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paperback novel
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The Mint Bar - 2
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The Mint Bar  -  2

What appears at first sight to be nothing more than a proverbial hole in the wall, located on 151 N Main Street, in Sheridan, Wyoming, sits the Mint Bar, formally known as the Mint Saloon.

Established in 1894, the saloon did not actually open its doors until 1907.

The bar was a popular gathering place for cowboys, ranchers, and dudes, before dude became a surfing term.

With a little imagination, we can step back in time: … You can almost hear the sound of spurs, smell the horses, and see tumbleweeds rolling down Main Street.

The boards’ creek as you step onto the wooden sidewalk. You swing the doors open, and are assaulted by the sound of a cheap piano trying to compete with the general ruckus of cowboys tipping back a cold one on a Saturday night.

Thick smoke and shameful perfume, sting your eyes and permeate your nostrils as you make your way through the crowd.

Your rain-slicker dripping from the storm forms a pool around your boots, and you push back your Stetson, as you belly up to the bar.

The barkeep pours you a glass of whiskey, and you shake off the cold…

The Mint bar gives you a feeling that seems to engulf you, and puts you straight into the pages of dime store paperback novel.

The bar looks deceptively small from the street, once inside, it is exceedingly long and large. An article written in the Sheridan Post by an unknown author on July 2, 1912 wrote, “It was the most handsomely furnished saloon in the city”.

The mahogany bar, scarred by many decades of use and abuse, still shines like glass. The baseboards made out of marble, contribute to its decadence. Knotty pine paneling and gnarled burls make up the back bar and booths.

Thousands of cedar shingles line the walls with local brands (cattle brands).

Old photographs cover the wall facing the bar. Turn of the century black and whites, from a different time and place, framed with what looks like old pieces of driftwood.

One picture depicts a flock of sheep bending down to drink from a river. Another, a lone cowboy sits on his horse by a fence, with the mountains as a backdrop

.

Still another depicts a cowboy on his horse standing in the river overlooking the cattle about to cross.

There are pictures of cowboys on their horses standing right in the bar, and a barkeep in a long white apron, with his arms folded across his chest, looks on in consternation.

One picture is of a group of dusty, sullen faced cowboys, weather worn, standing outside the bar on the wooden sidewalk; they seem a bit disgruntled at having their photograph taken, as if this activity was preventing them from slaking their thirst. Wagon wheel chandeliers grace the ceiling.

Once inside, after your eyes adjust to the dim light, you become aware of a virtual wildlife morgue.

Deer, antelope, and elk horns decorate the walls. There is a bobcat poised to spring in midair, and a wolverine, frozen in a permanent attack stance, stands his ground as he snarls with vicious teeth.

Although mounted, an entire moose head and a bighorn sheep head, remain ominous, and in their full glory, they regally stare blankly straight ahead.

The size of these two animals will make you stare blankly at them, in awe.

A buffalo skull, stripped of its flesh, making the horns look deceptively large, hangs over the bar. Above the unfortunate buffalo, on a shelf, is the stuffed corpse of a coyote.

The specimen has the appearance of a pathetic underfed dog, exacerbated by its yellow glass eyes and dusty fur.

Because of its rarity, an albino big horn sheep is cased in glass. Also encased in glass is a mythical creature, known as the Jackalope, which is a white jackrabbit sporting antlers.

There is an 8ft. 4in. Texas Sand Rattlesnake, with a 37-button rattle. Legend has it, he weighed 80lbs., and took two days to track down on horseback.

Beneath the snakeskin, is a set of Texas long horns, seemingly out of place in Wyoming.

Also, included in the plethora of death were squirrels, rabbits, prairie dogs, wolf and beaver skins, Mallard ducks, and hawks.

It was apparent that no form of wildlife could consider itself safe, here in the Wild West

.

There are a few modern touches these days, like the 1950’s style jukebox, and some pool tables; however, the general feeling you get is that of the old Wild West, unchanged, straight out of a movie scene.

Although, the cowboy culture was a mere blink in American history, it seems alive and well at the Mint Saloon, where everything is fair game.

If you listen closely, you can hear the horse drawn wagons pulling up to deliver ice, while Miss Kitty, Festus, and Doc are engaging in their usual banter.

Behind the bar hangs the time-honored proverb, “Hangovers—installed & serviced”.


Street Talk

Sounds like a really interesting place to visit.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Sheridan, Wyoming is a trip alright:)

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
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