The drinks will continue to flow at The Mint - despite a City Council recommendation against it and neighbors' opposition to its Wild Boys male strip revue.
In June, the Tucson City Council voted unanimously to recommend the Arizona State Liquor Board deny a liquor license transfer to new owners Ricardo Skyy Garcia and Chris Smith.
But on Thursday, the state board approved the liquor license 6-1 for the bar, which is at 3540 E. Grant Road.
"We are very grateful for the outcome and we are ready to move forward with all our new and exciting plans at The Mint," said Garcia in a news release.
"The decision was based on the fact that Chris and myself were capable, qualified and reliable," Garcia wrote. "This has been a long, hard and very expensive battle against the City of Tucson."
Opponents from the Palo Verde Neighborhood Association were disappointed.
Board member Candi Filpek, one of many neighbors who attended the hearing, was critical of the case the city mounted to try to block the license.
While attorneys for The Mint spent three hours making their case, the city representatives took just 45 minutes and "did not even attempt a summary at the end of all testimonies," she wrote in the neighborhood newsletter.
"So we can only hope for the best with the activities that occur at this establishment," Filpek continued.
Garcia and Smith spent months trying to convince city officials, neighborhood associations and Councilman Steve Kozachik that they would not allow their other business venture, the Wild Boys, to transform the bar into a den of iniquity and ruin the neighborhood.
At the June council meeting, Kozachik called the Wild Boys show too lascivious and said it violated the city's ordinance prohibiting sexually themed entertainment within 1,000 feet of residential neighborhoods or near schools.
Garcia and Smith contended the City Council colluded against them before the June 19 meeting, so they filed an open-meetings complaint against the city with the Attorney General's Office. The complaint is pending.
Kozachik said he was not surprised by the liquor license decision.
"It's the modus operandi of the liquor board to approve just about every license that comes before them," Kozachik said. "It's a revenue generator for the state."
He said he hopes Garcia and Smith honor their promise to run the bar in a responsible manner and keep the chaos to minimum.
"I would hope they respect the neighbors and maintain the ambience the neighbors have come to expect," he said. "The burden shifts to them now. They said they were going to be good neighbors, now let's demonstrate it."
DID YOU KNOW?
The Mint was founded in 1934 and was once downtown. Back in the 1950s, folks used to ride their horses to the bar.
Source: Star archives
Contact reporter Darren DaRonco at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-4243.