“Would you like a free expresso shot” said the friendly gentleman behind the street stall
“Would I ever!” I replied, amazed at having been pegged as an expresso fiend so readily

C-20130313 Bisbee 1000 (66) (JPG)

Paul gets a shot and discusses the finer points of coffee in Peddler’s Avenue

From that moment, from the very first sip of that racy liquid delight, I knew Bisbee was going to be my kind of food town. This was a place that knew how to eat, and since eating is one of my very favorite things I knew we would become firm friends. Add-in a few cool bars and some unusual and interesting sights and you’ve got the other three reasons we’ve loved it so much here:

1/ Fabulous Food

Whoever knew Paul would look so happy eating a vegan meal?

Whoever knew Paul would look so happy eating a vegan meal?

I’m an omnivore-opportunist. There are few things I won’t eat (other than shellfish and gluten…sensitivites sadly), and I love to discover new spots. I can’t say we’ve tried everything in town (not even close), but we did come across some gems:

a) Poco - this 100% vegan mexican spot will delight even the most meaty palate. Tucked into a cozy corner of Peddlers Alley (the same spot you get the expresso shot) you’ll get an inexpensive and tasty meal. The spicy bean-tomato soup was one of the best I’ve ever had, meaty or otherwise.

Head-size pink margaritas at Santiago's...oh yeah!

Head-size margaritas at Santiago’s…oh yeah!

b) Bisbee Breakfast Club
A legendary breakfast place locally known as the BBC just down the road from Bisbee. Huge, tasty plates in a very, very cool setting. Highly recommended stop for you breakfast lovers out there.

c) Santiagos - One of the newer spots in town that serves margaritas the size of your head, and very good food to boot. The salsa was delectable and the tequila chicken fajitas delicious. Can’t go wrong here.

d) Screaming Banshee -
Mostly a pizza place, but they’ve also got a super-cool bar AND they serve a pajama brunch 11AM-4PM Sundays complete with mimosa’s and breakfast margaritas…oh HOW coooooool! We didn’t get to go, but you should!

e) Chocoláte - I consider chocolate its own food-group and when it’s this good it deserves its own special mention too. Since this place is only open Fri-Sun we actually stayed an extra day in Bisbee specifically to try the hot chocolate here and it did not disappoint. Be prepared to revel in delicious, dark, decadent chocolate heaven! DO go!!

There are many, many other places to try. Cafe Roka is the “fancy” spot in town which many rate very highly (personally my meal was disappointing, but you’ll have to judge for yourself). There’s also excellent coffee at the Bisbee Coffee Company and a very nice lunch at the High Desert Market Cafe. Oh and if you like honey be sure to stop at the Killer Bee….yum!

Hanging w/ Sue&Dave at Poco's

Hanging w/ Sue&Dave at Poco’s

2/ Cool Bars

Squeezed into the 4th Room

Squeezed into the Room 4 Bar

The notorious St.Elmos Bar

The notorious St.Elmos Bar

I’m rather fond of bars, not only because I enjoy a glass before dinner, but because I revel in the atmosphere and stories of the places. Bisbee has the added attraction of some rather unique brewing history. Not long after the town was established in 1880, German-Swiss immigrants founded the first breweries on what became known as Brewery Gulch. This legacy combined with Bisbee’s mining heritage gives the town more than it’s fair share of cool bars. Here’s some of our favs:

a) Copper Queen Hotel - This hotel, furnished with Italian tile has a lovely old bar with view to an open patio. This place also happens to be one of the most haunted in town, so if you’re lucky you may run into a spirit or two on your way to your evening drink.

b) Room 4 Bar -
This teeeny, tiny bar tucked into a room of the Silver King Hotel claims to be the smallest in AZ and with only 3 chairs I’ll bet it is. They also happen to have a fondness for cats and there’s a fine, old girl who sleeps outside the bar and will happily share a rub while you sip.

c) St. Elmos -
Definitely not the classiest of bars, but the oldest and the most local. If you want to see live music and get a real feel of town this is where you go.

Other special mentions are the Old Bisbee Brewing Company and the very artsy bar at the Screaming Banshee.

3/ Fun Sights

All dressed up and ready to go at the Queen Mine Tour

All dressed up and ready to go at the Queen Mine Tour

Old gas stop on Erie Street

Old gas stop on Erie Street

Vintage trailers for rent at the Shady Dell

Vintage trailers for rent at the Shady Dell

Although I’d call Bisbee more of a street art and food town, there are a definitely a few “standard” sights that are worth seeing.

a) Bisbee Mine Tour - Bisbee was founded on mining and owes its success in many ways to its booming copper mine. This was one of the most productive mines in the US and yielded over 8 billion lbs of copper during it’s 100 year history. You can’t help but notice the massive pit as you enter town and one of the “must do” items is to take a trip into history on the Queen Mine Tour. You’ll get to dress up like a miner and ride the narrow-gauge car 1,500 feet into the mine. As with all tours your experience here will vary depending on your tour guide, all ex-miners. I thoroughly enjoyed our guide, but others report mixed results. Still, it’s an interesting experience.

b) Erie Street & Shady Dell RV Park -
Although not an “official” sightseeing stop, it’s worth the 5-min drive down the road to see this interesting stop. Erie street is a vintage museum with a selection of old cars and gas stations. Next-door Shady Dell has its own set of super-cool and pristinely renovated vintage trailers. You can’t bring your rig in here, but you can rent theirs by the night.

Other noticeable mentions are the Bisbee Museum and the Ghost Tour. We did neither, but they’re both on our list for when we come back.

After 5 days of gastro-indulgence we wobbled out of Bisbee this morning and headed for a super-secret boondocking spot with bird-watching to boot (fear not, I will eventually reveal). Bisbee has been a brilliant and totally surprising stop. We’ve loved every minute and will certainly be coming back to this town in the future.

Chocolate to die for....drooool!

Chocolate to die for….drooool!

The gorgeous bar at the Screaming Banshee

The gorgeous bar at the Screaming Banshee

Riding the cart into Queen Mine

Riding the cart into Queen Mine

The entrance to 4th Room lit at night

The entrance to Room 4 lit at night

6-nippled art...eye food?

6-nippled art…eye food?

Our guide tells stories of the mine lift

Our guide tells stories of the mine lift

Can you figure out what this cart was used for in the mine?

Can you figure out what this cart was used for in the mine?

Old taxie on Erie Street in Bisbee

Old taxie on Erie Street in Bisbee

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44 Responses to Brilliant Bisbee Part II -> Fabulous Food, Bars & Fun Sights

  1. Toni Kaus says:

    Old Bisbee Coffee Roasters rocks. Since a similar experience five or six years ago, we’ve been getting all our coffee from Seth.

    • libertatemamo says:

      I love it when they fire up the roasters too….we were walking through town one day when we were overwhelmed with the aroma. Just lovely!

  2. placestheygo says:

    Thanks for such an inviting summary of Bisbee. So sorry we missed it. Next time for sure!

  3. Emily says:

    I want to go! The head-sized margaritas, street art, espresso, hiking, what else does a girl need?! Can’t wait to hear about the super-secret boondocking site. :)

    • libertatemamo says:

      It is TOTALLY our kind of town. Kind of like a mini San Francisco in the desert. Couldn’t believe how much this little place packs in.

  4. Mark Gehring says:

    Just wanted to mention that when we were there last year, we had the worst Margarita’s of our lives at the bar of the Copper Queen Hotel. We stayed at the Queen Mine RV park, which was fine for an overnighter. It’s a nice short walk to town from there, and right at the mine. You can look down into the open pit mine when you are standing by the office of the RV park there.

  5. Oooheee! We gotta get back there. Too much stuff we didn’t see (and eat).

    “Omnivore-opportunist” made me think of a pig. :D They don’t seek out meat, but they’re willing to give most anything that gets close to their snout a try.

    And, if a head-sized margarita gets near my snout, I’m going to “try” it gone.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Ah yes, I love pigs. Goats are similarly opportunistic…back when I was a kid and volunteered for a local zoo I got goat-walking duty. Talk about eating everything that comes into view!

  6. mnwool says:

    This sounds like the kind of place we want to go to. Thanks for the great info.

  7. Ingrid says:

    You had me at chocolate….and coffee. Seems like we’ll need to put this on our list for next winter :-)

  8. Wow, you painted the town red! Those margaritas were really huge and we had Molcajete at Santiagos. Thanks for taking us back. Great post as always.

  9. Ray Burr says:

    Never hard of the place but it looks fantastic. Thanks for the enlightening posts. I’m really hungry now and could use a drink. ;)

    • libertatemamo says:

      We’d never heard of it before we started following the Bayfield Bunch blog a few years back either. It’s one of those spots I can honestly attribute to another blogger. Love the RV blogging community!

  10. jil mohr says:

    Nice report….we never tire of this place…lucky for us it is just down the road from our winter headquarters, so we can get a fix when ever we want….enjoy your boondocking…

    • libertatemamo says:

      I can see us coming back here every year if we drive through. Always a bit more to see and do in Bisbee.

  11. Well, now you’ve gone & done it…….I am totally homesick for Bisbee all over again. Nice job:))

  12. Gunta says:

    You just look like you’re having way too much fun! :D

  13. Donna K says:

    Gonna HAVE to go back myself – we missed too much! Thanks for the great posts on this gem of a town. Looking forward to some bird pictures from your next location.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Definitely a TON of stuff to see and do here. I’m sure there’s lots we don’t yet know about. We’re coming back, for sure!

  14. This town looks amazing! You’ve done an awesome review… chock-a- block full of great info. It’s now on our pit stop bucket list for sure!!! Thank You!!

    • libertatemamo says:

      Thanks! I had a hard time writing the posts because there was SO MUCH to talk about :) I really had to think about how to slim things down.

  15. I love your enthusiasm! I followed a link from the Bayfield Bunch last year and read every post you make. I have hiked in Arizona but it’s a long way to tow my trailer. Good luck to you and Paul and thank you for sharing your adventures. I’ve been to Jerome and now Bisbee is on my must see list.

  16. RJRVtravels says:

    We were in Bisbee for only one day last week (Tuesday) – probably a good thing as I don’t think I could have handled all the added calories. We had a great lunch at the Copper Queen Hotel. So, even with that limited sampling I have to agree there is some great food to be experienced.

    • libertatemamo says:

      You guys definitely did the “fast tour” of all the sights out here, but you managed alot in that time! It’s a good reason to come back.

  17. LuAnn says:

    It sounds like you two grazed your way through Bisbee (lol). Glad you had such a fabulous time. :)

  18. Jeanette says:

    We love Bisbee, too! Great town we stumbled upon on a road trip (pre-RV days) and feel for instantly. You capture the street art well here… the vibe is awesome around that little ‘lost’ town. We also loved Poco and the Shady Dell. We actually credit the Shady Dell to our interest in vintage trailers and ultimately becoming full timer road trippers/RVers! Cheers guys, so glad to see you enjoying it as much as we did.
    Jeanette & Dennis

    • libertatemamo says:

      What a fun and interesting story! How fitting that Bisbee should be one of the reasons you started getting interested in RVing.

  19. Another fine post about one of Cochise County’s gems!

  20. Hi Nina. I love your write-ups and accounts of where you visit. I especially like how you point out all the things we missed when we were there. We have to return to Bisbee to catch up and share some of those experiences. We did, however, go on the mine tour. Fun! Hope to see you on the road again. Kathie

  21. […] ← Brilliant Bisbee Part II -> Fabulous Food, Bars & Fun Sights […]

  22. Emily says:

    So, this is crazy…I took that photo of the four of you at POCO! My name is Emily and my husband and I are getting ready to go on the road full-time. So you can imagine my surprise when I was browsing RV blogs and came across a familiar view! Glad you loved our tiny town. It really is one of the very most special places. Happy travels to you!

    • libertatemamo says:

      OMG!! That is totally crazy!! I’m glad we got to meet you if only in passing for a shot. Good luck and good travels for all your upcoming fulltiming plans. Hope to see ya on the road.

  23. […] about all that Bisbee has to offer, so I’ll just put their link in here and part 2 is here.  Nina makes my life so easy!  Believe me, you will want to go to Bisbee after reading […]

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