When throngs of fortune seekers searching for a gold payday flocked to Deadwood in South Dakota’s Black Hills in 1876, palates weren’t picky. The ramshackle saloons and restaurants featured drinks by the likes of Deadwood Lightning, Red Eye and a Coffin Varnish for those with steadfast thirst. For the main course, squirrel, rabbit, goat and mutton were among the staples, and patrons didn’t likely have a choice of cook level or sides. Between the boom or bust of placer gold mining in Deadwood, and the madams, gamblers, swindlers and outlaws the gold rush also attracted, the Deadwood lifestyle in the late 1800s wasn’t for the faint of heart. Once the gold boom steadied and infrastructure followed, Deadwood’s choices in food and drink became the stuff of legends, much like the lives of Deadwood’s infamous citizens Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane, Seth Bullock and Al Swearengen.
Since those early days, fortune seekers continue to flock to Deadwood looking for good luck, great drinks and incredible food. Gold may not be the targeted acquisition any longer, but Deadwood’s casinos offer opportunities to strike a modern-day fortune. Table games, sports betting and of course slot machines of all kinds await players in a variety of establishments. More than 1,700 hotel rooms, from stately, historic hotels to full-service, top-of-line casinos and resorts, from brand name chains to locally owned and operated boutique hotels, offer something for all. And the countless food and drink options give you the green light to eat and drink your way through town.
Dining in Deadwood does not disappoint. Exquisite feasts prepared by world-class chefs or local flavors like bison burgers, chislic and green chili hangover omelets mix throughout town. While the food is certainly fit for the finest palate, the atmosphere is as casual and comfortable as your favorite boots, Crocs or slippers. Just like everything in Deadwood, restaurants are a whole lot of fun. Deadwood delis and fast food restaurants offer visitors a quick meal, a light bite or a snack to keep you going. Enjoy names you know and locally owned and operated businesses. Lattes or sweet treats abound as well, with coffee shops set to hook you up with that caffeine and sugar kick you need to play well into the night. From straight up black coffee to creamy, sweet blends, Deadwood baristas brew it up right.
Wetting your whistle is easy, too. Enjoy all your favorite brews and cocktails, as well as local wines, microbrews and exclusive Deadwood concoctions in the same saloons and bars where the legends and outlaws of Deadwood drank their last drink. Walk into one of these historic establishments today and you can still see the history—from sawdust on the floor to the original oak bar top and poker tables, allowing you to enjoy today’s favorite drink with yesterday’s lore.
If one does gets caught up in lore and roar of the night before, plenty of places are ready to serve you a fancied-up bloody Mary, mimosa, or maybe a big ‘ol hand-pressed cheeseburger will get your day back on track.
Much of Deadwood’s storied past lives on throughout town in historic museums and attractions. The dime store novel characters come to life when walking the historic cobblestone streets and bellying up to a well-worn bar that yesteryear’s miners had as perhaps their only solace. Learning Deadwood’s colorful history is far from begrudgingly turning pages in a musty history book; it’s right here, and it’s alive. And if a book is what you prefer, Deadwood’s history on a printed page is never dull. From big-name free concerts on the town’s Main Street to food, wine and brew festivals, Deadwood’s event calendar is always history making. The town has events 12 months of the year encouraging all to venture to the Wild, entertaining, West. Deadwood’s location in the heart of the Black Hills National Forest means outdoor recreation, from biking, skiing and fly fishing to hitting the trails in an off-road vehicle and snowmobile, is all at the ready.
Deadwood’s been entertaining guests since 1876, and it’s time to see for yourself the town that’s made itself infamous.