Gunsmoke (the longest running scripted TV drama), a stranger would ride into Dodge City, walk into Miss Kitty's bar and order a whiskey. I'm sure this was a common occurrence in real life when the town was populated by the likes of Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, and Bat Masterson. But because of Kansas' rather strict alcohol laws, it's not so easy for a stranger to ride into town and order a drink. (Though arguably the riding is easier - horse vs. car.)
Ford County (of which Dodge City is the county seat), like many Kansas counties, has a law requiring that a business selling alcohol to the public must make at least 30% of its profit from food sales. That's why if you see "Bar" on a sign it's likely to be accompanied by "Grill". Looking for a bar, we found a number of restaurants with people eating in booths rather than sitting on bar stools. Not what we were looking for.
It turned out the bar has an agreement with our motel and a nearby R.V. park allowing them to treat guests at both places as "members." Drinking clubs apparently have a great deal of autonomy in deciding who will be members and who won't in their establishments.
It was quite apparent that everyone in the place knew each other. Part of that is to be expected in any small town, but it still seemed a little unusual for a tourist town. Still, it was February. Not the height of tourist season in Kansas.
Rick said a place needs to be friendly; he called Cattlemen's "our east office. We have our coffee here. This is probably our main office." Rick valued friendliness in a church, he said. "It's like a barbecue. You have to like who you're with." And he told us about a Catholic church in another town that we ought to visit.
beautiful Catholic church nearby, the church where he'd gotten married, that we really needed to see.
Mary thought what made for a good bar was the customers "their personalities - even when I don't like them."