Nevada's Oldest Bar: Genoa Bar & Saloon
Updated: Feb 16, 2019
Hidden at the base of the hills in Genoa is one of the raddest, and THE oldest bar in Nevada. My mom and I actually stopped her twice in January. And seriously, if you’re into museums, you could wander around this small bar for hours looking at all the old memorabilia, signed photos, and antiques.
I’ve done quite a bit of research to showcase what exactly the bar is, how it came to be, and how it’s still open today. So let’s dive right in!
Genoa Bar’s Beginning
The building was built in 1853, before Nevada was even an official US state, and opened under the name Livingston’s Exchange. It was renamed after Frank Fettic purchased it in 1884 to Fettic’s Exchange. When it was Fettic’s it was a gentleman’s saloon serving fine wines, liquors, and cigars. Genoa was (and is) situated between Virginia City and Hangtown, so it was a stop for those traveling between the mining towns.
Cool Things in the Genoa Bar
Wood Fire Stove: the fireplace is the only source of heat for the whole building. But if you sit right up close, you’ll get hot real quick, especially if you have a drink or two.
The Diamond Dust Mirror: the mirror on the back of the bar came from Glasgow, Scotland, in the late 1840's. It was shipped from Europe to San Francisco, and then carried to the bar by covered wagon. Originally, there were two mirrors, but one was sold to a movie company in the 1930's during the great depression. The bartender even shined a flashlight into the mirror so we could see the diamond dust! So fancy!
The window tops: the tops of the windows at the front of the bar are still the original windows from the 1800s. They say they’re tinted yellow from the nicotine that has been smoked over the years.
Celebrity memorabilia: There are posters, photos, and even bras left by the celebrities that have passed through the bar. I found out that Mark Twain, Presidents Ulysses S. Grant and Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt, Carol Lombard and Clark Gable, and all of the Nevada Governors have visited Genoa Bar. Movies with John Wayne, Walter Mathaum, Joe Don Baker, and Clint Eastwood have been filmed in the bar. And lastly, musicians and bands have played at the bar, including Willie Nelson, Charlie Daniels, Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Slim Pickens, John Denver, and the Captain and Tennille.
What You Can Find Today at the Genoa Bar
In 2000 the bar was sold to Willy and Cindy Webb, who runs the bar now. Both times that we went into the bar in January Willy’s daughter has been behind the bar making drinks. On Friday nights you can find live bands at the bar. Any other day you will find regulars and tourists all coming in to enjoy this extremely amazing spot.
If you’re passing through Genoa and need a cold drink, or you just really want to go here – because trust me you do – then don’t hesitate to pop into the Genoa Bar and Saloon. And I even snapped a picture of the menu so you can decide what you want to drink right now!
Looking for other adventures in Nevada? Check out all my blog posts covering things to do in Nevada.
Distance: 52 miles
Driving Time: 55 minutes