Story tell it that the mid 1800's saw a raw wild west section of town down Pine Street, where cattle men drove herds into town, where cowboys partook of refreshments. There were 3 banks in town during these times and a number of drug stores and hot springs from one end of town to the other. It is told that before the actual building that the saloon is now at 1234 Pine St., it was where the stage coach stopped when it came into town down 13th street, as it was the road that went on to Bakersfield, and then it would take a left on Pine Street heading to a number of stops on down to where the train station is now.
Pine Street, also known as "skid row", every Saturday there were horse races as entertainment for cattlemen, ranchers, miners, lumber workers and town folks, and a street dance. On the Department of Parks and Recreation Historic Resources Inventory regarding the Pine Street Saloon building, it says, "This two story structure is one of the oldest buildings in down town Paso." During the late 1800's and up until 1901, there were a dozen or more saloons and bars on Pine Street.
It is said that these were goings on during the days that Jesse and Frank James were hanging out in town, unknown to most people. The truth of the matter is that Dury James, a cattleman from down near L.A. ran the town, and was one of the founders of Paso Robles, and created it as a hot springs resort town, and he was hiding out Jesse and Frank, while Jesse healed a gunshot wound in the Hot Springs there on Spring Street.
More on Jesse and Frank James later...
Some buildings on and near Pine Street in the 1880's
As mentioned the actual site of the Pine Street Saloon (1234 Pine Street) at this time was a stage coach stop. Somewhere around 1856, or 1857 circa, the present two story redwood structure with what is now called a "Western False Front", which at the time it was built during the true days of the wild west would not use the word "false". Back in those early days, it had a narrow balcony at the second-floor level. Old records give some indication that the first floor was used as a saloon, and the second floor a boarding house, and as story again tells...a Bordello.
Sometime in those early days it housed the Cosmopolitan hotel and a saloon. In the 1890tys it was known as the Young Hotel. It was a popular hotel where delicious food was served at reasonable rates. In 1960, it became the Estrade Bar, but now and maybe forever known as the Pine Street Saloon.
In 1888 J. Campbell operated a saloon at 1236-1238, the original site of the Pine Street Saloon before the 2003 San Simeon Earthquake. For many years back then it served as a saloon, a billiard parlor and a card room. It was one of the oldest brick structures in Paso Robles. South and right next to the building at 1234 Pine St. where now the famed Pine Street Saloon is kicking up dust nightly, the brick building that housed the first Pine Street Saloon wascompleted in 1865, if not sooner. Interesting that the 1234 Pine Street location was the first wood building built downtown Paso Robles and the 1238 Pine Street building was the first brick building built.
"In 1971 Pat French bought the bar, when it had the only beer license and was called the Red Door. Ms. French and Jim Johnson, the local sheriff's deputy, began collecting the mirrors, beer signs and other memorabilia that now cover the walls of this popular landmark and civic treasure."
In 1980 Pine Street went through a remodeling session and at a time the name was changed from the Red Door to what is now known as "The Pine Street Saloon". In 1996, the Saloon started serving liquor from a full bar. In 2001 the Saloon moved next door to its current location at 1234 Pine Street.
Click picture and read the story on Pine Street Saloon
"Historic Saloons" in the Smithsonian Magazine
Pine Street Saloon is the oldest building in downtown Paso Robles