Staff Pick: River City Saloon

Cristina Lule

Walking into River City Saloon is like stepping out of a time machine.

You are immediately greeted by the sounds of country music and by a dressed-up mannequin called Doc Holiday, the original owner of the saloon who is eerily placed on a stool at the bar.

River City Saloon, located in Old Sac, offers a glimpse of the Old West character to tourists, which is exactly the experience I wanted.

The saloon is a great tourist attraction for Old Western aficionados, with water barrels substituting tables, hard-wood floors scattered with peanut shells from past patrons, portraits on the wall of the real Doc and a stuffed bison head across from a vertical piano I was tempted to start playing. The bar is also kid-friendly and hosts karaoke on the weekends.

The saloon offers drinks like 25 cent sasparillas (the origin of root beer), an award – winning bloody mary – which comes garnished with a pickle, olive and slice of bacon – and ice-cold mugs of Jack Daniels. I started off by ordering a $6 pineapple upside down cake then followed it with a $7 bloody mary which had a wonderful thick tomato texture that was both sweet and acidic, but not overpowering.

River City Saloon may receive lots of tourist attraction, but offers barely any variety with their limited menu of appetizers and sandwiches priced under $7.

If taking a trip back in the Old West sounds like your thing, River City Saloon might be the place for you.

River City Saloon is located at 916 2nd St. in Old Sacramento. Its hours are Monday to Wednesday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. and Thursday to Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. For more information, visit

Cristina Lule can be reached at [email protected]