Features

Charting the Vegas Valley’s evolution during Las Vegas Weekly’s 21 years

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THEN AND NOW

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WHERE WE HANG OUT

The rest of the world had the chance to discover the true community of Las Vegas after October 1, 2017, but we know it’s been here all along. And our social spots, where we connect with friends and neighbors and maybe do a bit of networking, are more fun than in other cities. Today we link up Downtown at Vesta Coffee or at various Fremont East bars, in Chinatown at Sparrow + Wolf or Pho Kim Long, at Toshiba Plaza and T-Mobile Arena for VGK victories, at the Cosmopolitan and off the Strip at Downtown Summerlin, Green Valley Ranch and of course Herbs & Rye for a stellar drink. Twenty-one years ago, the social scene was much different. We clubbed at Utopia, the Drink and Studio 54; hung around Hard Rock Hotel’s Center Bar, the Huntridge Theatre and cafés Espresso Roma and Copioh; boozed at Crown & Anchor and the Double Down Saloon (hey, they’re still there!); took tourists to Star Trek: The Experience at the Las Vegas Hilton and anxiously awaited the opening of—wait for it—the Bellagio, where we sometimes still hang out today. –Brock Radke

DOWNTOWN LOOKS DIFFERENT

21 Las Vegas Weekly Covers

Take the Downtown you know and subtract nearly everything. Back in 1998, there was no Beauty Bar, no Griffin, no Downtown Cocktail Room, no Fremont East Entertainment District at all. Atomic Liquors and the Bunkhouse were places you didn’t want to visit after dark. Main Street was little more than furniture stores and auto shops. There were a few cultural stalwarts—most notably Enigma Garden Cafe on Fourth Street, and Fremont Street Reggae and Blues Club, where Neonopolis now stands—but they were slowly driven out of business by road construction and the December 2005 debut of the Fremont Street Experience canopy (which was then zipline-free). Next time you’re Downtown, drink a toast to those long-gone pioneers—plus Idaho Café, Saloon, Dust Gallery, Jillian’s, the Attic, Mad Dogs and Englishmen pub, The Funk House and others—who tried to make it happen sooner.

The Weekly helped The Killers get together. Guitarist Dave Keuning ran a series of classified ads in our pages, which helped him recruit singer Brandon Flowers and then fill out the rest of the band’s lineup circa 2001-2002.

SCENE AND HEARD

In 1998, the Vegas music scene largely reflected mainstream radio—and was angling to get on it. R&B act 702 and electronic duo (and former locals) The Crystal Method had just pulled it off, but major labels couldn’t get hometown faves Big Bad Zero, 12 Volt Sex and Clockwise (formerly Phatter Than Albert) to do the same. Then came The Killers—a band with a smaller local following, but much bigger melodies—and the rise of Fremont East, and while punk and metal remained as present as ever, indie sounds dominated Vegas. The more commercial-sounding Panic! at the Disco, Ne-Yo and Imagine Dragons also catapulted to stardom; Otherwise and Dizzy Wright penetrated the national hard rock and hip-hop scenes, respectively; and genreless singer-songwriter Shamir became North Las Vegas’ first breakout—all highlighting an increasingly varied local music scene. –Mike Prevatt

CREEPING TOWARD THE MOUNTAINS

The Valley was already in full-blown sprawl mode in 1998, as the great migration from [enter American city here] had already plumped the population to the 1.3 million mark. With the eastside and Spring Valley largely developed already, Henderson became the fastest growing city in America, and master-planned Summerlin began to creep further south, aided by Interstate 215 extending west as a county highway, eventually reaching the also-developing Lone Mountain/Centennial Hills area. In the 2000s came the explosive proliferation of neighborhoods in the southwest. After the 2008 recession cooled expansion, a revitalized Downtown became the it-neighborhood in the Valley and residencies began growing up rather than out. With another real-estate slowdown forecasted, has the spurt stopped—or is Red Rock Canyon housing an inevitability? –Mike Prevatt

STILL GOING

What other local institutions have lasted continuously since the Weekly launched?

Strip Shows: David Copperfield, Legends in Concert, Mystère, O, Penn & Teller, Tournament of Kings

Restaurants: Battista's Hole in the Wall, Crown & Anchor, Golden Steer, Pamplemousse, Peppermill, Picasso, Sam Woo BBQ

Radio Personalities: Mercedes, Laurie Steele, George Lyons, Stan Rankin T, Brian Spencer

Local Bands: Happy Campers, Hemlock

Let’s party!

Join us on Wednesday, January 23 at On the Record to raise a glass of complimentary booze and celebrate Las Vegas Weekly’s 21st birthday. To RSVP, head to lasvegasweekly.com/lvwbday. See ya there!

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