Featured People and Places Southwest USA 2010-2011 The Road

The Shooting Star Saloon, Huntsville UT

Shooting Star Saloon, Huntsville, Utah
Written by Wayne

A friend of mine who now resides in Alaska informed me that I had to check out this place and even bought me lunch via Paypal to go there. On that note I was all for it especially once I had googled The Shooting Star and found out a little about it.

Opening in 1879 it’s the oldest operational saloon/drinking establishment in the state of Utah. For any bar to last that long in the land of Latter Day Saints remains a feat to behold wonder. I drove into Huntsville and got there early. Since it wasn’t yet noon ( I wasn’t feeling a need to get my beer on quite yet) I looked around a bit and hung out at a nearby beach for a little while.

Shooting Star Saloon 3

Shooting Star Saloon, Huntsville Utah

When I pulled up outside the Saloon just after 12:30 there was a few motorcycles and a couple of cars parked out front. I walked in and almost hit a guy with the door. They were lined up 6 deep at the bar placing their burger orders. You see, there is no waitress, you order at the bar. Beer and burgers and thats it, thats all, and you can’t have it your way. They don’t have fries or salads, they have burgers with chips. That’s it. Don’t go expecting anything else. They’ve found their stride so why break from it, obviously I think their track record speaks for itself.

After having my burger and my beer I took a few photos of the quirky, dusty, authentic interior of the oldest bar in Utah. A mounted Elk head draped in a beehive, the dollar bills stapled to the ceiling, the huge stuffed St. Bernard head that towers over the “Buck booth”. Buck (no one knows if that was the dogs name for sure) was apparently in the Guiness Book of World Records as the biggest Saint Bernard weighing in at 298 pounds. He belonged to another bar owner who upon retiring wasn’t allowed by the wife to bring bucks head into the house so in 1962 he became the mascot at the Shooting Star where the retired barman hung out. Buck’s stuffed noggin is apparently utilizing what a taxidermist uses to mount a bears head as the dog was some huge when he died. This resulted in the afterlife Buck having more of a snarl now than he did when he was alive. Apparently meaner in death.

Buck at The Shooting Star Saloon

Buck at The Shooting Star Saloon

John, the owner is the 6th one since 1879 stating that some of the others were also family. He told me that they close for Mondays and Tuesdays now to give themselves a break as both he and his wife are there during business hours. The place was pretty much full when I left, beer and burgers being served up at a small town pace, the way it should be in such an establishment. The Shooting Star Saloon has more character then you will ever find in even the oldest of burger joints or yuppie bars. How wonderful it would have been to be a fly on the wall over the last 131 years. Long live the Shooting Star.

Shooting Star Saloon 4

Shooting Star Saloon, Huntsville Utah

About the author


Welcome to my adventures. I am your host, your vagabond, your homeless traveling photographer who needs to see new things and keep moving. I am a photographer first, a writer second, a graphic designer and and a semi retired rock drummer. Check out the "about me" for more details.

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  • We happened upon the Shooting Star in Huntsville, UT quite by accident I have always liked “biker bars” and this looked like one. We met a couple of retired guys who were regulars and it made for an interesting few days. My wife and I live in the outskirts of S Seattle and were on our way to Kanab to Best Friends Animal Shelter (well worth visiting) to find us a dog. Our five previous were a few years deceased so the first dog they led out to view came over and grinned at me…seriously…grinned. “This dogs going to Seattle…”. Told my wife she could get a dog if she wanted. He was supposed to be a Red Austrailian Cattle dog. Wife named him BoJangles. When we arrived home three months later we discovered he was a “non-breedable Thai Ridgeback…who also thought we lived in the motorhome. It was hard to get Bo to move out of the MH. Great trip and Bo is a treasured buddy.

    • Bob that’s an awesome story. Dogs are great aren’t they. I’m so happy I have a new co-pilot with Rollins. He’s the best boy I could have asked for. Glad you had a good stop in Huntsville. Quite the cool little tavern with a lot of history. Thank you for checking out my blog and sharing your story. Happy Trails, W&R

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