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As We See It

Atomic revival: The landmark bar reopens in a new Downtown

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The mayor was one of many Downtown residents happy to see Atomic’s return.
Photo: Steve Marcus

With a giant neon sign stretching above the sidewalk and scripted font on the building, Atomic Liquors announces itself as a delicious piece of yesteryear. The freestanding, picturesque dive bar that has been luring drinkers since the early 1950s turns up in local accounts of lost afternoons, crazy nights and drunken discourse regarding all matters of the world.

And so, two and a half years without Atomic Liquors seemed like forever to those awaiting the renovation and reopening of the storied establishment, which closed in 2011. Aside from its fame in movies—Casino and The Hangover among them—Atomic Liquors is a personal landmark, a familiar establishment that predates Downtown’s hipster crowd, a reliable something in a changing city, if not just a great place to get loaded or meet a friend.

When original owners Joe and Stella Sobchik opened it so many decades ago, they probably had no idea they were planting such deep roots in a neighborhood that would eventually fall apart until there was a movement to piece it back together again. When a trio of investors bought the bar from the Sobchiks’ son, who closed it after his parents died in 2010 and in 2011, they announced to the press and the community that they’d return it to its original glory.

And they did, opening the bar last week with only a few small changes to a welcoming crowd—proving that sometimes saving a little history goes a long way in Las Vegas.

Atomic Liquors 917 Fremont St., 982-3000. Wednesday, 4 p.m.-midnight; Thursday, 4 p.m.-8 a.m.; weekend hours 4 p.m. Friday-8 a.m. Sunday, atomiclasvegas.com.

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Kristen Peterson

Kristen Peterson joined the Las Vegas Sun in 1998 as a general assignment reporter. In 2003, she turned her focus ...

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