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Cartoon Saloon: From Texas Independence Day idea to a quirky roadside attraction



Five years ago, a group of creative minds were in search of a unique way to celebrate Texas Independence Day. After much contemplation, they decided to build a saloon – a brainchild that stemmed from their beer can hanging tradition during Christmas. And so, The Cartoon Saloon was born, located at 508 FM 473 in Comfort, Texas.

Owned by JP Rankin, a 58-year-old cartoonist and independent insurance agent, the saloon offers a charming experience with cold beer, hot dogs, and delightful music. The building’s rustic facade is adorned with wooden benches and stools, complementing the concrete and bottle bar. The Cartoon Saloon isn’t your regular bar; it is a quirky roadside attraction that draws visitors from all corners of the globe.

The interiors of the saloon are replete with amusing trinkets, including a horse stand, a bra-wearing deer, beer cans, and dollar bills that visitors have left behind as mementos. JP Rankin’s for-sale cartoon caricatures dominate the walls, mainly cowboy and bar-related, along with other eccentric materials that defy cataloguing. The saloon attracts visitors from France, Canada, and all over the United States, with many bikers, cyclists, and tourists frequenting the establishment.

Sal Men Nello’s Cafe, located next to the Cartoon Saloon, is adorned with a facade featuring a bloodshot-eyed bovine. The cafe’s name fits in perfectly with the saloon’s creativity and adds to its allure. The establishment also features a Gallery housing most of Rankin’s cartoons for sale that are purely cowboy and bar-based.

The saloon’s doors are accessible 24/7, and guests are encouraged to make donations to keep the solar-powered lights on at night. Even the occasional disappearance of the saloon doors adds to the eccentric charm of the place. However, Rankin emphasizes that financial gain isn’t the goal. Instead, he and his friends created the saloon to combine caricature, community, and humor, never forgetting the cartoons they loved as children, such as Bugs Bunny and Popeye.

The loosely constructed establishment is a testament to the creative exuberance of the friends who built it. Although Denmark, the mayor of the fictional city, and Rankin, the Justice of the Peace, manage the property, their friend named “Biscuit” wrote and performed their official Looney tune as the deputy, adding to the spontaneity of the place.

The fifth-generation Texan claims that the Cartoon Saloon has received nearly 25,000 visitors, and with an upcoming expansion, it aims to become more than just a roadside attraction, according to Dallas Press News. The plan is to create a place where people can drop off non-perishable food items for the community, and where needy families can receive food. The Cartoon Saloon embodies the spirit of Texans who are always eager to showcase what they’ve built, warmly welcoming visitors to experience it.

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