Atomic Liquors has Steady Hand on the Past

If only there were some sort of metaphor we could use to describe something small, yet when rapidly unpacked yields a tremendous, practically unstoppable wave of relentless awe. If … if only. Well, no use killing one’s self over it. Suffice to say that Atomic Liquors, marking its official reopening tomorrow, is mightily impressive.

There’s the plush velvet lining the bar; the original stucco on the ceiling, the shelves full of Old Crow, with sealed bottles from the ’70s; the vintage ’80s bullethole in the front window; the original accent neon that runs along the stucco above the bar; the 1952 Ellsworth Clark painting, supposedly created to settle a bar tab; the warning signs from the Atomic Testing Museum and the more good-natured ones that used to grace the outside of the building; the plexiglass-enclosed remnants from a floor safe, still sitting in the floor itself; the plans for Sunday Church, with a quick non-denominational service hastily followed by a Bloody Mary bar.

“So many people are so passionate about this place. We didn’t want to make any mistakes,” partner Derek Stonebarger said. Which is the attitude you want from people who hold the keys to that much concentrated retro Vegas joy.