Restaurateur Jonathan Fine—of PBR Rock Bar and Rockhouse fame—has taken a break from mechanical bulls and the rodeo circuit to open PKWY Tavern (9820 W. Flamingo Rd., 702-243-5329), a casual, 24-hour gaming bar and restaurant with a beer obsession and a slight Greek accent. Fine purchased the Roadrunner Saloon on Flamingo Road at Interstate-215 in October, and he has kept the place open during an intentional protracted renovation process, which he says could take up to another 30 days.
Upon arrival, the first thing you’ll notice is the new patio, which Fine doubled to more than 3,000 square feet. Coming soon are an Astroturf knoll for corn hole, shuffleboard and an indoor-outdoor space with two garage doors industrial-inspired steel and wood-beam picnic tables. Fourteen feet of the high, wraparound fence can be slid back to join the patio to the parking lot for additional party space, live music and to allow food trucks to drive right up. Just past the floor-to-ceiling fireplace, the Mark L. Fine Red Room is dedicated to UNLV sports and Fine’s father, and is where all games will be shown.
Inside, two Bowlingo mini-bowling lanes have been relocated from behind the bar to a newly built space off to the left, creating room for PKWY’s keg fridge, which will feed 130 taps. In all, PKWY will offer 250 beers, with a heavy emphasis on the West Coast and local brews. “I tried Goose Neck, Dogwood,” Fine jokes, hopefully referring to Goose Island and Dogfish Head. Fine’s a diehard Pabst Blue Ribbon guy, “but by the time we [are fully] open, I will have tried all 250 beers,” he declares. Existing staffers (there were no layoffs) are currently going through extensive training with suppliers to learn the ins and outs of PKWY’s first 250 beers, a list Fine calls the Beerfathers.
Membership to PKWY’s beer club will be free for the first 60 days once it’s introduced, and just $15 thereafter. Armed with PKWY’s beer app, you just have to drink your way through the list. At 50 beers, you get a coupon. At 100, an engraved beer mug to take home or leave at the bar. And at 200, you get your own street sign (the whole place has a traffic-sign theme) on the wall and a free party for your friends. Perhaps at 250 you get the keys to the keg room? I’ll let you know.
In addition to beer, PKWY will serve gourmet coffee and spiked coffee cocktails—all the better to hype you up for one of PKWY’s indoor diversions, including skee ball, standup video game machines and a whole wall dedicated to dart game variations. “If you go to any other city, they have to entertain you; they don’t have gaming,” Fine says.
Joining Fine in this adventure are VP of entertainment Matteo Reyes and Josh Hume, who left Encore’s Botero Steakhouse to be PKWY’s GM. It was Reyes who suggested certain accommodations be made to the men’s room’s half-keg urinals: Pillows will be affixed to the walls at about forehead height for those who need a little help. (And if they actually do put a drink holder in the ladies room stalls, you can thank me.)
In the kitchen, chef Yvonne Maatouk, who started with Fine’s group at PBR Rockbar and Rockhouse, will gently apply her Greek background to the menu, which rolls out next week mid. Catering to the fitness crowds drawn to the gym across the way, instead of all-things-fried, expect healthier options, such as skewers (chicken, steak, salmon, and veggies) and a selection of flatbreads, including the Summerlin, with hummus, grilled veggies, olives, feta and chicken.
Already, Fine sees at least 10 PWKYs going in around town. He plans to expand his PBR Rock Bar brand outside the Valley, and has letters of intent in Dallas, Denver, Anaheim and Manhattan’s Times Square. Back home, Fine’s group is also in talks to take over two spots in town on Strip. One 30,000-feet space near the Strip’s impending stadium) is actually too big, he says, for any of his existing concepts, so we can expect some new concepts down the line.
Meanwhile, progress continues at PKWY, with new custom black-lacquered booths and orange cushions going in, and cowboy and western décor going out to the dumpster by the gate. Fine is taking his time with the conversion, involving the existing pool of regulars in the menu changes, hoping not to alienate them. “We need to have their involvement,” Fine says. “I want everyone to have a [PKWY] story … to have been part of the creative process.”