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Oldest Bar in Nebraska: Glur’s Tavern, Columbus

Glur’s Tavern was established in 1876 in Columbus as “Bucher’s Saloon” and is generally considered the oldest continuously operating bar west of the Mississippi. A bartender named Louis Glur started working there and eventually bought the place and renamed it. 

Take away the modern trappings of pavement, cars, and traffic lights, and you could hardly tell that this is a picture from 2018 rather than 1876.

The outside of the saloon looks essentially as it did back in the late 1800s. Set in a two-story, A-framed house, Glur’s Tavern even retained its wrap-around covered porch — albeit with a little less ornamentation. 

The hitching posts are gone, however, replaced by parking spaces, but overall the feel is pretty much the same.

The area of Columbus where Glur’s is located isn’t the most inviting. And when I was taking pictures, it appeared that the patrons questioned my motives as if I were some stupid fed taking a picture of a mob boss. The paranoia ran thick and we were probably lucky to get out of there without a fight.

Except for this sign and some historical swag inside, Glur’s Tavern focuses on being a local gathering place than a tourist attraction.

That is no doubt overstating it, but amongst oldest bars the vibe is definitely local watering hole, which is cool. Some oldest bar paraphernalia grace the walls but the historical swag is nowhere near the main attraction.

The inside divided into two main sections filled traditional tables covered with checkered cloth and set with wooden chairs. Except for some old, small box televisions on the premises, it doesn’t appear the owners have really upgraded the space in recent years. The bar has a few stools and serve the basic liquors to go along with the standard American lagers on tap.

The tavern is very chill and family friendly. Even if the patrons are a little wary of outsiders.

We didn’t sample the food. Not because we have anything against American staples such as burgers and fries. But mostly because it appeared they kept big plastic tubs filled with meat patties on the counter without any evidence of an ice bath bottom or refrigeration. I imagine this practice is just another one of those historically-accurate depictions of the times of yore when refrigeration had yet to be invented and food-borne pathogens were a thing of the future.

Glur’s has that traditional American eclectic mix of wood and vinyl chairs and tables. Imagine Columbus in 1975 and you’d probably see a very similar place.

At the end of the day, Glur’s Tavern feels like a local family gathering place. Unlike the Applebees that dot the American landscape, Glur’s Tavern is the real thing and is without a doubt a national treasure.