Opinionated Metalhead: Beauty Bar- What the Hell Is Going On?
By now, I’m sure everyone has heard of Beauty Bar closing down. Or maybe staying open? Does anyone even know what the actual hell is going on with that? Hearing about any popular location – especially one with prime real estate on East Fremont – close their doors is a bit surprising, but not necessarily unheard of. After all, the neighboring karaoke bar Don’t Tell Mama’s shut down for months to move location. What was actually shocking about the maybe-shutdown of a glitter encrusted venue was that they were served a three-day eviction notice. Which, let’s be honest, is pretty fucking absurd. But then fought it, kept their doors open, and now are shut down again? I took some time to dig through what is going on with Beauty Bar, what Vegas locals are thinking about the whole situation, and most importantly: what this could mean for the downtown music scene.
Las Vegas Beauty Bar opened in 2004 and was not the first of its kind. Currently there are other locations in New York, San Francisco, Brooklyn, Chicago, Denver, and Dallas. From what I can tell, the place ran mostly without incident until recently. In August on 2018 the bar gained new ownership at the hands of Roxie Amoroso and Corey Harrison. Amoroso had already made somewhat of a name for herself as a musician, promoter, and local boutique owner. Harrison achieved his bit of fame by offering a few bucks for antique or rare items on “Pawn Stars”. The pair set to work installing a new backline for their outdoor stage, hiring a promoter to bring in more live music, and planning events to fill their indoor space. While new management seemed like it would bring exciting change to Beauty Bar, several reports claim Harrison chose to sell his shares and step away from the business in December of that same year. Not long after, Amoroso moved to the Pacific Northwest. While I might not personally be a business owner, having one owner step away entirely and the other not even in the same region seems like a pretty stupid move.
I took some time to speak with some locals about their opinions on the bar and the reviews were less than stellar. Several local musicians have had complaints about the sound quality of playing the space behind the building. Even with a new backline, it’s incredibly difficult to provide decent sound quality to what is pretty well just an alley. And that’s without the issue of the loading area smelling like condensed piss. Other complaints have included rude and inept bartenders (you need the customer explain how to make a Long Island?), illicit drugs being used openly, and a weird lack of seating for the hookah they offered or drinkers who weren’t standing directly at the bar. Not to mention the forced blend of entirely different crowds. More than once the venue has booked a metal show out back and a hip-hop DJ inside which I have seen cause some confusion more than once. Even LVPD has had to get involved multiple times for employees selling drugs on the premises and security using extremely excessive force. Seriously – how hard is it to not repeatedly punch customers in the face or put the hired talent in chokeholds? But perhaps the most shocking (because, let’s face it – customers can be dicks sometimes) is a Christmas party planned for one of the most criminally notorious motorcycle clubs in the country. Because nothing says hospitality like hosting a holiday festivities for murderers and drug dealers! What the actual fuck was the thought process behind any of this??
Beauty Bar was served with a three-day eviction notice mid-March, but the business reopened after a brief battle with the landlord – Plaza Hotel and their managing company. Without the notice being properly filed or having proper evidence of lewd behavior and other disturbances, it seemed more of a threat than a true danger to the business. Until, of course, another notice was served and the bar was forced to close their doors once again on April 1. The 5-0 vote to revoke Beauty Bar’s temporary liquor license and deny a permanent license is almost painful, but after a little digging is wholly unsurprising. It seems the venue is closed for good and there’s even rumors that Amoroso has been trying to ditch the business for about a month now.
Now for the actual important stuff – what does this mean for Vegas’ hard music scene? Considering the bar was slowly phasing out most metal anyways, I doubt we’ll see too much change in the long term. However, this surprise shut down has meant cancelled shows that were unable to be relocated in time. I know at this time several Punk Rock Bowling shows are being moved to Evel Pie, and I’m sure whatever can’t be moved there can easily be moved to a different venue. Fremont Country Club has been pulling in more acts lately and this could be a prime time to swoop in on a lot of shows looking for a new home. Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing even Bunkhouse Saloon throwing a few heavier concerts into their rotation. Will this really affect the concerts in downtown Las Vegas then? Doubtful. Metal will move and thrive as it always does – and we have plenty of other venues to pick up the slack.