When you walk through the doors of the Iron Door Saloon in the heart of gold country, you can’t help but feel more than 150 years worth of gold-mining history just seeping from the shist rock and mortar walls. What a cool place to soak up the atmosphere and wind down after another great day at Yosemite National Park.
Named “The Oldest Saloon in California,” The Iron Door began life in 1852 as the Granite Store (for its solid granite block front and back walls), then shifted into high gear in the 1860s as a post office and town store. In 1896, the historic saloon was christened “Jake’s Place.” English iron doors were added to create a fireproof respite for townies should a big blaze cut through town. The saloon has transitioned a few times through the decades, but under current ownership the Iron Door is a family-friendly place where people of all nationalities soak up the California atmosphere.
Expect moose heads and other taxidermy, vintage photos of landmarks and local historic events, pioneer and gold mining paraphernalia, and an awesome old bar that surely has seen its share grizzled men ripe with liquid courage.
And if you’re one of the travelers passing through, you might get a chance to leave your mark. Look up while in the Iron Door Saloon and you’ll understand. Hundreds of dollars have been signed by visitors, then launched skyward with a tack. To the cheering crowds, the dollar-tossers get three shots to leave a part of themselves behind and become a part of Iron Door Saloon’s modern day history. And when the proceeds are gathered, funds are donated to charity.
Live music on weekends. Changing daily menu. Check the website for weekly updates.
The Iron Door Saloon
18761 Main Street, Groveland, CA