The Legend of Ty Mitchell of the Lost Horse Saloon - Marfa, TX
Ty Mitchell is the owner of the Lost Horse Saloon in Marfa, Texas. More than just a bar owner, he is also a proud owner of a cattle ranch and a professional actor.
Just as slowly as he pulls the squat glass up to his mouth, he moves to his pocket for his pouch and papers. As he rolls a cigarette between his long, weathered, steady fingers, he lets out a resonant sigh.
“Basil Hayden’s® Bourbon.”
It felt like it took a minute for him to finish the words, his grave baritone rolling around the consonants, drawing each syllable as far out of West Texas as the cattle he drives to this very day.
Having hunkered down in Marfa for nearly a week at this point, I’d been fortunate to witness the man in action a few times. The night before, while a basketball game played on a mounted TV in a far off corner of the patio bar, we’d kicked up a cord of wood and stretched our legs out, resting our boots on it while we alternated between a can of light beer and a glass of Basil Hayden’s® Bourbon. His dog would meander beneath card tables, between tree stumps, and eventually she’d find her way to his side. He’d slowly pat the dog on the side of her hip and make his way around another cigarette, another swig of light beer, and short sip of bourbon whiskey.
“Really good.” He flashed a slight smile and raise his glass to mine.
All the men I’d talked to asked, “When’d he start wearin’ an eye patch?” This one-eyed marauder, this haggard yet handsome, battered man.
And the women would all say the same thing: “Oh, he’s so sweet.”
Coming off a four-hour conversation with Lost Horse Saloon owner, Ty Mitchell, the self-proclaimed “Cowboy Out the Box,” I can attest to the women’s whims. He is an exceedingly sweet man, an altogether interesting man, and though he was born in New Mexico — and he’ll let anyone who asks know it — he is as Texas a man as ever there was.
Our conversation veered from bourbon to beer, politics to religion. You can imagine I learned a thing or two, whether they were stories of cross-country road trips`, women of international beauty (particularly those of the German variety), killing mountain lions, skinning rattlesnakes, breeding the last remains of true Texas Longhorn cattle, and hanging out with a former Governor who — when she learned he was not born in Texas — bestowed upon him an honorarium thus making him a Texan.
And his place, the Lost Horse Saloon, is a reflection of the man. The bar is as long as Ty is tall, longer in fact, and only a bit wider. He stocks a “cultured menu” of beer, wine and spirits but “nothin’ too fancy. Though we do have Basil Hayden’s® Bourbon.” He’d repeat that to me a couple times. The Lost Horse is the first place you’d want to go after work, and it’s the last place you’d want to go after a great night. With its weathered pool tables, live music, and expansive outdoor patio, the Lost Horse is the perfect place to kick up your feet on an old log and share a drink with friends — old ones or new ones like Ty. You’ll soon find, as long as you’re in Ty’s care, you’ll be old friends in no time. Now, about that eye patch….
The Lost Horse Saloon
306 E San Antonio Street
Marfa, TX 79843
Enriched by a hint of peppermint, it impresses with notes of pepper balanced by slight citrus overtones, and a spicy, warming finish.
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A Chicago-based storyteller, keeper of a whiskey blog and shop-owner who's known for his appreciation of America.