1 Crazy Happy Hour ain’t your mama’s happy hour

Weekly event brings booze, music, art and more to the suburbs

Models pose for a photo shoot during 1 Crazy Happy Hour at Republic Kitchen & Bar in Henderson on Wednesday, March 7, 2012.

It’s a breezy Wednesday night, and dozens of locals flock to Henderson’s Republic Kitchen & Bar to take the edge off the workweek with a few drinks and snacks.

Beside the bar, a crowd sips drink specials and cheers enthusiastically for local musicians who take turns on the mic. Upstairs, a pair of women in corsets pose for an impromptu photo shoot by the pool table, while customers nibbling hors d’oeuvres look on and browse jewelry and art from local vendors.

The ambiance is fun and laid back, more party than happy hour; patrons are curious and friendly -- increasingly so as fresh rounds are poured -- as strangers mingle with friends and colleagues. Indeed, this isn’t your average happy hour: It’s 1 Crazy Happy Hour.

1 Crazy Happy Hour is a weekly evening gathering that rotates among bars and eateries in the suburbs of Las Vegas mixing local music, art, fashion and entertainment with food and drink specials. But despite the drink-centric name, 1 Crazy Happy Hour is all-ages and free to attend.

The event was founded last November by local Evan Savar, director of marketing and development at creative agency From Theory, as an outlet for local artists and performers to showcase their original work.

“There’s no place for artists and musicians to regularly showcase their original stuff besides once-a-month events downtown,” Savar explains. “We wanted a way to give exposure throughout the city any way we can, to showcase the downtown scene in the rest of Las Vegas, and vice versa.”

While Savar admits that the first gathering was small, awkward and “the worst thing ever,” it nonetheless blossomed and now routinely draws 200 to 400 people each week.

He says he’s now getting approached by local eateries to host 1 Crazy Happy Hour and works with them to develop food and drink specials, as well as extend happy hour hours just for the event. Because venues welcome the spike in customers, the cost of the event for Savar is minimal to none and is free for performers to participate.

With momentum now, Savar hopes to eventually start hosting talent showcases at larger performance venues and releasing multimedia content.

“We’ve got a big vision for this,” he says. “It’s time to start making sure the best talent in this city has a platform to grow.”

This week’s event takes place today from 6 to 9 p.m. at Baja California Cantina in Boca Park. In addition to its usual slate of musicians and artists, this week’s gathering features dance and poetry.

For more information, including the lineup and specials, visit 1 Crazy Happy Hour’s Facebook page.

Follow Andrea Domanick on Twitter at @AndreaDomanick and fan her on Facebook at Facebook.com/AndreaDomanick.

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