Wyoming’s Legendary Speakeasies
Since the end of Prohibition, not all hidden bars disappeared. Some proprietors were so conditioned to secrecy over 13 years, they continued a “members only” mindset. Wyoming was no different for how bootlegging affected saloons and watering holes on every level of luxury.
There seems a new era of nostalgia for a feeling of being secretive– or for some maybe it’s a feeling of exclusive. Either way, most speakeasies now are not private at all. They might just have a back alley door.
Over the last number of years, there are more establishments themed this way, and some are still just like they were before The Volstead Act.
Smithsonian Magazine recently looked at eight bars that survived 1920s America, and now are doing better than ever in these "neo-speakeasy" times. Their first choice is the Mint Bar in Sheridan, Wyoming. Opened in 1907, The Mint was forced to re-brand as Mint Cigar Company and Soda Shop. However, that didn’t stop imbibing stronger in the back, like The Ditch, a take on whiskey with water.
32 miles east of Wheatland, off of State Highway 26, is the town of Hartville, population 62. It was a mining boom town, but Miner’s and Stockmen’s Steakhouse and Spirits does just fine. During prohibition, locals would gather downstairs in what is now a storage facility. Legend also has it several guests have reported hearing a piano coming from the old back room bar. The proprietors say, however, they’ve never seen any ghosts.
Set at the foot of the Bighorn Mountains near the old Bozeman Trail, The Occidental Hotel in Buffalo has been serving since 1880. Over the years, the saloon has hosted celebrities like Buffalo Bill Cody, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and Ernest Hemingway. Two presidents, Theodore Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover, also visited. It would be ironic if Herbert was there on vacation from the White House. He didn’t start Prohibition, but he was president for the last four years of it.
See the best speakeasies in Denver now here.