Words & Deeds

Ranch Club bar in Garden City has closed

The Ranch Club’s rearing stallion is a landmark at Chinden Boulevard and Orchard Street. Do you have information about its history? Email mdeeds@idahostatesman.com.
The Ranch Club’s rearing stallion is a landmark at Chinden Boulevard and Orchard Street. Do you have information about its history? Email mdeeds@idahostatesman.com. mdeeds@idahostatesman.com

The Ranch Club, a landmark bar in Garden City for more than 65 years, has closed.

Locally famous for the rearing palomino on its sign, the restaurant and lounge has caught the eye of passing motorists for decades at the intersection of Chinden Boulevard and Orchard Street.

Bucking modern trends, the Ranch Club, 3544 W. Chinden Blvd., was one of the Boise area’s last cigarette-friendly bars. Ownership opposed attempts to pass a Garden City ordinance banning smoking as recently as 2014.

The building was moved to Garden City in pieces from New Plymouth in 1949. When it opened in 1950, gambling was still legal in Idaho. The Ranch Club had slot machines.

In 1980, the bar was used for a scene in the Clint Eastwood movie “Bronco Billy.”

There’s no indication why the Ranch Club has shuttered. A call and email to the owner were not returned. A roll of newspapers from earlier in the week was outside the door Friday.

There was no sign in the window stating that the business has closed. That almost feels conspicuous, given the Ranch Club’s propensity for sharing thoughts on its marquee.

Although one side of that marquee features an incomplete sentence with missing letters, the other is still horsing around.

The Ranch Club’s final words: “Education is important. Beer is importanter.”

This isn’t the first time the Ranch Club has closed. In 2002, the family who ran it for 52 years decided it was time to say goodbye. Another owner swooped in to save the day, keeping it open for three years before he decided to retire. At that point, he told the Statesman that he expected an investment group to buy it and demolish the building.

That didn’t happen. The Ranch Club quickly reopened under new ownership.

So is Garden City’s historic bar truly vanishing? Idahoans will have to bite the bullet and wait.

Michael Deeds: 208-377-6407, @michaeldeeds

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History of the palomino

The horse atop the Ranch Club has a rich, storied history — at least according to online commenters. Do you know where it came from? Has it been at other Treasure Valley businesses? Did its, um, “private parts” really get removed, then returned, at some point? Please email information to mdeeds@idahostatesman.com. Include your phone number, if you don’t mind.

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