Take Cover

The Bunker Bar created a point of refuge in the desert north of Lake Havasu City for off-road riders to stop and have a bite, grab some drinks and enjoy a little free entertainment.
Owner Chris Blackwell opened the bar one year ago, after finding a piece of land perfect for the project.
“You know it just kind of started off as a conversation in the garage,” Blackwell said. “I stumbled across some property that was advertised for sale, and I went and looked at it because I thought for 10 acres out in the desert north of Havasu, it sounded like a great deal. Then I got out there and it’s like, ‘oh that’s why it’s so cheap.’”
The barren property didn’t seem like much at first glance, but it had plenty of potential for the right concept.
“I came back and the next day I had some friends over and we were kind of just laughing and joking about it and then somebody popped off with, ‘we ought to open a desert bar out there,’” Blackwell said.
“We started off with the containers, that’s what the original concept was, the containers with a canopy in between,” he continued. “Then I bought an old military dump truck to haul material out there for the construction and then somebody said, ‘it looks like an Army bunker out here,’ and it does, so we just kind of grew it from that.”
And so the Bunker Bar was born, providing a fun hangout for desert riders.
“The whole idea was to be an off-road riding destination,” Blackwell said. “It’s very simple, the construction and layout is about as basic as you can get. And that was what we set out to do, was just make a destination for people to take off in their side by sides and Jeeps or whatever you have to ride off road. It’s a place to go, hangout, get some lunch, have a beer, listen to some live music and ride home.”
Throughout the past year, he has continued to build the Army bunker theme, adding a military helicopter and ambulance to the display.
The bar is open noon-5 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday from October-April. They have live music every weekend, featuring a variety of local bands.
“The bands kind of range from classic rock to country Western,” Blackwell said. “And then we’ve had a Motown performer out that is going over very well. We’re trying hard to get a variety. For the most part they’re all from Havasu, Kingman and Bullhead area.”
Motown artist Tim Hope will be taking the stage on Friday, Feb. 12 and Dry Heat is scheduled to play at the Bunker from noon-5 p.m. Feb. 13-14.
“Dry Heat is a local band and they play a pretty wide variety — classic rock, they get pretty contemporary and they also have a good selection of classic country and Western,” Blackwell said.
While listening to the music, guests can enjoy some delicious food onsite from Nikos Grill, including Philly cheesesteaks, pulled pork sandwiches, gyros, burgers and their famous garlic beer-battered fries.
The bar includes a selection of wines, domestic and imported beer, along with specialty cocktails like the signature Bunker Bloody. This Bloody Mary is made with house seasonings and topped with a pepperoni stick, cheese, hot cauliflower, pimento olive, pickle and lime slice.
It is a family-friendly hangout, with Mister Root Beer serving up root beer floats for the kids. There are also games like cornhole, giant Jenga and Connect4 to keep everyone entertained. Pets are not allowed.
COVID-19 precautions are in place, with the tables socially-distanced and masks required to enter. Once guests are seated they may remove masks.
There are a couple of ways to reach the Bunker Bar, located at 6942 N. Thirsty Lizard Rd. For those with off-road vehicles, there are some adventurous trails, and for any other vehicle, there is a suitable road leading from the Havasu Heights neighborhood.
“There’s trails that lead from Havasu out to us, the most popular being Craggy Wash Trail — it’s the first trail just north of the airport,” Blackwell said.
“And then we have a 2.5-mile dirt road that comes in off of Havasu Heights Boulevard and Highway 95. We work hard to keep it groomed so we’ve had people out there in their Mercedes Benz, we’ve had limousines out there, so any vehicle can come out.
“We try to be really good neighbors because we’re rather close to the Havasu Heights neighborhood, so if you go through it just be respectful because it’s dirt roads next to people’s homes.”
Bring the whole family, either by car or take an off-road adventure, for a fun and relaxing day hanging out in the desert.
Make sure to follow The Bunker Bar on Facebook for updates and band lineup.