The one on the left, he’s Darin Feinstein. Very cool guy. He owns and operates several prominent Las Vegas businesses, including Fat Bar on the Strip, the newly-opened El Dorado Cantina on Industrial, three shows at the Riviera … and oh yeah, he also owns a stake in venerable West Hollywood hotspot The Viper Room; he bought it directly from Johnny Depp in 2003. The tattooed rocker next to him is Corey Harrison, and he … well, he’s a Pawn Star. If you’d like to know more about him, just turn on the closest television and wait thirty seconds. He’ll show up.
These two good friends are the new majority owners of Beauty Bar Las Vegas. The paperwork is signed; they take over the operation on July 1 from current owner Paul Devitt. And judging by what they told me in an exclusive interview last night, they intend to hit this thing hard from day one.
“We’re going to fix it up,” says Feinstein. “New booths, a paint job, some rewiring, and we’re going to add some functionality to what’s already there. The sound system … we’re going to improve it. The Viper Room has probably the best sound on the West Coast in terms of a (club) room. We’re going to look to mimic that sound quality inside, and then potentially renovate the outside based on that.”
You might have noticed that he didn’t say anything about changing the name or the theme of Beauty Bar, and that’s because they’re not going to. Beauty Bar Las Vegas will stay a Beauty Bar. In fact, it’s going to re-do its roots, to use a salon expression.
“We’re bringing back the manicures and pedicures,” says Feinstein. “We’re putting back the beauty in Beauty Bar.”
And they’re going to do it with respect to what’s already in place.
“We’re not looking to close at all,” Feinstein says. “We’re not going to disrupt the schedules of the booking people, the social media people and the staff. We’re going to try and make this as smooth a transition as possible.”
Less certain at this point is the fate of Beauty Bar staples Nickel Fucking Beer Night and The Get Back. The partners say they need to look at all of Beauty Bar’s entertainment offerings objectively once they take over. But they don’t seem too down on the Beauty Bar current offerings. (“A lot of the events that they’re doing are great,” says Feinstein.) They only want to bring it back to where it was when it opened on Fremont Street in 2005, when it was a place to where you could get a manicure, have a few drinks and check out an ascending indie band.
“We’re not going to make a living off Beauty Bar,” says Harrison. “It’s just going to be fun; a cool place to hang out.”
When I ask them if Fremont East already has too many cool places to hang out, they both shake their heads emphatically “no.”
“There’s always the concern that Downtown’s getting oversaturated,” says Feinstein. “But we’re going to attract a larger customer base. That’s our goal.”
The way to do that? By being the only place of its kind in Las Vegas; a unique draw for tourists and locals alike. They want you to be able to come to Beauty Bar without even knowing who’s playing that night; to come solely for the experience of being there.
Harrison, whose family pawn shop greets thousands of out-of-town visitors a day, knows a little something about this.
“I would like it to be the destination of Downtown; to be, ‘Something fucking awesome is going on at Beauty Bar tonight and if you didn’t show up, you missed it.’ I want big bands playing there. I don’t even want to tell people. I just want them to come and see it, figure it out. ‘Holy shit, I was at the Beauty Bar last night and Social Distortion played.’ That’s the kind of stuff we’re looking to do.”
First, though, the partners have to get in the door and get settled, meet the neighbors. And Harrison has one more little thing to do, one that he throws in just before the interview ends: He needs to tell his Pawn Stars cohorts, his family, that he went out and bought a Downtown bar. They don’t know yet.
“That’ll be a good episode,” he says, grinning.
PHOTO BY GEOFF CARTER