If you are passing through Sheridan, WY, the Mint Bar is a great place to stop. Voted one of the top western bars in the country and voted one of the top historic bars, the Mint Bar is as much a museum as it is a bar. Katherine Deeds, Manager of the Mint Bar explains that the bar is 115 years old. It have been opened since 1907 and has been greatly preserved.
Deeds says, “People will come in and be like, I haven’t been here in 40 years. And it looks almost exactly the same. Our walls are covered in history, not just Western history or cowboy history, the town history. We have things like original newspaper articles from right after Custer’s Last Stand happened and all kinds of really great things on display for everybody, which is why the bar has a museum quality to it.”
Deeds explains that the taxidermy displayed on the walls represents a lifestyle for Wyoming and the Sheridan area. But not everything is native to Wyoming. For example, the Mint Bar displays things like a caribou and an Artic Fox which were brought back from a hunting trip of the previous owners. However, the jackalope is definitely from Wyoming.
In the back of the bar, the walls are covered in cedar planks.
Deeds describes that the walls are all covered in over 5,000 different brands. “They are real brands all local to the area. Some of them are still working brands. Some have been retired or passed on and sold. But the brands were put in when we had the remodel done in the late forties. .
The Mint Bar holds a ton of history. Deeds says that back when prohibition was a thing, the back half of the bar was a speakeasy and the front half of the bar was a pharmacy and a soda shop.
Deeds has also researched to find the origin of the bar’s name. “All I have found that’s been consistent is there is a mint bar everywhere, the railroad runs. But we’re THE mint bar.”
The Mint Bar attracts people from all over the world. Deed says, “It’s the funnest time meeting people that’ll be like, I was in Mexico or somewhere in the Middle East or something like that and heard about this bar. And so they will come in from everywhere. You never know who’s going to walk through the door on any given day.”
If you are driving through Sheridan, be sure to stop and get your picture taken under the iconic Mint Bar neon sign.
Deeds says, “The sign has been up since the fifties. You’ll see people all day and all night stopping underneath it. You’ll see it popping up in paintings and magazines and roadside books. But we do have a great neon that we’re very proud of.”