The History of the Oldest Bar on Lake Tahoe and the Famous Chambers Punch
The building we know today as Chambers Landing was started by John Washington McKinney when he founded Hunter's Retreat in 1863, a hunting and fishing camp in the Sierra Nevada. The current Chambers Bar building was built in 1875. It was the first boathouse on Tahoe and also doubled as a bar and clubhouse. In Homewood in the late 19th Century, the “Tahoe Steamer” used to pull up to the Chambers dock that led to a building that housed a post office, a sundry store and a saloon. In 1920, David Henry Chambers purchased McKinney's Hunter's Resort from the Westhoffs and renamed it Chambers Lodge. Ernest Kettenhoffen purchased the property in 1956 and in 1969 sold Chambers Lodge to the Pirini Corporation.
In 2009, Rick Brown acquired the lease of the Chambers Landing Restaurant and Bar. When he was young, Brown spent most of his summers on the West Shore of Lake Tahoe with his grandfather Don Huff Sr., who started a ski area in Homewood in 1936 - what is currently Homewood Mountain Resort. It is fitting that Brown ultimately took over the bar and restaurant at Chambers Landing, because he helped invent the signature drink, the Chambers Punch. Rick and his brother Stan used to race their 1960 Chris Craft in Lake Tahoe’s popular boat races. In 1976 Brown won the famous Bang and Go Back race, and took his trophy into the Chambers Landing bar. He told the bartender Sid Willeford that he wanted to use his trophy to make an original Lake Tahoe drink. There were three different versions of the punch mixed up in the trophy before the final result came out. There has been a question of who actually created the famous Chambers Punch because Brown’s friend Ted Grebitus also claims to have created it when he won the boat races in 1978.
Come on by to try one of the famous Chambers Punches!
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