Ski Inn

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Ski Inn
Ski-Inn Diner
Location9596 Avenue A, Niland, CA 92257

Ski Inn is a bar and restaurant in Bombay Beach, California. The Ski Inn purports to be the "lowest bar in the western hemisphere" at 223 feet or 68 meters below sea level.[1][2] The name refers to water skiing and not snow skiing.[3]


Originally, there were five bars in Bombay Beach.[4] However, it is now one of two bars in town, the other being the local American Legion.[5][6][7][1][4] The bar has been under the same ownership for more than a quarter of a century.[8] The band Heat Hell and Winter played 1950s cover songs there.[9] At one point, the Ski Inn had a video poker machine.[6] It is popular among local residents.[10]


Dollar bills cover the interior.[11][12][13][14]

Desert Magazine said the Ski Inn was one of the "only alive places I notice in this ghost town" and "worth a stop: Have a beer and hear some stories of the sea’s days gone by."[8] LA Weekly's Hayley Fox called it a "charismatic dive" and recommended having "a beer and a burger."[11] Palm Springs Life's Karen Graninger implored that "the cheeseburger and potato salad will fill you up nicely."[12] KCET's Sandi Hemmerlein liked it for the "patty melt and exploring the remains of the town that have been consumed by floods and sand."[15]

Vice's Jamie Lee Curtis Taete reviewed their meal with "The grilled cheese tasted exactly like the fries, which tasted exactly like the salad. Literally every dish on my plate tasted exactly like accidentally swallowing bath water."[7] The Independent's Tim Walker remarked "It boasts a passable $5 burger and a handful of friendly, elderly regulars: the men and women who stayed when the world went away."[1] Time Out Los Angeles's Kate Wertheimer suggested to "stop by for a drink or a greasy bite and decorate a dollar bill to hang on the wall or ceiling."[14]

In popular culture[edit]

The Ski Inn has been featured in media by Anthony Bourdain and John Waters.[2] Bourdain lunched there in a fourth season episode of Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations.[12] It was used as a filming location in an episode of The Mentalist where it was renamed "Borrego Gas Diner."[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Walker, Tim (March 13, 2015). "Postcard from... Bombay Beach". The Independent. Independent Print Limited. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  2. ^ a b Walker, Tim (November 13, 2015). "Salton Sea: California drought could soon see the state's largest body of water sleeping with the fishes". The Independent. Independent Print Limited. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  3. ^ Durchgerockt, Annene von (April 17, 2007). "Bombay Beach, Forgotten But Not Gone". JPG. 8020 Media, Inc. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  4. ^ a b Zimmerman, Janet (December 18, 2014). "Salton Sea struggles to survive". The Press-Enterprise. Digital First Media. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  5. ^ Killian, Chris (August 8, 2013). "The Dying Sea". WMUK. Western Michigan University. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  6. ^ a b Murphy, Tim (September 21, 2010). "The Salton Sea: Not for Everyone". Mother Jones. Mother Jones and the Foundation for National Progress. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  7. ^ a b Taete, Jamie Lee Curtis (September 26, 2013). "I Went to California's Post-Apocalyptic Beach Town". Vice. Vice Media. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  8. ^ a b Desert Magazine staff (March 4, 2016). "To the sea". Desert Magazine. The Desert Sun. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  9. ^ Goodyear, Dana (May 4, 2015). "The Dying Sea". The New Yorker. Condé Nast. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  10. ^ Sterling, Terry Greene (March 3, 2008). "The People of the Sea". High Country News. High Country News. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  11. ^ a b Fox, Hayley (July 13, 2016). "There's Much More to the Salton Sea Than Painterly Sunsets and Fish Stench". LA Weekly. Voice Media Group. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  12. ^ a b c Graninger, Karen (June 22, 2016). "Trip to Salton Sea area". Palm Springs Life. Desert Publications Inc. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  13. ^ Waters, Blair (December 1, 2014). "Weird, Wild, U.S.A.: Everywhere You Need To Stop Along The Bizarre, Wonderful American Highways". Nylon. Diversis Capital. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  14. ^ a b Wertheimer, Kate (September 17, 2015). "The 15 best day trips from Los Angeles". Time Out Los Angeles. Time Out Group. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  15. ^ Hemmerlein, Sandi (June 10, 2016). "5 Scenic Desert Drives". Socal Wanderer. KCET. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  16. ^ Adami, Chelcey (July 27, 2013). "'The Mentalist' arrives in Bombay Beach". ivpressonline. Imperial Valley Press. Retrieved August 13, 2016.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°21′13″N 115°44′01″W / 33.353632°N 115.73356899999999°W / 33.353632; -115.73356899999999