An old-school typewriter from the 1940s. An early-20th-century camera. Color photographs of the original Mint Casino at 100 Fremont Street in the 1970s. It sounds like the description of a museum exhibit. But how about a new bar that is on its way to becoming a shrine to vintage Vegas?
Located in the former Red Label Bar & Lounge space in the same West Sahara Boulevard strip mall that houses one of the few remaining remnants of Old Vegas—the Golden Steer Steakhouse—the new Mint Tavern is a work in progress. A gradual face-lift is transforming the somewhat rundown dive bar into one reborn and adorned with vintage Las Vegas relics. Inspired by the colorful history of the city, owner Todd Worz has teamed up with longtime friend Jonathan Fine (PKWY Taverns) to bring Old Vegas back to life. Indeed, the venue’s name, retro signage and interior accoutrements pay homage to a piece of Las Vegas history.
“Jonathan was born and raised in Las Vegas, and I’ve lived here for 17 years,” Worz says. “We both have a mutual love for the history of the city and want to bring that Sinatra era of class acts to this little corner of the Strip, and tie into the historical significance of the Golden Steer. The Mint’s name was chosen because of the history that surrounded that particular hotel and casino, which was where a laundry list of celebrities worked and where Hunter S. Thompson wrote Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.”
The first thing you’ll encounter is the retro neon sign at the entrance, which mirrors that of the original Mint Casino (designed by Yesco’s Kermit Wayne and Hermon Boernge), which stood on Fremont Street from 1957 until 1988, when it closed and became part of Binion’s. Inside the tavern you’ll find the rich dark wood ceiling and panels, a disco-era crystal chandelier, dark leather banquettes and more nods to classic Las Vegas, such as vintage photos and old Vegas-themed movie posters. In keeping with the bygone era, classic cocktails are served and the room is filled with the sounds of Sinatra and an eclectic blend of old-school soul, R&B and funk.
The smoker-friendly tavern is equipped with large-screen TVs throughout the bar, and offers 24-hour gaming and a weekly event called Swing Dance Vegas, which takes place in the adjoining lounge every Friday night at 7:30 p.m., attracting swing-dance enthusiasts in their zoot suits and pleated skirts.
As finishing touches are being added, an unveiling of sorts will occur March 1–3, featuring new signature cocktails and live weekend entertainment. 332 W. Sahara Ave., open daily 24/7, themintlv.com
Name: Mint Tavern
Serving: Classic and signature cocktails in a space filled with vintage Vegas nostalgia
Opened: September 1, 2017
Who’s Behind It: Las Vegas nightlife veteran Todd Worz and Jonathan Fine of Fine Entertainment
Did You Know: The extensive remodel uncovered windows that had been boarded up for more than a decade. They have now been exposed and are once again offering views of the Las Vegas Strip.
Correction: an earlier version of this article misidentified the designer of the original Mint Casino sign.