Mint Tavern Takes Inspiration from Classic Casino and It’s Glorious

A new tavern just off The Strip is turning heads with its signage, a throwback to earlier times in Las Vegas.

The venue’s sign was inspired by a classic casino, The Mint.

Mint Tavern Las Vegas

You sort of can’t miss it.

The Mint opened in downtown Las Vegas in 1957.

In 1988, the casino closed and became part of Binion’s. Guests visiting Binion’s will note a slope in the casino floor, an indication of where Binion’s ended and The Mint began.

Mint Tavern Las Vegas

Did we go back to get a photo during daylight hours, too? You betcha.

The Mint Tavern sits in an unassuming strip mall that features the Golden Steer steakhouse, just west of the ill-fated Lucky Dragon.

The venue was formerly called Red Label Bar & Lounge.

Here’s a look at the original Mint casino.

Mint casino

We want to lick you like a stripper pole. Which, upon reflection, might not be particularly wise, but urges are urges.

The Mint cocktail lounge on Sahara is still a work-in-progress, as evidenced by a sign outside.

Mint Tavern Las Vegas

Winning.

The bar has about a dozen video poker machines, and not much else at the moment. That includes (gasp!) no Captain Morgan.

Given the retro cool of the sign outside, though, we’re willing to overlook that transgression for now.

Mint Tavern Las Vegas

In 1971, Hunter S. Thompson stayed at The Mint hotel during his first visit to Vegas, the same trip depicted in his novel, “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.”

The Mint’s original, distinctive sign was created by someone with whom Las Vegas fans are very familiar: Betty Willis.

Willis is also the designer of the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign.

Mint Lounge

When The Mint was a thing, it boasted three miles of neon tubing. This sign has a tad less.

Perhaps the best-known story about The Mint involved Lee Marvin. Marvin stayed at the hotel in 1966 during the shooting of “The Professionals” (a Western). The actor got hammered and started shooting arrows at the nearby Vegas Vic sign, claiming his “Howdy Podner!” greeting was making too much noise.

Vegas Vic spoke again in the 1980s, but then was silenced for good.

Mint Lounge

The star atop the sign at the original Mint was 16 feet tall and could be seen 30 miles away.

Kudos to Mint Tavern for creating such a lovely homage to a beloved part of Las Vegas history.

We’re pretty sure Binion’s owns the Mint trademark, but hopefully the new sign won’t cause a legal kerfuffle.

The Mint Tavern’s sign is sure to become a must-see photo op for Las Vegas devotees.

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  • William Wingo

    Congratulations on the correct use of the apostrophe in the title.

  • The Mint was also the sponsor of the Mint 400, the subject race in FALILV and apparently resurrected in the current era.
    The sign is beautiful. But seems to throw a wrench in my plan to buy the left half of Binions and re-rebrand as the Mint.

  • JeffinOKC

    Beautiful. I just finished reading the Benny Binion biography “Blood Aces”, and am now rereading the Bill Bennett bio “Forgotten Man” for the third time. I believe The Mint is the most underused logo and property in Las Vegas. This ain’t the best usage, but it is better than being forgotten.

  • JeffinOKC

    So now, I’m wondering if Terry Caudill doesn’t own it? Since he owns about 15 taverns in the Las Vegas area, besides Binion’s and Four Queens. I would speculate he is successor in interest of the Mint brand, and putting that on a business he does very successfully could be a winner.

    • I’m sure they own it, but they may not care. I’ll ask.

      • JeffinOKC

        If they own it, then they must protect it, or lose exclusive ownership and control. They can give approval for $1.

        • JeffinOKC

          Steven Brown posted that the trademark has been expired for several years.

  • Thanks!

  • wanker751

    Speaking of Vegas Vic, I was down there last week Wed/Thursday and he was off both nights, is he ill?

  • double.down.now

    What’s with this “gaming” stuff ?We’re all adults here, call it gambling! Other than that very nice!

    • Manybar Goatfish

      I’ve been gamed more times than I want to remember, too. Unfortunately, I’ve graduated from gaming to bankruptcy. Industry insiders like Scott cooked up the word “gaming” to make the process of going bankrupt sound fun. Thanks a lot, Scott!

      • Photoncounter

        Just like the phrase “Strippers Direct to Your Room!” Las Vegas isn’t always advertising honestly. I bet The Mint won’t smell like one and won’t be pounding out pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters from sheets of metal like the two in Denver and Philadelphia do.

        • Manybar Goatfish

          What do you mean “Strippers Direct to Your Room!” isn’t honest advertising? So did they say “no” to you? Maybe they said no because of lack of free parking?

          • Photoncounter

            I suspected that she wasn’t a stripper when I pulled out a fistful – a whole fistful mind you! – of dollars and turned on the record player, dropping my favorite Pink Floyd album to play. I cannot relay her response, it wasn’t very lady like. She refused to dance, wanted lots of money in advance for I’m not sure what.

            After she left I lifted her fingerprints, ran them through a database and found out her real name was not Miso Hornay. I just can’t trust anyone in Las Vegas…

          • Manybar Goatfish

            Apart from the racial slur, there’s probably more truth than fiction to your story.

          • Photoncounter

            So a few year back a buddy hooked up (too much booze) with one of the Asian “strippers”. Her street name was right out of the racial slur book. Things didn’t go well for either party. We ran her fingerprints through a database and found an extensive history, as expected. What surprised both of us was she was born here, had a college degree and a good job. First name? Jillian. Not a typical Asian name. No racial slur intended but the only thing these “strippers” want is to separate the john from his money.

          • Manybar Goatfish

            When your first thought is to dust for fingerprints after a fling goes south, maybe some professional counseling is in order.

          • Photoncounter

            There are people who look but don’t see. There are people who see for others.

  • Mike L

    I think it would be pretty ‘cool’ to change the Binion’s name back to the Mint. Maybe whoever decides to buy the property and re-do the hotel could do that. Not too much is left after Harrah’s stripped away the Horseshoe name. Also hoping that they change the SLS back to the Sahara, I know it was mentioned as a possibility.

    • 60gregma .

      I wasn’t aware the property was for sale. It needs a facelift for sure, but short of doing what is being done on the next block (former LVC) and chewing it up piece by piece, I wouldn’t get my hopes up.

      • Mike L

        It’s not for sale that I know of – but that space is definitely being underutilized. I did read though that they were having rent issues in 2009, which says that TLC Casino Enterprises (Terry Caudill) doesn’t actually own the real estate, it’s owned by a group of individuals and trusts. Now that there has been so much done to turn around downtown and with the Stevens’ new hotel next door – it would be nice to see come life breathed back into the Binion’s property.

        • 60gregma .

          That new Stevens hotel has yet to be built. If it is another “ooonce-ooonce-oonce” loud music venue like The D and GG, count me out. For “classic” Vegas I just go to El Cortez.

          • Coop

            oonce- oonce brings the girls. Girls bring money. I have never seen a girl under 60 at El Cortez.

      • William Wingo

        Can’t quote any references, but I’ve heard the old Mint tower has serious asbestos issues and the heating & air conditioning is completely shot. That would make a remodel very expensive.
        A YouTube video of the interior from June 2017 shows most of the rooms sealed off with red “security” tape. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=intSfDqQObo&t=72s
        I stayed at the Mint and later at Binion’s a few times back in the good old days, and it’s sad to see it come to this.

  • Bouldersteve

    Thanks for writing about places like the Mint. Since it’s off the beaten path would have never known it existed