When there’s a bra dangling from steer horns over the entrance, you know you’re in the right place. Though other venues in town have a similar affinity for displaying undergarments (Hogs & Heifers and Coyote Ugly among them), the Las Vegas Country Saloon will attempt to attract the country crowd with a venue directly on Fremont Street. And yes, there will be a mechanical bull.
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In 2001, the multimillion-dollar Race Rock Restaurant closed its doors. Since then, much of the two-story space has become home to Mickie Finnz, Hennessey’s and the Brass Lounge. Speculation has surrounded the additional unused 7,000 square feet upstairs, but the Weekly was granted the first look at what will become the Las Vegas Country Saloon. “Originally we were going to do a live music venue up here,” says Andrew Northam, regional manager of Hennessey’s Las Vegas Inc. “Then we kind of changed direction and wanted to do a country-western bar.” He cites the many Midwestern tourists who ask about the nearest country bar, but are unwilling to drive to Stoney’s on the other end of Las Vegas Boulevard.
Once inside, a Brazilian tigerwood and mahogany bar is to the left. Across from the floor-to-ceiling windows and low-top cocktail tables are aged, cracked-leather booths. “Those will be raised up about 18 inches so they’ll get a good view of the mechanical bull,” says Northam. Jack Daniel’s whisky barrels and a southwestern façade will line the ceiling.
There is neither an official dress code nor a cover charge, which could make the venue an appealing nightclub alternative if one is willing to line dance instead of bump and grind. The Saloon will still have a standard VIP section. “We’ll definitely reserve it … but if it’s a slower night, I’m willing to offer it to people that just come in,” Northam says. They’ll offer a barbecue-style menu, but since the food is technically delivery from the kitchen downstairs, the venue is smoker-friendly. Open daily from 4 p.m. to around 4 a.m., the Saloon will feature a mixture of DJs spinning as well as regional acts, such as Cash’d Out (an acclaimed Johnny Cash tribute band), performing for the grand opening in early November.
“It’s not going to be just a plain old tavern-y kind of bar,” says Northam. “It’s going to have a little bit of pizzazz to it.” He adds, “I think you’re going to see a lot of drunken debauchery … that’s what we like.” Though Northam notes that there won’t be sawdust or peanut shells on the floor, we anticipate being too distracted by the bikini bull-riding to notice.