A roadhouse is a commercial establishment typically built on or near a major road or highway that services passing travellers. The word's meaning varies slightly by country.
A local inn or restaurant, the "roadhouse" or "road house" commonly serves meals, especially in the evenings, has a bar serving beer or hard liquor and features music, dancing and sometimes gambling. Most roadhouses are located along highways or roads in rural areas or on the outskirts of towns. Early roadhouses provided lodging for travelers but with the advent of faster means of transport than walking, horseback riding, or horse-drawn carriages, few now have rooms available. Roadhouses have a slightly disreputable image similar to honky tonks.
Alaska and the Yukon
From the 1890s in Alaska and the Yukon, roadhouses were checkpoints where dog drivers (mushers, or dog sledders); horse-driven sleds; and people on snowshoes, skis, or walking would stop overnight for shelter and a hot meal. Remains of a roadhouse can be seen today south of Carmacks, Yukon along the Klondike Highway.
In Australia a roadhouse is a service station in a rural area specifically aimed to service passing traffic on a major intercity route. A roadhouse sells fuel and provides maintenance and repairs for cars but also has an attached "restaurant" (more like a café) serving hot food to travellers. Roadhouses usually serve as truck stops with space to park semi-trailer trucks and buses as well as catering to travellers in cars. In remote areas such as the Nullarbor Plain a roadhouse also offers motel-style accommodation and camping facilities.
Roadhouses in Britain were called coaching inns. Like roadhouses in other countries, they were originally a place along the road for people traveling on foot or by horse to stay at night, but today they are typically restaurants or pubs without lodging.
In popular culture
- Charging station
- Fast food restaurant
- Black Rapids Roadhouse, an old Alaskan roadhouse.
- Rika's Landing Roadhouse
- Service station