The Northern Alabama foothills might not seem like an obvious spot for a Western-themed cowboy bar, but then again, everything about the Rattlesnake Saloon in Tuscumbia defies expectations. Visitors to this outpost in the Appalachian foothills enjoy beer and wine, as well as delicious burgers and sandwiches with Western-themed names like “The Buckaroo” and “Giddy ‘up Sticks” underneath a natural stone bluff that in the past likely provided shelter for members of Alabama’s Chickasaw tribe.
The Saloon is owned and operated by the Foster family, who purchased a 6,000-acre tract of land in 1916. In the beginning, the land was used primarily for farming and logging. Interestingly enough, William Owen Foster, a member of the 2nd generation of Fosters on the sprawling estate, turned the area that now houses the Saloon into a pig pen. The Saloon’s website states that William drilled a 33-foot hole through the rock to feed the hogs without having to make the arduous journey down the bluff. Today the Saloon’s internal hardware- cables and wires for electricity make use of William’s efforts. Eventually, Danny Foster, another member of the Foster clan, decided to build a lodge on his family’s property. The Seven Springs Lodge caters to hunters, trail riders, ATV and Motorcycle events, and more. The Saloon is relatively new and came about as a companion piece to the lodge. Completed just before labor day in 2009, the Rattlesnake Saloon received its name due to a discovery made by construction workers while building the site; a Rattlesnake den was discovered not far from where the old-west-themed saloon building stands today.
The curiosity of such a place, a juxtaposition of wild-west and natural wonder, has been a boon for business. Tourists and locals alike marvel at the bar, kitchen, and dining room constructed alongside ancient rock walls. Outdoor seating gives guests a direct view of the cavern’s interior on one side and the surrounding tree-lined.woods on the other A look-up reveals the underside of a natural, terraced rock awning, which features two tiers of rock with trees and plant life growing on top of both. The Saloon features classic swinging doors, animal paraphernalia including long, slightly freaky rattlesnake skins, a longhorn skull hanging above the exterior of the Saloon, and mid-1800s-esque wooden chandeliers inside. Like any real saloon, the Rattlesnake features hitching posts for horses outside the entrance.
A visit to the Rattlesnake Saloon is undoubtedly a one-of-a-kind experience. If you make the trip, sit outside in the cavern, which remains cool throughout the summer. You will not be alone. The Rattlesnake Saloon has become a popular hub for visitors, including international guests. It is quite possible that while you bite into a burger or swallow a sip of cold beer, your ears will be greeted with a polyglot babel.
“Alabama’s Rattlesnake Saloon Is a Restaurant with a Truly Cavernous Dining Room.” Alabama NewsCenter, 25 Sept. 2019, https://alabamanewscenter.com/2019/09/25/alabamas-rattlesnake-saloon-is-a-restaurant-with-a-truly-cavernous-dining-room/. Accessed 25 Oct. 2022.
“SALOON.” Lodge-Saloon, www.rattlesnakesaloon.net/s. Accessed 25 Oct. 2022.