… the restaurant that is now Firefly on paradise road? In the ’70s and ’80s it was the Brewery, a restaurant and nightclub infamous for drug-fueled shenanigans. John Travolta danced the night away here, while my only experience was at an aunt’s wedding reception. Later, it became Tyrannosaurus Mex, a Mexican cantina that quickly morphed into T-Mex, featuring nachos and live alternative rock for the UNLV crowd. For a while, it was an inviting branch of Z’Tejas (of Southwestern fare and the fabled Big Stick margaritas), and has been Firefly for three years now.
… the fancy joint at Rancho drive and Charleston Boulevard where all the vegas socialites convened? That could be David’s Place, a gourmet eatery east of the intersection. It was bombed in 1976, reputedly the victim of a union dispute, and is now an empty lot. The other alternative is the Aristocrat, a gourmet French restaurant in the Rancho Town & Country strip mall; it has been a video poker bar for about 15 years. Both were located just a skip from the old-money neighborhoods of Rancho Circle, Rancho Bel Air and Rancho Nevada, which explains the fur coats often worn by patrons exiting limos. I never visited David’s Place, but my experience at the Aristocrat was a surreal lunch meeting with maverick casino man Bob Stupak while working with a BBC crew.
… The rock ’n’ roll restaurant and bar on West Sahara Avenue in the 1980s? Just when you thought House of Blues brought the Louisiana-style, two-story rock-and-dine concept to Las Vegas, up pops a 1989 UNLV Rebel Yell article about Paradise Alley. The freestanding club opened on December 1, 1988, for “people who love rock ’n’ roll and want to come have a good time in a class atmosphere,” according to owner Jon Galane. Contributing to that atmosphere? A “new standard for lighting in Vegas nightclubs,” a sound system that “blows away anything in this town” and, of course, sexy waitstaff “in risqué Playboy bunny-type costumes” known as Alley Cats. About 1992, the spot became Big Dog’s Brewery, until 2013. It’s now slot parlor Jackpot Joanie’s. Today, rockers can roll just west to Count’s Vamp’d. … All of which just goes to prove that there ain’t nothing new under the Vegas sun.
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