Local Wire

Cave Creek's Legendary Buffalo Chip Saloon Destroyed by "Suspicious" Fire

One of the Valley’s most iconic country bars is now a pile of smoldering rubble and debris after being destroyed by devastating fire.

The Buffalo Chip Saloon in Cave Creek burned to the ground earlier today after a massive fire swept through the rustic cowboy joint and dance hall this morning.

According to Phoenix Fire Department officials and various media reports, the blaze has been deemed “suspicious” and possibly the result of arson. The property is being considered a “total loss” after the fire.

Firefighters reportedly had to deal with two separate conflagrations at the Buffalo Chip this morning, the first of which was a small fire in the establishment’s restroom that reignited after initially being extinguished. The second fire, however, was more extensive and led to the 64-year-old building’s destruction.

No one was seriously injured in the fire and the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office will reportedly be investigating the blaze to determine if arson was indeed the cause.

The Buffalo Chip Saloon first opened in 1961 and became a landmark destination in Cave Creek. It was big on country kitsch, offering live music and dancing on many nights throughout the week, as well as live bull riding in a corral located outside, which was a popular attraction. Fans of the Green Bay Packers also flocked to the place on game days.

The Buffalo Chip also was prominently featured in the locally produced 2012 film Queens of Country, which starred Lizzy Caplan, Ron Livingston, and Tool front man Maynard James Keenan. Several scenes from the movie, which was co-written by New Times contributor Serene Dominic, were shot at the bar, including a performance by rockabilly queen Wanda Jackson.

The establishment was scheduled to host its annual Thanksgiving festivities today, as well as a viewing party for tonight’s Packers game against the Chicago Bears.

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.