Live Upstairs, Party Downstairs: Buy Your Own Texas Saloon With a Fascinating Past

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Built in 1860, this distinctive brick townhouse in Jefferson, TX, was a livery, a Confederate hat factory, a saloon, a warehouse, a Masonic lodge, and a meeting hall before being renovated into its current status as a home with a downstairs saloon.

This home with the fascinating past can now be yours for $495,000. The buyer will be the envy of at least one local resident.

"If I win the lottery, I'm gonna buy it," listing agent Beverly Bradley of Century 21 Real Estate says. Bradley sang at the joint in the '70s, when the property doubled as a home theater for students.

"Every first weekend in May they'd put on a saloon show, with can-can lines and singers," Bradley says. The building closed in the early '90s and was purchased by the current owner in 2003. He completely renovated the home, turning the first floor into a combination entertaining and living area and highlighting the wooden bar and 155-year-old brick walls. A faded sign above the entrance still reads "McGarity's Saloon."

Bradley says the building is zoned for commercial use, although it's not currently used for business purposes. During Mardi Gras, however, the homeowner throws open the saloon doors to all who wander past.

"They don't realize it at first, then they look around. They go, 'Hey? Is this your home?' And he says 'Yep -- Now what do you want to drink?'" Bradley says with a laugh. Drinks are on the house, of course -- after all, there's no law saying you can't give people drinks in your own home.

If you want to buy this place and turn it into a moneymaking bar, it'd be relatively simple. Besides the bar, there's a full kitchen and two bathrooms (one for ladies and one for gents) downstairs. Vintage photographs and memorabilia line the walls and the ceilings. The home's list price doesn't reflect the furnishings and decor, but Bradley says anything inside the home is up for negotiation.

For a buyer not into the idea of serving drinks and washing glasses, Bradley mentions a few more possibilities for a canny investor. The place could be transformed into a bed-and-breakfast, or a storefront downstairs with living quarters upstairs.

Take the stairs or the elevator to the second floor, and you'll find a master bathroom with a spa tub and walk-in shower. There's also another kitchen and living area. If you want to hang out and entertain outdoors, there are three balconies with ironwork railings -- two on the side and one out back.

And if you want to become a land baron in West Jefferson, now's your chance. Bradley says the owner has two other plots of land for sale, one adjacent to and one across from the saloon.

Whoever buys the saloon will get a deal worth toasting. Bradley says the owner put about $800,000 worth of work into the house, but it won't sell at that price. Records indicate the owner initially put it on the market for $995,000 in 2011, which means it's half of its price of four years ago. And if you want to buy those vacant lots? Just ask.

"In real estate, everything is negotiable," Bradley says.

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