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The Mint Bar: Celebrating 117 years of history as 'The Cheers of Sheridan'

Posted at 8:54 AM, Apr 19, 2024

SHERIDAN, Wyo. — The Mint Bar of Sheridan is a locally known staple of the city with its 117-year legacy of honoring the people of Wyoming.

“It’s like the Cheers of Sheridan," said Debi Carter, a regular at the bar.

Patrons described the establishment as both a tried and true cowboy bar and something more on par with a museum.

“I don’t even see this place as owning this place. I’m just the caretaker," said Ryan Wagner, the bar's current owner and former barback, "I’m just the guy taking care of this place till the next guy comes in.”

Although the bar shares a namesake alongside, at least, eight other "mint bars" between Wyoming and Montana, many said Sheridan's Mint Bar has a history of drawing the attention of outstanding American icons.

“Earnest Hemingway was gambling in the back, we (host) all kinds of actors, old cowboys," said Katherine (Kat) Deeds, the bars manager and barback.

Despite being featured in Wild Horses, a film staring Kenny Rogers, publication in The New York Times, and setting the scene for Modelo commercials, among other major historic accolades, the owner said the bar staff does not let it go to their head; everyone will receive the same caliber of service.

“We don’t really care about celebrities. It’s nice if they’re here, but they’re treated just like our everyday-Joes," said Wagner.

No matter the patron, he said, the bar's priority is being an upstanding pillar of Sheridan, something embodied by its 9,000 interior shingles marked with Wyoming family brands.

"The owners paid this guy, named Tuffy, in whiskey to sit in here and burn the brands in," said Deeds, "and the brands would start to get crooked so they’d send him home for the day.”

Residents like Justin Bishop, who met his wife while working as a barback at The Mint, said the shingles symbolize a constant in a world of change.

“That’s definitely one of the traditions that we have here at The Mint, you’re only a stranger here once," said Wagner.