Showman owner envisions Old West future for rustic Nevada living room

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Updated 5 hours and 51 minutes ago

GOODSPRINGS, Nevada (AP) – With his gold and black athletic coat, cowboy hat and tie featuring an exotic dancer in silhouette, Old Man Liver was his own in this century-old Nevada desert saloon.

Louisiana-born musician, whiskey producer and entrepreneur, Old Man Liver – real name Stephen Staats – is the new owner of the Pioneer Saloon in Goodsprings, a former mining town of some 250 residents about a 40-minute drive from Las Bande de Vegas.

The Pioneer, on the outskirts of this small town, is a popular spot for motorcyclists, tourists, and locals in the Las Vegas area.

A showman, Staats likes to say he won the Pioneer in a game of poker. In fact, he bought it from Noel Sheckells as part of a $ 1.5 million deal that was struck this summer. Sheckells owned the saloon for 15 years.

With the exception of an ATM and jukebox in the main bar room – there’s also a dining room and an adjacent general store – it’s not hard to imagine the Pioneer as it is. ‘it was when it opened in 1913. During the colder months, a wood stove heats the building.

Staats told the Las Vegas Sun it was his responsibility to keep the show’s history alive. Before playing to buy the Pioneer, Staats said he went to the saloon “a million times” as a patron.

“This place enters your soul,” he said. “On the weekends, this whole place is full. The parking lot is full; almost every inch is taken.

Outside the living room there is a seating area and a small terrace where groups play on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. There is also a private outdoor dining area which can be hired for parties and special events like weddings.

Staats said he plans to build a more modern stage, possibly even an amphitheater with seats tucked into the adjacent hill.

Staats said he also plans to rename the adjacent Ghost Town Café as a general store. This is what the building was used for when the Pioneer opened in the late 1800s. The store still has the original tin walls and ceiling from that time.

Today the building serves as a gift shop, with t-shirts, shot glasses, meat seasoning mixes, and products from one of Staats’ other business ventures, Vegas Voodoo, for sale. . Vegas Voodoo makes voodoo dolls and other lucky charms for gamers in Las Vegas.

Staats, who has lived in Las Vegas for about eight years after two decades in Los Angeles, said he would eventually like to add a 1950s-style soda and malt counter to the general store.

“I think the kids could have their own space in the store with malts and candies, and the adults could have the saloon across the street,” Staats said. “We want this general store to be a place where people can get unique and cool items that they can’t get anywhere else.

Although he didn’t know it when he bought the Pioneer, Staats said that the Ghost Town Café is featured in a video game called Fallout: NewVegas, a post-apocalyptic role-playing action game.

“We bring people here every day because of this video game,” Staats said. “We had a 21 year old plane from Philadelphia to celebrate his birthday here just because of the game. He said it was his dream to visit the Ghost Town Café.

In addition to his fame in video games, the Pioneer has ties to classic Hollywood actors Clark Gable and Carole Lombard.

Gable waited at the saloon in January 1942 to find out about his wife’s fate after a plane crash on Mount Potosi near Las Vegas. Lombard was one of 22 people who perished in the crash.

Gable reportedly burned several holes in the cherry wood bar as he nervously smoked chain cigarettes while he waited for the research to be completed.

A piece of the plane wreckage is displayed on the wall of the Pioneer dining room.

Framed images from films and other productions featuring the Pioneer are also on display, including “Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous” and “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”.

“At the Pioneer Saloon, you never know what’s going to happen or who’s going to walk through the door,” Staats said.

Staats said people from all over the world have visited the Pioneer, but he wants to increase its profile further.

“It bothers me that not everyone in Las Vegas seems to have heard of the Pioneer,” Staats said. “My goal is to make this regionally semi-famous place a world famous place. “

Glenn Adams of Las Vegas has known the Pioneer for years. That day he rode his Harley-Davidson motorcycle with a small group of family and friends.

“It’s a great destination, a place to get away from it all,” Adams said. “We go out a lot for live music. We bikers love the Pioneer.

Staats said he plans to reserve parking spaces in front of the show for motorcycles and horses. Yes, the locals sometimes ride up to the Pioneer, which only adds to the Old West mystique of the tavern.

This mystique includes ghost stories, common among Pioneer employees. Objects tend to disappear and some workers claim to have had ghostly encounters.

“I’ve been scratched by ghosts twice,” said Kristi Cristiano, a waitress who has worked at the Pioneer for four years. “I was wearing jeans and cowboy boots, but I got my whole leg scratched. I don’t know how it would have happened.

According to tradition, a number of former prostitutes have haunted the pioneer since the days when Goodsprings was a thriving mining town.

Staats plans to join them one day.

“I fell in love with this place,” he said. “My long term goal is to hopefully be a ghost here at the Pioneer. “

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