When planning a visit to Bisbee, Arizona, if you like to imbibe a good drink or two, you’ll find many opportunities and locations to visit. It’s interesting and a lot of fun to sit down for a drink or three and think about all the souls that have occupied these historic buildings over the last century plus. One of our favorite “drop-ins” was at the Stock Exchange Saloon and Grill, located at 15 Brewery Avenue in Bisbee.
We happened in on a Saturday night, where a rousing crew of locals imbibed and reveled in karaoke. We played a few games of pool, drank, and had a great time mingling with the locals and the few tourists (like ourselves) that happened to be in town on that July weekend. A common misconception is that, since Bisbee is in Arizona, that it must be too hot to visit in July. That could not be farther from the truth. With Bisbee sitting at around a mile of elevation above sea level, even mid-July is very comfortable. Especially if, like in our case, you are visiting from the Phoenix valley, where temperatures average well over 100 degrees daily in July. Bisbee had temperatures in the high 80’s during the day, and at night it would cool down enough that us “valley dwellers” preferred to throw on a light long sleeve covering for a walk around town…. but all that aside, let’s get back to the Stock Exchange Saloon and Grill……
Housed in the Muheim building which was completed in 1905, it is the former site of the infamous Brewery Saloon. It was the most popular libation hall in Bisbee from 1905, until “The Grand Experiment” that led to Prohibition took effect in 1914. The Federal Government banned all alcohol sales and terminated all liquor licenses in Arizona.
John Muheim, the owner and building’s namesake, was forced to shut the doors to his saloon and look for a new business opportunity for the space that had been occupied by the saloon. As luck would have it, the brokerage firm of Duey and Overlock was located on the second floor of the building. Muheim convinced the firm to relocate their offices to the main floor.
A stock board was installed in place of the disassembled bar, and a ticker tape was sent from the E.F. Hutton offices in Manhattan, and the New York Stock Exchange in Arizona was born. The brokerage continued to operate the stock exchange until 1961. The titles and companies listed on the board are the same ones that were traded on that last day when the market closed. This “big board” was the only one in Arizona that was ever used and affiliated with the NYSE.
The doors to the building re-opened in the 1982, and John Muheim’s original intent for his building was once again a reality with the re-opening of the saloon as the “Stock Exchange Saloon and Grill. Patricia Ann Steward (known in certain circles as ‘The Duchess of Hemp’) and her team of artisans and craftspeople have painstakingly restored this historical landmark. Ms Steward, an expert in historical building restoration, has now revived three significant historic properties in Bisbee, The Firehouse at 6 Naco Road, the former Ashram on Maxfield, and now the Stock Exchange Building in Brewery Gulch. She is also very active in spreading word about hemp and it’s many uses.
The saloon sits at the entrance of Brewery Gulch. The menu includes barbecue, burgers and sandwiches with meat from family farms. Stop in for a meal and a drink or three. Shoot a game of pool, and take a look over the “Big Board” that still hangs to this day in it’s location on the east wall. My only wish was that the T-shirts that they had for sale were available in my size. They were down to just Medium and XXL… so Patricia, if you read this, let me know when you get some XL’s back in stock. I’d love to have one 😉 !
You can see more historical photos at their website: www.stockexchangesaloon.com.
15 Brewery Ave., Bisbee.
You can also visit them on facebook, @ https://www.facebook.com/TheStockExchangeSaloon