The U.S. weather map for most of the lower 48 this week is glowing in colors from Flamin’ Hot Doritos orange to broiled lobster scarlet – it’s HOT out there! Temperatures in parts of the South and Southwest have surpassed the 100-degree mark for days on end.
It makes you want to crawl to the closest neighborhood dive, slip into a cool, dark corner booth, linger over an icy cold brew and daydream about rolling in the snow.
Speaking of dive bars and snow, if you ever somehow find yourself half-frozen and wandering, deranged, in an Alaskan blizzard, pray that you are somewhere close to the Salty Dawg Saloon at the very end of the Homer Spit. This legendary dive bar’s own rooftop lighthouse will guide you to the spot.
Never was a place more perfect for slamming a heavy door against the howling winds and hunkering down for a few or three boilermakers. The dim, comforting snuggery is lit primarily by beer signs and Christmas tree lights strung in the rafters. The crowd is a nice mix of tourists and affable locals, and with their fast and friendly service, the staff have a way of making everybody feel like a local.
Nothing fancy here (beyond their version of a Salty Dawg or Duck Fart cocktail), no craft beers on draft, just well drinks and icy-cold bottled brews.
The Salty Dawg Saloon was established in 1957 when Alaska was still a territory. It is housed in one of the original 1890s cabins built on the town site of Homer. The cabin previously served as the town’s first post office, a railroad station, a grocery store, and a coal mining office.
Signed dollar bills paper every surface of the walls and low-slung ceiling where patrons leave them as mementoes of their visits. The tradition began years ago, so the story goes, when a customer tacked a dollar on the wall of the bar and explained that his friend would be by later and the buck was to buy him a drink.
The bar is situated near the end of Homer Spit on the longest ever road constructed into ocean waters in the entire world, providing gorgeous views of Kachemak Bay and Cook Inlet.
Highs in Homer this week have been in the 50s and low 60s, so you don’t even have to wait for a blizzard to cool off up at the Salty Dawg. You may never want to leave.
Enjoy this video from KTUU's Ariane Aramburo: