Taverns have flourished along Santa Ynez’s Sagunto Street since 1906. Sixty years ago, four busy bars entertained the locals and visitors alike. These establishments were named Last Chance, the Bum Steer, Parker’s and the Maverick Saloon. While three of the four original taverns have since disappeared into history, the legendary Maverick Saloon is still going strong and continues to be a staple in the Santa Ynez valley.
In 1963, Jerry and Diane Thompson bought nine bare lots from publisher tycoon Hastings Harcourt. Plans were drawn up for a museum, restaurant, two-story hotel and the Maverick Saloon, which is named after a TV series starring James Garner. A few years later (approx. 1968) the barn was built next to the saloon. To achieve an antique look, the Thompsons used materials salvaged from demolished Victorian houses. The barn’s history began as the “Lulubelle’s Restaurant” and a tool rental facility. The barn and dancehall became a permanent part of the Maverick Saloon in 1992.
In 1977, the Thompsons sold the property, and it has since had a number of owners.
The Maverick Saloon has hosted some amazing acts over the years. In the 1990’s began the “Nashville2You” Concert Series that brought famous and soon-to-be famous stars to the Maverick; including Sugarland, Pat Green, Dierks Bentley, Paul Azur, Craig Morgan, Paul Thorn, Confederate Railroad, Jennifer Hanson, Rhonda Vincent, Jeff Bridges, Tanya Tucker, Wil Ridge and a many more. The Maverick Saloon has also been seen in several movies and television shows, and is also home to the popular “Tales from the Tavern” Concert Series, which runs in the Spring and Fall months.
Today, the logo mirrors, posters, lighted beer signs and rusted horseshoes line the wooden walls, offering snapshots of the past that reflect decades of revelry. Overhead, the ceiling flutters with paper money bearing scribbled birthday wishes, business cards, meeting notes, names and wobbly autographs-- an aerial guest book just waiting for more entries.
If these walls could talk!