"Nellie E. Saloon" - (The Desert Bar)
The "Nellie E Saloon" (refered to simply as the DESERT BAR) is situated in the Buckskin Mountains, in Parker, Arizona, on land that was an old mining camp. The camp was located on the portion of land that is now the parking lot. When Ken acquired the land in 1975, there was nothing left of the old mining camp. With the land and a liquor license from an old business on leased river land, Ken decided to give the "bar in the desert" idea a try. In 1983, Ken opened for business in the temporary three-sided structure which is across from the outdoor restroom's. He operated there for the next five years, until the current saloon was constructed. The name "Nellie E" originates from the old mining claim. They used to mine copper and then take it to the smelter and get gold.
When Ken opened the bar, he hauled water in a 50-gallon tank loaded on the back of his truck. Then he purchased an old fire truck, which he used to haul water. In 1989, he started using a well in the canyon as his water source. In the summer of 1997, Ken drilled a new well on the north side of the saloon that operates on solar power, with the pump set at 360 feet.
The fire truck in the parking lot was acquired from Scott Winter in March of 2001. The fire truck was used by Scott's father in the development of "Bluewater Lagoon"
The "Nellie E" was completed in 1988.
The inside of the saloon is unique in
many ways. It has windows that are old
glass refrigerator doors, the bar stools
are made of steel and they sway from
side to side. The top of the bar is
brass and the ceiling is made of
stamped tin purchased from a factory
in Missouri. The saloon is powered by
solar energy and is stored in batteries
and run through inverters.
Built in 1981, the covered walk bridge was the next big project. It was dedicated in October of that same year. The church was started in 1993, completed in 1996 and dedicated in October. The church is made of solid steel and the walls and ceiling are made of the same stamped tin used inside the bar and the roof is made of copper. The names inscribed on the plaques in the church are people who donated money to help build the church. The church is a unique place for weddings and a great photo spot. There are no services held in the church and all religions are welcome.
Across from the saloon is an outside bar, cooking area and stage. The tall structures you see on the property including Ken's house, located across from the parking lot, are "cooling towers". They work similar to an evaporative (swamp) cooler, except they don't have a fan. When you wet the pads on top, cool air falls and you get a nice cool airflow.
Behind the outside bar is a horseshoe
pit and to the right is a stage for live
music or D.J.
We have live music October through
March, depending on the weather.
Music is on Saturdays and Sundays
from 1:00 p.m. Till 5:00 p.m.
The "Nellie E Saloon" is located 5 miles
off the Cienega Springs Rd exit
approximately 5 miles north of Parker, Arizona.
The Desert Bar is open Labor Day weekend
through Memorial Day weekend,
SATURDAYS and SUNDAYS only (from high noon till sunset),
and holidays during these months. ...
THE BAR IS CLOSED DURING THE HOT SUMMER MONTHS.
We are open one night only, New
Years Eve, (if it falls on a weekend).
During the President's Day weekend in February, we host the annual "DESERT DASH", which is a 5k run/walk and a 5 mile bike ride to the bar for charity.