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Old bar gets a facelift, reopens

<p>Horace Langford Jr. / Pahrump Valley Times - The Bounty Hunter, a bar on Second and West streets, is the former location of the Sunset Tavern. The building has been renovated, had a patio added and is open for business. The grand opening is set for Nov. 2. Pictured above is part-owner Daryl Keppner.</p>

Horace Langford Jr. / Pahrump Valley Times - The Bounty Hunter, a bar on Second and West streets, is the former location of the Sunset Tavern. The building has been renovated, had a patio added and is open for business. The grand opening is set for Nov. 2. Pictured above is part-owner Daryl Keppner.

A local institution has been resurrected with a new look, a new name and an updated plan.

The building at West and Second streets, which formerly housed the Sunset Tavern, reopened as the Bounty Hunter Oct. 5 after owners Daryl Keppner and Ruth Edwards were given a temporary liquor license by the Board of County Commissioners. Keppner has been cleaning up, painting and installing new equipment since he first requested the liquor licenses four months ago.

Keppner and Edwards are both chefs and wanting to own their own business, the first thought was to open a restaurant. “It wound up being way too much red tape,” Keppner said. “I knew this building was here. In fact, I worked as a bartender here years ago.”

He and Edwards have taken a long-term lease on the bar and Keppner said, “We got a good deal on it since I was doing all the work.”

Gone are the washing machines and dryers, which used to be installed at one end of the Sunset Tavern. When the former bar occupied the space and the weather outside was chilly, bar patrons would flip a coin to see who would put a quarter in one of the dryers to provide warmth to the building.

Keppner laughed when reminded of the archaic heat source from long ago and said, “We’ve fixed all that. We installed new equipment in the bar and that space is occupied by a pool table now.” Keppner said he also has dart boards.

There is a grand opening planned for the Bounty Hunter on Nov. 2, but getting the bar furnished the way he wants is taking some time. Although he said he has beer and a full bar, draft beer taps are on order and should be installed next week. He also has satellite television being installed this week. There is already a new touch-screen jukebox system in place. “It sounds really good.”

“This is a Seattle Seahawks bar and next year, we’ll have the NFL Ticket so people can come here and watch all the games.”

He said there are new tables made from sanded, stained and polyurethaned cable spools, and he’s added a patio. “We also installed a fence to separate the bar from the trailer park behind it.”

Keppner said he had interest in the old building for a number of reasons. “It’s a historical building that’s been here running as a bar since 1967. He said in keeping with history, the inside has been decorated in a western theme with earth tones. “I had Jeannie, the bartender at Romero’s, make her specialty liquor bottle lamps for me.”

Keppner said he named the bar in honor of his mother who passed away. “She had a bar in Arizona called the Bounty Hunter, so we named this one after it.”

He said the shades on the booze bottle lamps are made from the curtains which used to hang in his mother’s old bar.

Keppner said he is looking into getting his gaming license but is concerned about the grandfather clause making it more difficult.

“I’ve been talking to the Nugget and to Best Bet Products about gaming here. Apparently some laws have changed that say I can’t have gaming unless I can serve food and have a specific number of bar stools.”

Because of the grandfather clause, which allowed Keppner to reopen the bar, he cannot expand the building. If he isn’t allowed to add onto the existing structure, there isn’t room for a kitchen to serve food. “We’ve got to get some answers before we move forward with a gaming license,” Keppner said.

He said in the meantime, he has considered getting someone with a food truck, or getting his own, to park next to the Bounty Hunter so he can offer his guests something to eat. The bar stocks pre-packaged snacks.

This Friday, the Bounty Hunter will host weekly karaoke beginning at 7 p.m. Keppner has a Halloween party set for Oct. 26.

Regular hours are from 10 a.m. to midnight, seven days per week. Happy hour is from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. The grand opening on Nov. 2 will feature live music from On Target and an outdoor barbecue.