Nellie E. Saloon is a solar-powered, totally green, off the grid saloon 5 miles off the Cienega Springs Rd exit on Hwy-95 approximately 5 miles north of Parker
The "Nellie E Saloon", better known as Desert Bar, is situated in the Buckskin Mountains, in Parker, Arizona, on land that was once an old mining camp. It is rumored that Ken, an undisputedly unique individual, acquired the land in 1975 in a poker game. The name "Nellie E" originates from the old copper mining claim.
With the land and a liquor license from an old business on leased river land, in 1983 Ken decided to give the "bar in the desert" idea a try and opened for business in the three-sided structure which remains today across from the outdoor restrooms. Five years later the current saloon was constructed.
Completed in 1988, the saloon is as unique as its owner, with old glass refrigerator doors as windows, swaying steel barstools, a solid brass bar and a stamped tin ceiling harvested from a circa 1800s factory in Missouri. The saloon is powered entirely by solar energy stored in batteries and run through inverters.
Interesting sights at the Desert Bar include an antique fire truck that was used to build the Bluewater Lagoon, loads of old mining equipment and an odd church made of solid steel with the same stamped tin ceiling as the bar and a solid copper roof. Names of those who donated funds to help build the church are inscribed inside. 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"
Surrounding the bar are horseshoe pits, an outdoor cooking area and several stages where live bands and DJs play from October through March. From the bar you can also view Ken’s house up on a ridge with its statuesque cooling towers which work similar to a swamp cooler but have no fan. With wet pads on top of each tower, cool air falls down the shafts to create a nice chilly airflow.
HOW TO GET THERE !
The "Nellie E Saloon" is located 5 miles off the Cienega Springs Rd exit on Hwy-95, approximately 5 miles north of Parker, Arizona. It is open Labor Day weekend through Memorial Day weekend, Saturdays and Sundays only from high noon till sunset, and holidays during these months.
Desert Bar welcomes kids, dogs and dirt bikes. For those a little more adventurous, try taking your ATV on the back route which trail heads off behind River Island Market. It’s a fun and, for some, a challenging ride!
There is only one night that the Desert Bar is open for business and that is New Years Eve, ONLY if it falls on a weekend.
DESERT BAR IS CLOSED DURING THE HOT SUMMER MONTHS
– and don’t even think about visiting.
Signs clearly posted warn of your fate if you do.
"Let’s just say that once we got to The Desert Bar, a cold beer and a hamburger sure did hit the spot! This was definitely a unique spot to spend the afternoon, and what an oasis in the middle of the Arizona desert! Definitely worth checking out"