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Renovations underway at historic Water Street District's Gold Mine Tavern

Tim Haughinberry said he might not have the money of Fremont East or the backing of a major company, but he has the same passion.

With that, he hopes to use the Gold Mine Tavern to transform the Water Street District into a destination.

“I’ll be the Tony Hsieh of Water Street,” Haughinberry said jokingly, referring to the Zappos CEO who has invested in downtown Las Vegas.

Shaping Haughinberry’s vision of a bustling Water Street, the Gold Mine Tavern, 23 S. Water St., is undergoing renovation that is scheduled to be done in September.

The remodel comes just in time for one of Henderson’s biggest events, the SuperRun Classic Car Show.

Over the years, Haughinberry said he has established a good base of customers who come to Water Street for the show and then stop by the bar while in town.

The establishment has a long history of being a go-to spot for many.

Jay Alpert not only does public relations for the bar, he also frequents the establishment.

“It’s like a local watering hole,” he said.

Haughinberry, who has owned the tavern for eight years, has heard stories about its opening more than 45 years ago.

“The place was bustling,” he said.

Four owners later, the tavern has seen its share of changes, including its clientele.

Located near many of the original homes of the Basic townsite, the bar was a spot for many blue-collar workers who lived in the area.

But times have changed and the business model has been adjusted several times.

“It has really transformed,” Alpert said. “It’s been about to renovate without kicking the old crowd out.”

It has even been seen as a biker bar and the after-hours spot for ironworkers.

It’s still a locals bar, but Haughinberry has had to rebrand it to appeal to the diverse range of people who might come in. And all are welcome, he said.

“It’s the only place you see a biker guy sitting next to a 23-year-old girl who just wants a girls night,” he said.

Part of the Gold Mine Tavern’s success, Haughinberry said, has to do with the music nights and festivals he has put on.

In April, the Gold Mine Tavern held its first Hendertucky Music Festival. The bar is planning to partner with the city for its second one next April.

“It might not be as big as the music festival downtown,” he said. “It’s still gonna have some great bands.”

But entertainment is an ongoing amenity. The Gold Mine Tavern hosts comedians and bands throughout the week.

Another part of the success is the city’s effort to redevelop the Water Street District.

Haughinberry said he is grateful and hopes it continues to invest in the area down toward his end of the district.

He added that he believes the city should look at attracting something such as a movie theater or playhouse to help further stimulate culture in the area.

Haughinberry admits the first 100 feet of Water Street aren’t in the best shape.

“It’s like a ghost town when you first turn onto Water Street,” he said.

He said his is one of five businesses that remain in that front section.

Another problem is the proposed high-rise apartments and the empty lot of land on the corner of Water Street and Lake Mead Parkway.

“I have been an open critic of the eyesore we have,” he said. “I think the guy still owns the land and is not letting it go.”

He said if that problem were fixed, it would help the area.

Haughinberry plans to continue celebrateing the bar’s history and legacy.

“Our signs and shirts say, ‘Founded in 1965,’ ” he said.

As for the future, Haughinberry is looking to adding a mixology lounge and a rooftop patio.

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Contact Henderson/Anthem View reporter Michael Lyle at or 702-387-5201.