It looks like Henderson’s historic Water Street has scored another winner. Barely a month into Hardway 8’s existence, the sports bar-meets-gastropub has become one of the most talked-about food and drink destinations in town.
Its creators, entrepreneurs Bryant Jane and Lyle Cervenka, are best known for re-launching the retro lounge Starboard Tack two years ago. They chose the name Hardway 8 in tribute to the 1977 Runnin’ Rebels men’s basketball team (the first UNLV squad to make it to the Final Four), and the interior is steeped in scarlet and gray tradition, including wooden bar tops made from salvaged Las Vegas Convention Center bleachers. (The team played hoops in the venue from the late ’60s through the early ’80s.)
The partners say they opened Hardway 8 after identifying a hole in the local market. “We all like sports, but there aren’t a lot of sports bars where you can get a craft cocktail, a craft beer or delicious food,” Jane says. “We wanted to redefine what a sports bar could be.”
That redefinition translates into a laid-back, nonsmoking environment and a menu featuring inventive drinks like the Scarlet Beet Duke (tequila and beet juice) and rotating quaffs like Lagunitas Lil’ Sumpin’ Sumpin’ ale.
They also brought in a kitchen star to get the game going: consulting chef Johnny Church, whose creations include spicy Buffalo-style fried oysters; turkey meatballs stuffed with prosciutto and Swiss cheese; and gourmet cheeseburgers. Add in street-facing seating perfect for nice weather and Hardway 8 seems like a slam dunk.
Hardway 8 46 S. Water St., 702-410-5124. Daily, 11 a.m.-midnight.