ON & OFF THE BEATEN PATH :: Rusty Spur Saloon & Papago Brewing, Scottsdale AZ

by David Daugherty on March 13, 2013

On-Off_CLASSICLocated at 7245 East Main Street, near the corner of Brown & Main Streets in Old Town Scottsdale, the Rusty Spur Saloon is a jewel — it’s world famous, known for gracious hospitality, great burgers and live entertainment 7 days and 7 nights a week. Proprietor Susan Anderson, a great person to speak with, told me the following:

Rusty Spur SaloonA registered historic landmark, the building in which the Rusty Spur Saloon resides was built in 1921 where for more than a decade it housed town’s first bank, the Farmer’s State Bank of Scottsdale. In 1933, it closed for a “bank holiday” that was called by Governor B. B. Moeur, and it never reopened. Prior to 1951, the building housed the first offices of the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce and, later, a real-estate office. In 1951, it was renovated and opened as the Rusty Spur Café. In 1958, the café obtained a liquor license and was renamed the Rusty Spur Saloon.The old bank vault is still there, now serving as a liquor cabinet and beer cooler. The saloon boasts being patronized over the years by Western greats such as John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, and Ernest Borgnine, as well as sightings of Keifer Sutherland, Jack Nicholson, Jennifer Aniston, Vince Vaughn, Dierks Bentley and John Rich (Big & Rich).

Rusty Spur SaloonEvery January, The Rusty Spur Saloon is the destination of choice for the Hashknife Pony Express riders. After completing the 200 mile relay ride over the grueling, mountainous trail from Holbrook to Scottsdale, the Hashknife Pony Express riders proceed to the Scottsdale Post Office located at the corner of Brown & Osborn Streets to deliver the specially postmarked mail. The Riders then form up and ride north on Brown to Main Street where they dismount and tie up at the Rusty Spur Saloon for the “end of the trail” celebration. The camaraderie at the celebration of another successful ride continues for hours. This opportunity to meet with real pony express riders who carry on a tradition started in the 1860s American West is an extraordinary experience.

SONY DSCAlmost every inch of this unique saloon is decorated with Western memorabilia, a collection of license plates, and thousands of dollar bills hanging from the ceiling. The money, given by patrons who wish to leave their mark, is donated every two years to a local children’s charity, Arizona Action For Foster Children.

SONY DSCThe Spur also sponsors a motorcycle bike run every year which has been an annual event for the last 6 or so years with 50-75 riders, also benefiting charity, the Rusty Spur maintaining the time honored tradition of the Old West Saloon, being much more than just a great watering hole, also serving and being a true and valued member of the community.


SONY DSCFinally, I made it to Papago Brewing, located in the Papago Plaza on the southwest corner of McDowell and Scottsdale Road. From the outside, it looks as if it is just a small bar. But once inside, it’s amazing!

Papago Brewing Monk

As you walk in, you are greeted by the giant monk. To the right is an area to play darts. Walking further in, looking down the long building, the bar is to the right, which has 30 wonderful beers on tap and to the left, a refrigerater that holds over 500 beers.

I wasn’t able to meet with the owner, Ron Kloth, at the time but we later communicated by e-mail and this is what he wrote me:

SONY DSC“Papago Brewing Company started in 2001 and was founded by three homebrewers. At the time, great beer was not readily available so we opened up our place with the idea of catering to the beer purists and not to the Coor’s Light crowd. We were successful from Day One. We began having three of our own beers brewed up at a local microbrewery and over time, because of their success, have expanded our own beer line doing things that other local breweries weren’t doing, such as making a wheatwine, or a double IPA or a Belgian Quad and have always let our homebrew background lead what we make. We are about to have one beer made in Belgium for us. We are awaiting label approval now but it should be available in the USA by late January.”

Papago BrewingSo, if you have a favorite place that carries Belgian beers, ask them to get Oude Zuipers, imported by Global Beer. I know a big distributor in Indiana is going to carry it and will definitely be keeping an eye out for his beer here in Ohio. I sampled many of his beers and was greatly impressed: I just wanted to open a cot and live in the bar for at least a week! If you are in Scottsdale, don’t leave without checking this fine brew pub first…and take a sleeping bag.

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