Tuesday, June 16, 2020 / by Ken Couture
Favorite neighborhood social spots have been missed most by many during the pandemic and its temporary closure of different kinds of businesses in Las Vegas. While bars, restaurants and casinos were granted approval to reopen weeks ago, one of the most popular meetups for many of the hospitality industry workers that keep those places running remained closed.
Until tonight. The Sand Dollar Lounge, arguably one of the most iconic bars in the Vegas Valley since 1976, is set to reopen at 6 p.m. tonight on Spring Mountain Road just west of the Strip. Its scheduled hours of operation will be 6 p.m. until 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday and 8 p.m. until 2 a.m. Sunday.
It will be serving from full cocktail and food menus—the Sand Dollar has become one of the city’s top pizza spots—and is also bringing back live entertainment starting at 9 p.m. nightly. There’s no cover charge.
Co-owner Anthony Jamison said a combination of factors played into the bar’s delayed reopening, including a planned remodel of the bar itself.
“We had no idea when we’d be able to open so we couldn’t spend the money or make any plans [for the renovation]. When we had to close, we didn’t know if it would be three months or six months, and based on initial information, I was under the impression we’d be a part of Phase Three,” he said.
Nevada is still in Phase 2 of the Governor’s “Roadmap to Recovery” plan. The Sand Dollar’s renovation was also stalled when the coronavirus caused the delay of equipment deliveries. Jamison said the bar will close for about four days when those materials and supplies arrive, and the wells where bartenders work will be completely renovated. He’s also adding a third well.
With employees receiving unemployment plus stimulus boosts and so many industry workers staying home ,Jamison said, there was no rush to throw the doors open. And the capacity restrictions contribute to shortened hours for now.
“We could stay open [later] but we’re choosing to shut down at 2 a.m. because a lot of what we do is Strip workers getting off the job, usually after 11 or 12,” Jamison said. “There’s usually double the amount of people working on the Strip, and most of those restaurants have limited hours as well. Everyone is getting off earlier than they were and there’s just less of them.”
The Sand Dollar made big local tavern news in January by shifting to a non-smoking operation, something other bars and businesses are considering in the wake of the pandemic.
Jamison expects to be very busy as the community returns to one of its favorite places.
“It’s a great thing for us to know all these people will be coming back. If our occupancy is met we’re going to have a lot of friends and regulars waiting so that will be an interesting challenge,” he said. “But overall, it should be business as usual, just cleaner and less crowded.”
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