Meet Your Merchant: The Old Globe – A Carson City fixture
The Old Globe Saloon hasn’t changed much since Hector Bucchianeri took over the Carson City watering hole in the early 1990s.
Sure, people may prefer tequila to whiskey nowadays and they may demand several televisions instead of two, but Bucchianeri said the business still mirrors the bar his grandfather, Virgil Bucchianeri Sr., took over in 1951.
“We can’t change too much,” he said. “Otherwise it wouldn’t be the Globe.”
The Old Globe was established in 1875 by a pair of French Canadians, according to the history drafted by Virgil Bucchianeri hanging on the Globe’s wall, and went “dry” after the 18th Amendment was ratified.
Virgil Bucchianeri was running the Bank Resort (which later became Jack’s Bar) when he and a business partner were offered a lease by one of founder’s grandchildren to take over the Globe, which was located where the Horseshoe Club stands today.
The Globe’s current location at 407 N. Curry St., opened in 1971 – exactly 40 years ago today – after Virgil Bucchianeri had a falling out with his brother over the lease to the Globe, bought the lot behind bar on Curry Street and built its new home.
“So he bought this for parking, it was an empty lot here, and he just started building it in 1970, I guess,” said Hector Bucchianeri, while sitting at one of the tables inside the saloon on Monday. “And his brother came around one day. He was watching him build it, ‘What the hell is going on in here?’ And he goes, ‘I don’t know, but I hope it’s not another bar.’ “
Today, the bar is filled with old photos, mostly images of Nevada-centric lore such as the V&T Railroad or the Rat Pack, collected by Bucchianeri and his father. His grandfather died in 1993.
It wasn’t always that way. His grandfather didn’t hang anything on the wall when he ran the bar (Bucchianeri said it was because of his old-school Italian preference for bare walls). That changed one day when Bucchianeri’s father hung a photo on the wall and a few potential customers walked in, saw the photo and started talking about it.
“It was just one old picture and they sat down and had a drink,” Bucchianeri said. “So ever since then (Virgil Bucchianeri said) maybe we should get a few more of those in here. So over the years we’ve just been collecting them.”
The Old Globe went smoke-free in November after Jeff Clark opened the Chukar Mountain Grill in the saloon’s kitchen, which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Clark said his specialties are chicken wings, especially the garlic parmesan, and his Basque eggs, which is a hard-boiled egg, wrapped in chorizo and deep fried. He also offers free delivery and can be contacted at 775-297-5147.
Over the years, Bucchianeri said he’s heard about or witnessed plenty of antics at the Old Globe, though with a grin he said most of them are, “nothing you can put in the paper.”
There was that Nevada Day when a Nevada football player broke the toilet and carried it downstairs at the saloon’s former location downtown.
And while the weekend crowds still get rowdy, most of the daytime customers have a different tune.
“There’s been a lot of blues singing lately,” he said. “Everybody’s just trying to get by.”
Many of the construction workers who used to come in on a stormy day no longer stop by for a beer. Others who never said much about their line of work suddenly left town.
“I didn’t realize how many people had their lives tied up in that housing,” Bucchianeri said.
“You hear a lot of problems, people want legal advice, but you can’t give it to them and you shouldn’t, people want marital advice and you really shouldn’t give them that,” he said. “About all you can do is put them in touch with other people who might be able to help them out.”
Bucchianeri said the cast of characters that populate the bar have come and gone. He said many of the familiar faces he befriended in the 1990s have since died or left town.
“I could fill this place with those people,” Bucchianeri said.
He remembers a retired railroad worker who would wear a football helmet while at the Globe – he’d drink too much and fall off his walker.
The day he died, Bucchianeri said paramedics could still hear a heartbeat when they found him in his home.
“He was a tough old guy,” he said, nodding toward the football helmet that still hangs on the wall above the bar.
He adds, “You just keep replenishing the characters.”