Bars where Pete has had a Drink (5,835 bars; 1,754 bars in Seattle) - Click titles below for Lists:

Bars where Pete has had a drink

Saturday, August 17, 2019

#3041 - M T Saddle, Shoup, ID - 8/20/2016

Note: After a long time with blog posts lagging behind bar visits, I've recently gone about 9 months without posting a blog entry, and I am now 1,154 bars behind. I do plan to resume blog posts, but since I don't know when (or if) I will catch up on all bars, I'm going to take a different approach. Rather than always posting in the order I visited bars, I will now be posting which ever I feel like doing next, which should enable me to catch up on at least the most interesting (at least to me) bars. The order and dates I actually visited the bar will still be reflected in the titles.

First hint of the M.T. Saddle Saloon
With that said, I had to resume these posts with what may now be my very favorite bar,  the M-T Saddle Saloon, near, Shoup, Idaho. I was not sure we'd actually reach this one, as it is 13 miles down a single lane dirt road along a river, and my car is the furthest thing from an offroad vehicle. There were a few hints of this on the internet from hikers and hunters, including a photo from just the year before my trip, so we were optimistic as we turned off Highway 93 and headed west along the Salmon River. 18 miles later we arrived in the old mining town of Shoup, which actually had human residents and an active business the past few years, but that all ended when the Shoup Store, with its antique gas pumps and beer guzzling salmon sculpture, closed down last November. From Shoup the pavement ends, but the one-lane dirt road is fairly wide and in good shape. While not seeing any humans, we passed deer and ospreys, yellow cliffs and desert bighorn sheep. Approximately 13 miles down the dirt road to seemingly nowhere, we spotted a faded plywood sign for the M-T Saddle, and shortly thereafter, there, almost miraculously, it stood.

The saloon was opened by Mike Tibbits in the mid 70s (his initials forming half of the double entendre of the establishment's name). The presiding bartender was a perfectly grizzled character named "Oly." The taps were inoperable, but the refrigerator was stocked with cold, cheap beer and sodas. The saloon, with a couple other buildings on the lot, was crammed full of dusty photos, paintings, and artifacts. One of the locals told me that Tibbits had a plan to create an entire little ghost town block, but that plan seems to have been abandoned. There are few hints of the bar's existence from outside the lot itself, and we chatted with some semi-locals who had just stumbled upon it that day after deciding to just head down that road to see what's at the end of it. You might imagine their surprise. In my own search for "hidden gems" of bars around the northwest, it will be difficult to top this one.

Bartender Oly

A few road obstacles on the way
3431 Salmon River Rd, Shoup, Idaho                               
Est. 1970s
Previous bars in this location: None known
Web site: facebook (unofficial)
Other: Idaho State Police Preliminary Order

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