The Rockhouse Las Vegas recently re-emerged in new digs and, once again, it’s among the hottest spots in town. After six years of giving locals and visitors a casual place to imbibe and socialize on the Strip in front of the Imperial Palace (now known as The Quad Resort & Casino), the bar has settled into a new pimped-out space.
Businessman and nightlife impresario Jonathan Fine, who heads Fine Entertainment, the company behind some of the most popular nightspots, restaurants and hospitality venues in Vegas, including the PBR Rock Bar & Grill at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, couldn’t be more thrilled.
Fine launched the Rockhouse, which he dubs “an ultra dive bar,” in 2006 with showman Jeff Beacher, whom he later bought out. Due to construction of The Linq, a massive open-air marketplace and entertainment complex being built by Caesars Entertainment in the corridor between The Quad and Flamingo resorts, he had to close on May 5, 2012. As a result, Fine moved his bastion of revelry to The Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian. The Rockhouse is situated on the second level of the retail center – just turn down the hallway next to Barneys New York and you’ll soon behold its exterior frozen daiquiri bar. Visitors crossing the Strip from Treasure Island via the pedestrian bridge will also nearly walk right into the joint.
“We’re very happy to be in The Venetian,” said Fine of the new Rockhouse, which spans 9,000 square feet. “The space here is four times bigger. It’s just amazing.”
Not only is the Rockhouse reopening with direct access to Las Vegas Boulevard (look for it above the canals that comprise the Italian-themed resort’s frontage), but it’s got a more all-encompassing, decked-out interior as well.
What was once a single room has been resurrected into a multi-segmented labyrinth with three separate bars. Upon entering, there’s a giant cage to greet you – where girls can dance or just have their photos snapped. The décor has a modern industrial feel with an unfinished ceiling and cement floor. Many of the cocktail tables are fashioned from beer kegs, but there are also high-top tables for eating along with plenty of room for dancing.
The atmosphere inside is dark with lots of strobe lights and loud music. The sound system at the Rockhouse is surely among the best in town. There’s an elevated DJ booth that overlooks the main dining area, two “bad ass” beer pong tables and a mechanical bull. A smaller side room at the Rockhouse contains a square-shaped bar (note: scantily clad servers frequently strut around on its countertop) as well as a leopard-print billiards table and a foosball game.
According to Fine, the Rockhouse’s casual vibe appeals to all kinds of crowds. “We have people in here from the ages of 21 up,” he said. “I’ve seen an 80-year-old woman dancing on a table. There’s just nothing that compares to that.”
The whole facility is laden with large flat-screen TVs – 83 of them to be exact – which are perfect for viewing sports. Humorous quotes are inscribed on the walls: “Do not feed the bartenders” and “Debauchery will not be tolerated.” They complement the bold and cheeky murals, like the floor-to-ceiling one of stacked beer cans.
Enclosed by a railing at the far end of the Rockhouse is a VIP area, where groups can have some privacy but still be part of all the action. Along with a personal beer pong table, guests here will be delighted to discover mini fridges stocked with six-packs of beer.
In addition to a new look, the Rockhouse now has more diverse drink offerings. At the walk-up frozen daiquiri bar and the two internal bars, you can order slushy spirits – which come in flavors like strawberry, piña colada, hurricane, blueberry lemonade, coral crush, margarita and more. They’re poured in everything from a typical cup to a gigantic souvenir container. For instance, a 100-ounce yard glass will cost you only $38, and the Rockhouse’s whimsical 88-ounce guitar, designed by Fine six years ago, is just $35. Of course, refills are always available!
“We have 10 signature drinks,” said Fine about the Rockhouse’s amusing “Tales of Cock” menu. Priced at $10 each, these creative concoctions were crafted by staff members. “I’ve personally tasted and put my stamp of approval on them all.
Among the exclusive cocktails are the Dreamsicle (Pinnacle Whipped vodka, Triple Sec, orange juice and Sierra Mist), Black Cherry Citrus (Jim Beam Black Cherry with orange juice and lemon-lime soda) and Vegas Shore (Finlandia Grapefruit Fusion, passion fruit syrup and orange juice topped with Roaring Lion energy drink).
The new Rockhouse has something else the original did not – it’s equipped for full food service. No cheap and greasy pub munchies here. These items are comparable to what you’d find in a trendy restaurant. Although the “Pick-UR-Own Menu” has a playful, irreverent feeling, the food is truly wonderful.
The “specialty of the Rockhouse” is tacos. They are served on a rack in groups of three. Guests fill out a form with various options that include choosing the protein (chicken, shrimp, fish, chorizo or steak) and the tortillas (corn or flour). Then there are numerous toppings that can be added. They range from cheese (bleu, cheddar, feta, mozzarella, pepper jack, smoked gouda and Swiss) and sauces (balsamic dressing, mayo, chipotle oil, buffalo sauce, ranch dressing, roasted salsa and sweet chili sauce) to things like coleslaw, jalapeños, pickles, pineapple, applewood-smoked bacon and avocado.
The same procedure applies to hot dogs. You can select between a one-foot long, a regular or three mini beef hot dogs and a standard-size turkey dog and build your own creation with a similar array of sauces, cheeses and toppings.
“Any hours that we’re open guests can get food,” said Fine. “Our menu is really unique. Where else can you have tacos and hot dogs served Chipotle-style or with ingredients like mahi-mahi and mango? Everything here is fresh and prepared to order.”
The backside of the menu yields more treasures, like smokey chipotle chicken sliders. The mini chicken sandwiches come on wheat buns and are covered with tomatoes, cucumber slices, pepper jack cheese and a chipotle slaw mix. Plus, the Caprese salad with chicken and the simple crisscross fries are not to be missed – even if you only have time for a quick nibble.
At the new Rockhouse, Fine and his team are continuing their longstanding tradition of throwing wacky parties and themed events. These occur in conjunction with the bar’s weekly happenings, like Winner Circle Wednesdays (when you’ll have the chance to play table games and drink like a champion) and Prohibition Thursdays (when you can buy $5 drinks with a secret password attainable through social media channels).
“We’ve just started a promotion where we’ll celebrate the last day of every month like it’s New Year’s Eve,” said Fine of their New Month’s Eve parties that will run through the end of 2013.
Recently, the Rockhouse kicked off its annual Spring Broke celebration, which will carry on until March 31. College students on a budget can enjoy drunken all-nighters that won’t break the bank. Among the specials are two-for-one well drinks and domestic drafts, $5 shots and an amazing $50 package that provides open bar access all day.
“We want to be the economic alternative for them,” said Fine.
You can also expect lots of drunken shenanigans along with $5 green beer drafts and green frozen piña coladas for St. Paddy’s Day on March 17.
Although the new Rockhouse actually opened to the public over Super Bowl weekend, it’s having an official grand re-launching bash on Feb. 28. For more information, call (702) 731-9683 or visit therockhousebar.com.