The siren song of California warbles with star-making allure. Promises of gold, agricultural wealth, world-class wine country, and, of course, marquee lights have seduced centuries of pilgrims to point wagons west. (And east, north, or south, depending on their point of origin.)
Those hoping to manifest destinies with a drink in hand should peck the words “Palace Saloon” into their search browsers. The historic watering hole is celebrated as the westernmost bar in the United States.
The Palace Saloon is located in a 1902 building on a stretch of Ferndale, Calif., listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its Italianate and Queen Anne architecture. It has pool tables where ladies reportedly shoot for free some evenings, as well as live music and a full bar.
One TripAdvisor user, however, claims the Palace Saloon does not deserve its superlative. On August 13, 2016, the site ran a jockeying review from a user named “iyamwhatiyam4,” whose handle indicates a fondness for wordplay or Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man” (or both!).
“Cool bar, lots of character, but not the westernmost bar in the continental US,” iyamwhatiyam4 writes. “That honor goes to the Yellow Rose in Petrolia.”
We investigated. The Yellow Rose is situated at longitude -124.285071, according to Google Maps, versus Palace Saloon’s -124.264015. By these measurements, the address of the Yellow Rose is technically farther west.
The Yellow Rose, however, is closed. Our calls to the listed number went unreturned, and the last user-generated Yelp review is dated 7/26/2016.
By all accounts, the Palace Saloon thus remains the continental United States’s westernmost bar. All American folklore requires some unpacking.