The M&M opened in 1890 under the ownership
of Sam Martin and William F. Mosby. Customers quickly coined
it "The M&M." The doors of the M&M have
never been locked.
The M&M originally featured a bowling alley in the basement,
but its main forms of recreation were on the first floor, which
was dedicated to eating and drinking, and on the second floor,
which was reserved for gambling. Later the gambling moved downstairs
to the back room where poker tables and a Keno cage are still
in operation, surrounded by electronic video gambling machines.
Beat poet Jack Kerouac stopped by for a visit and wrote the following
description for Esquire Magazine in 1970:
- "It was Sunday night, I had hoped
the saloons would stay open long enough for me to see them. They
never even closed. In a great old-time saloon I had a giant beer.
On the wall was a big electric signboard flashing gambling numbers
...What characters in there: old prospectors, gamblers, whores,
miners, Indians, cowboys, tobacco-chewing businessmen! Groups
of sullen Indians drank rotgut in the john. Hundreds of men played
cards in an atmosphere of smoke and spitoons. It was the end
of my quest for an ideal bar..."
For a taste of what the M&M and other Uptown bars once were
like around the turn of the century, try a visit to Butte on
St. Patrick's Day when as many as 30,000 gather in a four-by-five-block
area to celebrate. It can take as long as 30 minutes to walk
through the crowd from the front door to the back of the M&M
as revelers crowd the bar and restaurant counter for shots of
Old Bushmills and corned beef and cabbage.