If you blink, you will miss it. Pioneertown was our last major stop during our time in Joshua Tree. We had spent two days hiking and exploring the park and we kept hearing about Pioneertown and Pappy and Harriet's. Everyone kept telling us there was an old Western movie set built by Roy Rogers and Gene Autry that was still in use today and next to it was the coolest bar ever.
This was weird to us because people kept telling us it was right between where we stay out in the desert and Joshua Tree. The boy grew up out there and he had never heard of it. There is not much out there so we thought people were making it up or that it could not possibly be as cool as everyone was saying because we would have heard about it from other locals by now.
But sure enough, there is a little road that winds through the desert and takes you right to Pioneertown. You can't see it from the road and there are some signs but if you aren't looking for it, you will miss it. It's off the road and well maintained, on the weekends they do little shows out in the town area and some of the sets are working stores (like the one pictured above which is an actual saddle shop.)
Some of the buildings are just facades and some even have people living in them. We met a couple locals since we got there on a Monday afternoon and it was pretty quiet. We walked around, took pictures, made some friends, and learned all about the old sound stage, the movies they filmed here, and the current uses of the area.
We then grabbed a drink at Pappy and Harriet's. This place has become somewhat of a legend now and it you want to eat you need a reservation (you can thank Anthony Bourdain for that.) We managed to sneak into the bar right when it opened and enjoy a couple pints while the place quickly filled up. On Mondays they have Open Mic night and it is a trip. You see all levels of talent and styles and the rumor is that it is a fairly regular thing for famous musicians to come in and play a quick set on Mondays. We did not see this happen and it could be a legend they have created to get people to come back but even without famous musicians they have amazing food, a perfect desert atmosphere, cold drinks, and live music. There is little else I need in life.
I can't wait to go back and have more of their BBQ. It is amazing.