Get a taste of the Wild West |

Get a taste of the Wild West

Gold Pan Saloon is the oldest bar in Breck

By Kimberly Nicoletti
For the Summit Daily

Editor’s Note: Sponsored content brought to you by Gold Pan Saloon

Gold Pan Saloon is the oldest bar in Breckenridge, but it keeps things fresh and new each season. Recently, it partnered with renowned Denver chefs and upgraded its menu with unique twists.
Courtesy Photo
What’s on the menu?

• GOLD PAN COBB – mixed greens, egg, avocado, tomato, green onion, bacon, blue cheese and choice of grilled shortrib, salmon or chicken breast

• PORCHETTA SANDWICH – pulled pork, arugula, red onion, truffle aioli $12

• LAMB FRENCH DIP – thinly shaved lamb, sautéed onions, dipping jus

• GARLIC HERB FRIES with pecorino cheese & herb aioli

• BURRATA seasonal preparation

• MAC & CHEESE fusilli, toasted bread crumbs (option to add hatch green chile)

• All natural Colorado beef burgers (8 oz); all burgers and sandwiches served with fries or small salad; sub garlic & herb fries or sweet potato fries

More than 140 years ago, rugged miners bellied up for a stiff drink or two at the Gold Pan Saloon (then called Long’s Saloon).

The red and green building houses the legendary Wild West bar, an establishment that holds the longest continuous liquor license west of the Mississippi. In 1887, townspeople gathered at the watering hole to talk about Tom’s Baby, a 13-½ pound chunk of gold discovered in Breckenridge. Two years later, more than a thousand people called Breckenridge home, and in 1900, phones and electricity energized the town.

These days, long-time locals, seasonal ski bums and visitors hang out at in the exact same Victorian building. They sit on wooden-topped stools dotting an ornately carved solid wood bar, and rest their boots upon the old mining track footrest. As new and old friends chat, they’re likely to gaze into the original Victorian mirror, which literally helped miners watch their backs.

Meanwhile, people relax at tables in the restaurant, placed on the old wooden floor, and order sandwiches, happy hour specials, dinner entrees, and all–day breakfast items, like pancakes and breakfast burritos or burgers in the restaurant.

An upgraded menu

In 2017, Gold Pan partnered with renowned Denver chefs and upgraded its menu with unique twists, like locally-sourced lamb French dip, goat (or pork, chicken or veggie) tacos on red wine tortillas, house-made green chili, glazed ribs, hot pastrami, and, of course, familiar burgers and sandwiches. This winter’s specialty includes beer battered salmon and grilled beef short ribs with herbed potatoes.

Appetizers range from bacon-wrapped jalapenos and crispy fried Brussels sprouts to comforting mac & cheese, and salads include Cobb, Caesar, mushroom gnocchi and spinach antipasto. And, you don’t want to skip out on Gold Pan’s chocolate cake du jour or vanilla bean crème brulée.

Food, drinks and a good time for all

The Gold Pan Saloon holds the longest continuous liquor license west of the Mississippi.
Courtesy Photo

Happy hour, daily from 3-6 p.m., offers $2 glazed ribs, tacos or sliders and $5 well drinks, $2 off tap wine and $1 off draft beers. Bartenders love serving their specialty cocktails, whether it’s a mango mojito, rum punch, barrel-aged Manhattan or Cider-Mosa. They even make their own hard cider, called Ten Mile Cider, in the wine cave, underneath the building. While the crawlspace-turned-winery (which they give tours of) is new, the idea of sub terrain passageways is not: Gold Pan Saloon used to have a secret tunnel that led to the courthouse in the gold rush days. Some speculate town officials used it to discreetly access the brothel, which at one time sat above the bar. Others say it played a part in bootlegging during Prohibition.

Live bands liven up an already energetic scene on Thursday nights, and DJs get the house rockin’ — and dancin’ — on Friday and Saturday nights. The rough-and-tumble saloon is also popular for its ring toss game.

While the Gold Pan Saloon is a favorite watering hole for locals and visitors, a family-friendly restaurant, a place to dance and play and share stories and a hot place for bachelorette parties, the other side of the building hosts a more sophisticated and sleek winery called Carboy Winery. So, whether you’re looking for a true historic experience, great food and music, drinks or education about Colorado and other regional wines, 103 North Main Street in Breckenridge is the place to go.

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