The Bunkhouse Saloon, which closed in July, will get a new lease on life soon, this time under the direction of Artifice bartender Jillian Tedrow. The Downtown Project-owned venue is scheduled to reopen this year, with the same name, a renewed bar concept and more focus on its outdoor space. Tedrow said she had hoped to open October 30, but that date will likely be pushed back.
The bar will undergo a few cosmetic changes, along with the addition of a “secret garden” under the Listening Tree, a porch swing, fake grass and living plant walls. Tedrow plans to offer outdoor games and a projector for backyard movies. “It won’t be a beer garden, but it will have more of that feel,” she says. A hydroponic shipping-container garden, built by Freight Farms, will also occupy the space, growing food on-site for cocktail ingredients and a yet-to-be-named third-party food vendor, which will run the Bunkhouse kitchen.
By moving entertainment outdoors, capacity for shows will increase from the bar’s indoor cap of 250 to 800, Tedrow says. Vegas music scene mainstay Ryan Pardey will head up live programming, primarily booking local acts, in contrast to the many national acts emphasized in the bar’s previous iteration.
Downtown Project bought the bar in 2013, renovated it and reopened it in August 2014, unveiling an upgraded sound system, a comfort-food menu and a renovated patio space. During those 11 months of operation, headliners included Built to Spill (twice), The Breeders, Brandon Flowers, Bob Mould and Panda Bear. Several scheduled shows, including Mew, Savages and upcoming performances by Deerhoof (November 5) and Yo La Tengo (November 11), were moved to the Sayers Club at SLS.
Partway through the Bunkhouse’s last existence, Downtown Project shifted operational control to Corner Bar Management. When the venue shuttered suddenly in July, DTP Ventures CEO Mark Rowland issued a statement saying he was “engaging in conversation with potential new operators and considering new concepts.”
Tedrow’s winning proposal includes a plan to keep costs down by handing over control of the restaurant and scaling back music programming. “It will be bar-focused,” she says.