After a 35-year run, Steve Campbell and Andy Kaufman are selling their iconic Minturn Saloon, and they’re looking for the next set of owners to carry on this 120-year Vail Valley tradition.
Since it was built in 1901, the Minturn Saloon has operated continuously as a restaurant or tavern, with plenty of stories of other uses, including, in the last century, as a back-room gambling destination for railroaders.
Kaufman and Campbell bought the Saloon in 1986 and say they are now ready to sell after shepherding the business through the toughest stretch of the COVID-19 pandemic. They’ve listed the 3,521-square-foot property for $1,995,000.
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“We have been approached numerous times over the last few years by prospective buyers, but now we feel the time might be right to make the transition,” Kaufman said in a release. “We were determined to see the Minturn Saloon and our staff through the pandemic. We have accomplished that. All of our employees continue to be employed, and we are doing record business.”
Kaufman and Campbell’s three-decade tenure with the Saloon has kept its existing purpose intact. Before them, in 1976, former Yankee player Bob Cherry took over the business, calling it The Saloon Across the Street from the Eagle River Hotel. Cherry had taken over operations from previous 38-year owner, Jeff Taylor, who was known for being a sparring partner of World Champion boxer Jack Dempsey.
Into the 21st Century, Kaufman and Campbell continued to fill the Saloon with photos and memorabilia that tell the story of its living legacy.
“This is a special building with its original tin ceiling, beautiful back bar built in the 1870s and huge fireplace,” Kaufman said. “Though the infrastructure has been updated, we took great care to maintain the authenticity of the saloon.”
And their preservation has paid off, with the Saloon receiving nods in its current form as one of Esquire magazine’s Best Bars in America. It also continues to be a true Colorado après-ski destination, serving as the watering hole for back-country skiers after finishing the Minturn Mile.
“We still have fun coming in to work,” Campbell said, “but it’s time to retire and pass the baton on to the next owner. Someone will have a great time taking the Minturn Saloon to the next level.”
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