Patrick Hua took a different path into the world of Vegas nightlife. He drove into town from Ohio on September 11, 2001, despite his mother’s pleas to turn around and come home. Hailing from a family of entrepreneurs, Hua owned and operated several nail salons before relocating to Las Vegas, which is why he landed first at Bellagio’s salon.
“When I came to Vegas I had the pipe dream that I would retire at 21, but I ran out of money in six months,” he laughs. “My first job was working for my parents at 9 years old.”
Embedded with the entrepreneurial spirit, Hua always dreamed of opening his own bar, even before he spent years working as a dealer and casino manager, and then jumping into club life at Jet, Encore Beach Club and Surrender, Rehab, Omnia and others. “I just couldn’t figure out where and what concept,” he says. He did a lot of research, visiting as many bars, clubs and lounges as he could in Las Vegas and beyond, noting the bits and pieces of those venues that appealed to everyone.
G.O.A.T. Sports Bar is the result, opened late last year in a well-worn West Sahara space that had long housed dive bar Shifty’s. The right place turned out to be the busy stretch that includes popular watering holes like Herbs & Rye and the Phoenix and tons of interesting restaurants. The right concept was a clean, classy, slightly upscale sports bar.
“I knew if I built something nice enough, the questionable crowd would come in and walk right out, and working class people would feel comfortable in a place where they don’t have to worry about ignorant jokes or people hitting on them,” Hua says. “You can come in after work in a suit and not feel over-dressed, or in shorts and a T-shirt to watch a basketball game and not feel over-underdressed. It’s all about the great customer service I learned at those nightclubs—that’s what they want.”
They also want good food, like G.O.A.T.’s small plates of Korean wings and house-made meatballs, and good value. The bar just launched a Monday industry-night promotion when shots of Jameson or Don Julio Blanco, every plate and every beer cost just $5.
G.O.A.T. Sports Bar 3805 W. Sahara Ave., 702-489-3787. 24/7.