it, I'll call it "Railroad Square" because the parking lot is where the train tracks used to be long ago.

Along the edges of this square, I count eight bars and one casino. Not all are open the afternoon we're here but it looks like we'll be able to hit most of them that are.

Before we start drinking, we check out the Cowboy Arts and Gear Museum, located in the former saddelry of G.S. Garcia who fabricated western saddles and gear here from 1894 through 1933. After that, we spend a few minutes two doors down at a still functioning saddle and gear store, JM Capriola.

Now, we can start our crawl. First up is Machi's Saloon. A few patrons are sipping the appropriate Basque libation, picon punch, while we strike up a converstation with them over our whiskey sours.

One of the cowboys at the bar tells us of the syndicate he runs to buy a horse to run in the big horse race that is run during the county fair each September. His buddy tells us about where this desert town's water comes from (underground) and the dozen or so commercial gold mines that still operate in the region.

Next up is another couple of sours at the Stockmen's Casino where, since I'm feeding the video poker machine at the bar, are free. Well, I do spend two bucks on poker but the free drinks are a pretty good trade.

We come across a lovely little dive bar called Goldie's on the other side of the square. They don't have the ingredients necessary for a whiskey sour so it's just shots of Maker's Mark for us while we get to know some more locals and their young, friendly pit bull who gets lonely whenever one of them goes to the bathroom.

Lastly, we head a couple of blocks away to the Toki Ona, a local Basque watering hole and restaurant, to have a couple of picon punches while deciding to stay for dinner.

It's a nice taste of what this small city has in store and we vow to come back and try some of the other closed locations on another trip.

Darryl Musick
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