Ski Inn: The last standing bar in the middle of nowhere.
Venture deep into Bombay Beach, the old resort and desert ghost town filled with quirky art installations, RVs and snowbirds clinging to the town’s former glory as a vacation destination. Go a little deeper (at around 223 feet below sea level) and you’ll find the lowest bar in the western hemisphere” and last standing one in this part of Salton Sea: The Ski Inn.
This vibrant, 70s era joint is the only real sign of life in this quiet desert stop. If you’re in these parts you can’t miss the rusting signs that serve as reminders of the days when this was a thriving waterskiing destination. Inside, every available surface is plastered in real dollar bills left as tokens by customers, there’s an original jukebox, a pool table and they serve up a range of grease bombs along with all the cold drinks to keep you hydrated. Being the only bar within 45 miles, it’s the much needed oasis in the unforgiving Bombay Beach heat. But at the heart of this popular watering hole going is a small community with big stories to tell.
While the setting may be described as a post-apocalyptic junkyard by some, this little gem and its decades of unchanging decor have turned it into a charismatic spot that’s frequented by locals, travelers and filmmakers alike. Anthony Bourdain even featured it in No Reservations where he enjoyed a Patty Melt. Of course, the owners have a lot to do with it too. Find out more about the couple, Sonia Herbert and her partner Ernesto, who recently took over this iconic bar.
It’s cash only, so you’ll want to bring those dollar bills—you might want to save one to decorate the walls with too.
Ski Inn, 9596 Avenue A, Bombay Beach, Niland, CA 92257, United States
Featured Image: @mallenphotography