Ask a tour salesperson,
“Where is that onion place?”
Wandering off of your cruise ship in Skagway is a magical experience. You’re surrounded by towering snow-capped mountains. The air is clean and brisk. Your Alaska adventure awaits. You are undoubtedly filled with questions that demand answers, and what better place to get them than a business where tours are sold?
As tour salespeople, we welcome questions totally unrelated to our profession. After all, is there any better way to earn a living than answering random questions about other places of business? When we visit the Lower 48, we often walk into Burger King and ask where to find a quality auto mechanic.
One of the questions we hear on the daily is…
“Where the heck is that onion place?”
Of course, Skagway isn’t really known for its onions. What tourists really mean when they ask this question is, “Where is the Red Onion Saloon?” There are other variations of this question, and they include:
- “Where is that Red Saloon place?”
- “Where is that place with the Red something-or-other?”
- “Where is the Red…. uh… The bar with the prostitutes?”
- “Where is the brothel place?”
Sometimes randy male tourists will follow up this first question with something like, “Is it still a working brothel?” Interestingly, they never ask this question when their wives are with them. The answer is no. It is not a working brothel. Prostitution is illegal in Alaska and most of the United States, for that matter. And shame on you for asking.
“So, where is that Red Onion bar?”
The Red Onion Saloon is located on Second Avenue and Broadway. In fact, it is one of the first buildings you will see when you arrive downtown. It is cleverly marked “Red Onion Saloon” at the top of the building, so with a little trial and error, you should be able to spot it.
Finding the Red Onion can be tricky. Fortunately, tour salespeople know all.
“So, what’s the deal with that place?”
Well, the Red Onion Saloon was a brothel during the Gold Rush. It’s easy to romanticize these rough-and-tumble days gone by, but there was nothing glamorous about working there in 1898. Many women succumbed to disease, and suicide was surprisingly common. The Red Onion Saloon offers a Brothel Museum Tour, where you can learn more about the era and the lifestyle.
Even better, you can purchase a tour from us called the Ghost and Goodtime Girls Tour. This is a walking tour of Skagway’s back alleys, where you learn more about its sordid gold rush history. Much of what you’ll learn isn’t printed in the history books because they tend to omit the best parts. Your tour ends in the Red Onion where you’ll get the see the Brothel Museum and enjoy an adult beverage.
Tour salespeople can often be found in or near a bar after work. During off hours, one answer costs one beer.
The Red Onion also serves pizza, nachos, and some other food items. They also have a full bar and a wonderful selection of beer. In other words, don’t miss it.
If any other random questions pop into your head while you’re in Skagway, don’t hesitate to stop in one of our tour booths and pose your query. Tour salespeople are likely the most knowledgeable people around town and also have access to something few tourists have ever heard of – Google.