Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Red Onion Saloon

A visit to Skagway would not be complete without a stop at the historic Red Onion Saloon. Located on the corner of 2nd & Broadway, the Red Onion is a favorite among visitors and locals alike. Built in 1897, the Red Onion Saloon operated as one the finest bordellos in Skagway and though times have changed, the spirit has not.

I highly recommend any tourist to stop in for a tour of the restored brothel museum above the bar. One of the beautiful madams onsite will make an announcement from the back stairs and whisk you and the group up the “stairway to heaven”. Walk the same floors as gold rush era lonely miners and ladies of negotiable affection. The upstairs bordello consisted of 10 small rooms that ladies of the night decorated to their own tastes while working onsite. Each room had two or three exit doors in case the girls needed a quick escape. On the tour, you hear entertaining tales of women who worked here and see the many artifacts they left behind.

Back when the brothel was in full operation when gentlemen were ready for some love and affection, they would choose his girl in a very unique way. Behind the bar were 10 dolls that represented the 10 girls upstairs. As each customer would choose a doll of his choice, the bartender would then lay the doll on her back, indicating that that girl was “busy”. Once the gentleman came back down the stairs, the doll was sat upright so every customer in the bar knew that she was once again available.

Tours times are posted daily in the front window and can be purchased in our gift shop or from your server, bartender or madam. The Red Onion Saloon opens daily at 10 AM and brothel tours are generally on the hour, depending on the day. Tour is $10 per person and lasts 20 minutes. The tour includes a Red Onion souvenir garter.

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Amy Harris
Amy Harris is a writer and photographer who has been traveling for 20 years and flown over 2 million miles to visit over 80 countries on 6 continents. She is a freelance photographer for Invision by Associated Press, AP Images and Rex/Shutterstock. Her work can be seen in various publications and websites including: Rolling Stone, AP Images, National Geographic Books, Fodor’s Travel Guides, Forbes.com, Lonely Planet Travel Guides, JetStar magazine, and Delta Sky Magazine.

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