They say when one door closes, another one opens, and that might soon hold true for Downtown’s live-music scene.
With locals smarting over the ongoing closure—and uncertain future—of the Bunkhouse Saloon, a new venue known as the Swan Dive could be launching in the coming months to help fill that void.
On Tuesday, October 12, the man behind the project, Harvey Graham—who also operates Downtown dance club Oddfellows and multiple spaces in Austin, Texas—will present details to City of Las Vegas officials as part of the application process for a special-use permit. The venue would occupy the upper floor of the two-story Colorado building at 1301 S. Main Street, which is currently under construction
"We’ve been talking about doing this since just before COVID," Harvey tells the Weekly. "Now it’s just a game of patience. I’m confident everything’s gonna be fine, but I’m not in control of the building, and the building’s not done yet. Best-case scenario we’d be open by the middle of next year."
Harvey’s original Swan Dive is a mainstay on the Austin music scene, though he says the programming focus for the Vegas version will likely be different, given its proposed dimensions—roughly 5,500 square feet inside with a 3,500-square-foot patio and a show capacity around 400.
"Austin is such a huge live music scene that it’s hard to compete in the touring game, so we focus mainly on local bands there," Harvey says, though he points out that Swan Dive Austin has staged Tom Morello, Mac DeMarco and others during South by Southwest. In terms of what it books, the Vegas Swan Dive "will probably be similar to Bunkhouse but with the ability to do things on a larger scale," Harvey explains.
To head up that part of the operation, Harvey has tapped a name familiar to Bunkhouse regulars: Mike Henry, who will serve as partner and talent buyer for Swan Dive Las Vegas. After helping reopen the Bunkhouse in 2014 following its Downtown Project overhaul, Henry brought such acts as Bob Mould, Japanese Breakfast, Deerhunter, Rakim, Guided by Voices, Panda Bear and Deafheaven, among many others, to that room.
"It’s the perfect size—I think we’re really hitting the sweet spot,” Harvey says of Swan Dive’s Vegas space. Shows will take place indoors, but plans call for folks on the patio to have a view of the stage—and much of Downtown itself. "The balcony on this space is gonna have a great view of everything," he says.
As for the interior, specifics are still in the works, Harvey says, but he plans to carry over the Austin location’s "divey-but-beautiful" aesthetic, from which the Swan Dive name itself stems. And, he says, the creator behind the Austin venue’s iconic swan sign is at work on a replica for the Vegas location, adding yet another landmark to a Main Street corridor that has been exploding with new growth of late.