The Desert Bar – Out there in more ways than one
The desert bar is one of those places that is out there (in more ways than one) and totally worth the trip!
The real name is the Nellie E Saloon, named after the old copper mining camp the bar sits on. The “Desert Bar” is really more of a nick name that stuck.
When Ken (the owner) first arrived in Parker Arizona, back in 1975, he had an old liquor license from a previous business…and that’s how the idea for the “bar in the desert” came about. Since then, he has poured a lot of hard work and creativity into building up what you see today. He is a man after our own hearts. He reuses and recycles everything he can, and the bar is completely off the grid! Being off the grid this far out in the desert is no easy task my friends. I can only imagine how many sweaty, dry and uncomfortable days he had to endure through during the process. This guy is what my friend Benjamin Jenks would call a “badass action-taker”.
Today there is running water from a well, enough electricity to keep the beer cold and power a stage of rockers…all from solar power! Oh and let’s not forget the air conditioning! There are “cooling towers” that work similar to a swamp cooler, except they don’t have a fan. When you wet the pads on top, cool air falls and voilà, you’ve got fresh cool air. I don’t know if Ken has ever been to Burning Man before or not, but he would sooo fit in!
Now, don’t get out here and expect a big diversity of beers and wine. I don’t know if you have picked up on this yet or not, but this place is all about the basics and that’s what you’ll get. You won’t see any of the fancy craft brews you read about on The Roaming Pint but you can count on it being ice cold.
If you have a 4WD vehicle, dune buggy, quad or if you can rent one, the “back way” in to the bar is an adventure in itself, and definitely the preferred method for the locals. Think of it as a rite of passage. You can’t call yourself a true desert dweller until you’ve popped a tire on the rocks or at least ridden hard enough to where your skin and the dirt are one in the same. Either way, that cold beer when you finally make it to the bar will taste sooo much better!
Remember, it’s only open when the weather is mild (although they could easily cook burgers on the truck hood in the summer heat). Oct – April, Saturday & Sunday only from high noon till 6pm. Oh, and New Years Eve, if it falls on a weekend.
Might want to correct the Title and video. Desert bar isn’t in Lake Havasu its in Parker Arizona I have spent 20 years living in Parker and Havasu area. Just figured i would give you guys a heads up some people in Parker might get a little upset this bar has no association with Lake Havasu City. Not to mention i drive my Mazda rx7 out to there on the main road 4×4 is only needed if you come in from the River Island Market way.
Thanks for the Heads up. We do know the bar is in Parker County, near Lake Havasu City. Technically it’s in La Paz, AZ 85344. Didn’t want to get too technical, but you’re correct in thinking people in Parker might take offense.
As for the rx7, the highway into the bar is a nice drive, but our favorite way is definitely the 4×4 back way.
Oh the memories of our first visit to Lake Havasu! At the time we were towing our little home on wheels with a 4×4 Diesel Jeep… and our hosts suggested taking the back way to the Desert Bar.
Kinda scary when your play vehicle is also half your house 🙂 But we survived and lived to tell the tales…
Video of our off roading to the Desert Bar:
Glad you guys had a great time.. and keep enjoying LHC!
The Desert Bar is our favorite place to take visitors…they can’t believe it. You need to come early in the winter high season to even GET a chair, let alone one in prime ‘people watching’ position. Always a good live band, kids crawling all over the hills, and the most interesting people to watch! It is the ultimate hang out spot. Hope to see you there Wynn’s.
We’ll be in Havasu for the next few weeks. I want to bring my family to the Desert Bar when they head into town mid December. Would love to see you guys!
Holla!! Thanks for the shout out! Too bad he can’t get a good beer in there as there are plenty of good options in AZ, but it does sound like a fun place to venture out. I believe our Nü friend Sam was telling us about this place and how cool it is!
Where you guys the only ones there??? lol
yep, that is why you don’t show up late to the party….because when the sun starts setting everyone leaves the desert!
Love the dual voice-over…
And looks like a fun place to get a little wild!
I’ve heard some good stories from locals about the crazy weekends….we’d love to be a part of that and capture a piece on film!
So happy to hear about the desert bar again. We were there about 10 years ago & really enjoyed it. It’s not to be missed by anyone wanting to really get to know the locals (we met u guys I’n So. Carolina, ( we towed the red jeep) mike & joann
The bar is still going strong…although you can’t really tell from the video. Since we took the back way in we didn’t arrive to the bar till 4pm and most everyone was on their way out! Ooops. If you had the opportunity to visit 10 years ago then you probably saw it when it was 1 tiny bar….you get a brief glimpse of the original bar at frame 00:40
Thanks for taking the time to say hello!
Jason, in this video, are you using your Canon to take the video, GoPro, or a combination of both?
Hello Clifford, this video was filmed mostly on the Canon 5D Mark II, although we did some of the driving footage with the GoPro Hero. You can find my gear list on this post: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/hd-video-secrets
We were heading down to Parker from the high desert near Bullhead City in a month so we will definitely check this place out! Oh, and we popped a tire in the Pahrump desert last month!!! 😉
James make sure you send us a FB message, we’re in Lake Havasu City till the first of 2013, so let’s meet for a beer! Safe travels.
Their open from Labor Day weekend to Memorial Day weekend !
Thanks Randy, you must have the inside scoop! We just know they’re not open all the time, and Oct. – April is what’s on their site. Thanks for sharing.